Your natural teeth are truly amazing creations. Even when badly damaged by decay or injury, with a little bit of support they can usually give ten years or more of good service. Dental crowns are designed to give that support by encasing your tooth with a new visible surface. They also protect your teeth from further injury and protect you from sensitivity due to exposed vulnerabilities. Dental bridges go one step further: they can replace a lost tooth using dental crowns on neighboring teeth for support.
If you have a seriously damaged tooth, a dental crown can be used to save it. To learn whether a dental crown can help you, please call 206-524-1314 or email us today for an appointment at our dental office in Seattle.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is like a sheath that slides over a damaged or injured tooth to give the tooth a new visible and functional surface. There are basically three kinds of crowns that are available:
Metal Crowns: Metal crowns are typically made of gold or a noble metal alloy that doesn’t react chemically in the mouth. These crowns are durable, but they are also highly visible. They are less commonly used today.
Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) Crowns: PFM crowns have a metal substructure and a cosmetic ceramic coating. They generally look good, although they are more opaque than natural tooth enamel. With extreme wear the ceramic can be dislodged from the substructure. PFM crowns also often have a metal border that could become exposed if you experience receding gums.
All-Ceramic Crowns: Recent advances in materials allow us to make all-ceramic crowns that are able to stand up to all the punishment your jaws can dish out. This means that you can get a ceramic crown completely without metal, which is much more attractive and avoids any concerns you might have about metal in your dental restorations.
When Is a Dental Crown Used?
Dental crowns are used when your teeth need to be protected and supported. This is commonly done when a tooth has:
- Significant decay or trauma resulting in structural weakness or risk of infection
- A failed filling that increases the risk of a broken tooth
- Infection that needs to be treated with a root canal
A dental crown may also be used as part of a dental bridge.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a tooth replacement option that utilizes your current teeth for support. In a dental bridge, a fake tooth is supported between two dental crowns that fit over neighboring teeth.
A dental bridge has some disadvantages compared to a dental implant. It doesn’t support or stimulate the bone in the jaw. It also requires a little bit of extra effort to clean. And it requires a dental crown to be placed over the neighboring teeth, and whenever we remove natural tooth material from a healthy tooth, we are potentially shortening the life of that tooth.
However, there are several times when a dental bridge might be best for you, such as:
- Lack adequate bone to support a dental implant
- Neighboring teeth already need crowns
- You have chronic gum disease, are a smoker, or have other factors that may put an implant at risk
- You don’t want to go through a dental implant procedure
It can be hard to decide which reconstructive dentistry procedure is right for you. For help deciding among you options, please contact us today for an appointment at our dental office in Seattle.