Crowns and Bridges
Crowns are restorations that fully cover a tooth to restore missing tooth structure and protect a tooth from fracturing. They can be made out of several different materials including gold, ceramic materials, of which there are several types available, or a combination of gold and porcelain. The choice of material for a particular patient is determined by several factors based on the properties of the different materials and also patient preference. They are often used to restore teeth with large previous restorations that are wearing out and there is concern that the tooth is at risk of breaking. In this case, a full coverage crown will provide strength to the tooth and likely last much longer than a large filling, and often with a much better aesthetic result. This is often the case with a tooth that has had root canal treatment. One of our newest treatment options is to have crowns made in a single visit in the office. This is a great time saver for patients because it does not require the patient to return to the office in two weeks after treatment was started to have the laboratory made crown placed. This is discussed in more detail in the Single Visit Crowns section.
If someone is missing a tooth and there are teeth on either side of the space, a bridge is often recommended. Bridges are usually composed of two or more crowns that are attached to each other as well as a number of "false teeth" that fill in the space. The crowns are usually on the two ends with the false teeth in between. These can be useful is situations where one or both teeth adjacent to the space are in need of, or would benefit from a crown, and the bridge therefore serves two function, one to restore the adjacent teeth and also to fill the gap. These are cemented in place and can serve for many years. In cases where neither adjacent tooth is in need of a crown but instead are pretty intact, an implant is often a better option to replace the missing teeth because it doesn't involve the neighboring teeth and therefore leaves them intact.