A bridge may be a good choice for you if you have one or more missing teeth that are surrounded by healthy teeth on either side. The bridge itself is a custom-made device with porcelain or metal teeth that are attached together to fill the gap left by missing teeth. Bridges are permanently cemented onto the adjacent teeth. Most bridges have a standard life of 10-20 years if they are properly cared for.
The process of creating and securing a bridge is two-fold. In the first visit, a local anesthetic is administered so the Dentist can prepare the abutments (a support structure for the bridge) and then a putty-like material is used to create a mold of your teeth so the bridge can be made. The Dentist will secure a temporary bridge at this point to protect your teeth and gums until your personalized bridge is completed. The second visit is when the Dentist will fit and properly attach your custom bridge.
A crown may be the right choice for you if you need to restore and protect a tooth that is misshaped, decayed, severely discolored, worn, cracked, or broken. Crowns are also used to cover a dental implant or hold a dental bridge in place.
Types of Crowns
There are three types of crowns: full porcelain, full-metal, and porcelain-fused-to-metal. The proper crown for you will be determined by your Dentist. With proper care, crowns can last between 5 and 15 years.
- Full porcelain crowns offer the best match to your teeth’s natural color and are strong, resistant to wear, stable, and attractive. They are unlikely to cause adverse reactions because they are completely void of metal.
- Full metal crowns are most often used on the back teeth, where the force exerted from chewing is the greatest, as they rarely chip or break. However, these types of crowns can cause allergic reactions and gumline discoloration in some individuals due to their metal construction.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns offer a natural surface color that matches the rest of your teeth with a strong metal substructure, but they require the removal of a little more tooth structure than other crowns.
Crowns are created and applied in two visits. During the first visit, the Dentist prepares your tooth to make room for the crown. Then an impression material is used to make a mold of your teeth for the crown to be fabricated from. A temporary crown is temporarily cemented on to protect your tooth/implant and gums. At the second visit, your permanent crown is bonded/cemented to your tooth/dental implant.