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Crowns, Bridges, & Implants

What is a Crown?

Made of a material like porcelain, crowns are synthetic caps that are placed on the top of a tooth.

They restore a tooth's function and its appearance after a procedure like a root canal. Crowns are often used to repair the tooth if there is advanced decay, and large portions of the tooth have to be removed.

If you have implants, a cracked tooth, or a loose filling, crowns will be used to restore a tooth’s function. Sometimes crowns are also used to attach bridges. In addition, crowns serve an aesthetic purpose. They can be applied to a discolored or stained tooth and restore it to its natural appearance.

Procedures

Once a tooth is reduced in size to accommodate a crown, we make an impression of the existing tooth and create a crown that’s custom-designed. We send the impression to a lab, where they manufacture the custom crown. A temporary crown is usually applied to the tooth until the permanent crown is finished. Afterwards, the crown is cemented in place. Crowns and veneers are confused at times, but they are different. Veneers generally cover relatively small areas.

Caring for your Crowns

A good crown could last up to eight years or longer with proper care. Flossing in the area of the crown to remove excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration is very important. Jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) can shorten the life of a crown. Watch eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy, because they can compromise the crown’s adhesion or damage it.

What to Do While Wearing a Temporary Crown or Bridge

Temporary dental crowns are just a temporary cover until your permanent crown is ready. We recommend the following to ensure that your temporary crown serves you well.

  • Don't be surprised if you have some mild discomfort around the gums of the temporary or around the area where anesthesia was applied for the next couple of days. Rinsing with warm salt water will help accelerate the healing of the gums.

  • For pain management, an effective pain regimen is to take Ibuprofen (Advil) 400mg + Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 500mg together every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Do not exceed 2400mg Ibuprofen or 3000mg Acetaminophen daily.

  • Avoid sticky, chewy foods which have the potential of grabbing and pulling off the temporary crown. Avoid chewing hard foods which could break the temporary crown.

  • Brush and floss as normal but when flossing do not pull floss up between the temporary crown. Pull the floss through instead. Lifting up may cause the temporary to come off.

What if My Temporary Crown Comes Off?

The most important thing is not to panic. If this happens, it is not an emergency but do not be surprised if the tooth is sensitive- that is normal. Call our office to make an appointment to re-cement your temporary crown at 423-265-3471.


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What are Bridges?

Bridges are dental appliances used to replace a section of missing teeth. They are custom-made, natural looking and barely noticeable. Bridges also restore the natural contour of teeth, including the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth. Often referred to as fixed partial dentures, they are semi-permanent and are bonded to existing teeth or implants. The types of fixed dental bridges (can’t be removed) include: conventional fixed bridges, cantilever bridges and resin-bonded bridges. Your dentist is the only one who can remove a fixed bridge. Bridges are made of porcelain, gold alloys or combinations of materials. An implant bridge is attached to an area below the gum tissue or the bone.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants have replaced dentures, which were the only alternative to replacing a missing tooth or teeth.

These synthetic structures are placed in the area occupied by the tooth’s root. Implants are in turn anchored to the jawbone or in some cases, metal framework found on the bone. Both act as a foundation for an artificial tooth or permanent bridge. There are cases where implants are used to attach dentures.

Not every patient is a candidate for a dental implant. If the implant is to take hold, the patient has to have proper bone density and a strong immune system. Dental implants require strict oral hygiene.

Implants look and feel like natural teeth because they’re so well designed. Generally they are made of a synthetic yet biocompatible material, such as metal or ceramic.

To place the implant in the mouth, surgery is necessary to prepare the area. A period of time is required after the procedure for the implant to take hold. Bone tissue must build up to successfully anchor the device. There are times a metal post is inserted into the implant during a follow-up procedure to properly connect the tooth.

Since surgery is required to complete an implant, patients are given anesthesia and, if necessary, antibiotics to protect against infection following the procedure.

In any case, implants require thorough oral hygiene and care to ensure they last a long time.