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Do I Need a Crown or a Bridge?

Do I need a crown or a bridge? If you’ve been pondering this question, you probably have a damaged or missing tooth. While you’re on the right track–both dental devices are essential to restorative dentistry–they are used for different situations. Here’s a quick rundown of when a crown or a bridge would be the best option for you.   
  • When to Place a Crown
  • The Benefits of Bridges
  • Caring for Your Crown or Bridge

When to Place a Crown

Crowns are just what they sound like–a permanent cap to cover your tooth. Crowns are used to cover and protect broken or decayed teeth in order to restore their function and appearance. Teeth can become cracked or broken from injuries, old fillings, tooth grinding, and hard foods. Decay occurs when bacteria erodes the structure of the tooth. A crown protects what remains of the tooth and halts further spread of decay or infection. At your crown appointment, your dentist will examine the tooth in question. If the tooth is weakened from decay, the decay and any old fillings will be removed. If necessary, your dentist might apply a material called a “buildup” on your tooth to give it enough structure to anchor the crown.  A scan of the tooth will be made to produce the permanent crown. You will leave the first appointment with a temporary crown and return two weeks later for the permanent crown, which will have been custom-made to perfectly match your surrounding teeth. With good care and hygiene, crowns can last a long time. For further reading: Are Tooth Crowns Really Necessary?

Building (Dental) Bridges

If instead of a broken or decayed tooth you simply are missing a tooth, getting a bridge may be the right solution for you. Bridges are useful for patients who have healthy teeth on either side of one or more missing teeth and for situations where a dental implant may not be a good option. Missing teeth are problematic for dental health because the remaining teeth tend to drift into the open space. This shifting can cause bite problems, jaw pain, jaw bone weakening, and even changes to the appearance of the face. To maintain neighboring tooth positions while replacing a missing tooth, dentists often recommend either an implant or a bridge to their patients. There are some situations where a dental implant may not be the best option. In these cases a bridge can provide an alternative to replacing a tooth or multiple teeth. Bridges are crowns that have a false tooth or teeth splinted between the two crowns. When the bridge is placed on the teeth with crowns, and the false tooth sits in the gap created by the missing tooth. This prevents the surrounding teeth from shifting positions. Bridges can restore the natural look of the patient’s smile and greatly improve the ability to chew and speak clearly.

Caring for Your Crown or Bridge

After restorative dentistry, your mouth will need time to recover from the procedure. Soft foods are recommended until any discomfort has gone away. After you’ve fully healed from restorative dentistry, you can look forward to enjoying healthy, pain-free teeth that are strong and as reliable as your natural teeth. Caring for your crown or bridge is the same as looking after your natural teeth. Brushing twice a day with a soft bristled brush and using a fluoride toothpaste, as well as flossing once a day will help them last a long time.  If you have a bridge, be sure to floss around and under the teeth of the bridge, to help remove any food that may be stuck there. Flossing underneath the bridge will decrease the risk of gum inflammation or disease. A water flosser, dental pick, floss threader, and interdental brushes are all great tools to clean out that area.

Restorative Dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin

If you think you might be a good candidate for a crown or bridge, please contact us today. Affiliated Dentists offers general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin.

Do I Need a Crown or a Bridge? brought to you by Dr. Mark Gustavson  

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