A dental crown is a custom-made covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable.
The treatment plan for a patient receiving a dental crown involves:
1. Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
2. Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
3. Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (usually takes one to two weeks).
4. Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the custom-made crown is being created.
5. Applying the custom-made crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the custom-made one onto the tooth.
6. After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.
This process generally consists of a minimum of two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.
A dental bridge is a device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:
• Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
• Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
There are three main types of bridges:
• A fixed bridge is the most popular and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
• The “Maryland” bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth and consists of a filler that is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth. The metal bands consist of a white-colored composite resin that matches existing tooth color.
• The cantilever bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical three-unit cantilever bridge consists of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extend into the missing tooth space or end.
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.
Dental implants are designed to look, feel and function like your own natural teeth. Implants can restore the aesthetics of your smile, or act as a great anchor for dentures or other cosmetic dental work.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL IMPLANTS?
• Improved appearance
• Improved self-esteem
• Improved speech
• Improved oral health
• Improved comfort
• Easier eating
CAN ANYONE GET DENTAL IMPLANTS?
In general, if you have lost teeth you are a candidate for dental implants. In most cases, anyone healthy enough to have a routine dental extraction or oral surgery could be considered for dental implants. Patients need to have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant in place. However, there are some conditions and diseases that can affect whether dental implants are right for you.
HOW DO IMPLANT TOOTH REPLACEMENTS DIFFER FROM TEETH?
Natural teeth and dental implants feel the same, function in a similar way, and even look the same, but they are very different. The most important differences are in the way they attach to the surrounding bone, their response to dental disease, their maintenance, and how they are repaired.
A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthening filler.
A cavity is the result of superficial decay of the enamel of the tooth. Left long enough, this decay can burrow into the deeper reaches of the tooth, causing extensive damage to tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, dentists can perform a root canal (or endodontics), preserving the tooth and retaining its original integrity; thereby, saving a tooth that in the past would have to have been pulled.
• The patient undergoes anesthesia.
• A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
• The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
• The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
• With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
• The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
• A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening.
• Patients MUST see their regular dentist quickly for a permanent restoration of the tooth.