My dentist said I needed a crown.. and I was like, I know right?

What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?

Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist. 

In the past, metal based crowns with porcelain layered over them were all the rage, At our office we do exclusively solid porcelain crowns and bridges with absolutely no metal. Why? It's been shown that over time, the layered porcelain chips away and the metal base begins to show through in an unsightly way. Not to mention, chipped porcelain can be abrasive for the soft tissues in your mouth and can retain plaque.

How do Crowns Work?

A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. 

There are a number of different types of materials used for crowns. As mentioned earlier, we stick to the ones that are esthetic and strong. While traditionally, patients receiving crowns or bridges would have to wait several weeks to receive their restorations, we are among the less than 4% of dentists nationally that make your crown in one visit. Impression material is a thing of the past at brush. At our office, we use a digital scanner to take thousands of pictures of your teeth and we then design the perfect fitting crown chairside. We send this design to be milled out of our 3-D device and your crown or bridge is ready within less than 2 hours. 

We recommend crowns in the following instances:

  • Replace a large filling when there isn't enough tooth remaining

  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing

  • Restore a fractured tooth

  • Attach a bridge

  • Cover a dental implant

  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth

  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment

How do Bridges Work?

A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

How are Crowns and Bridges Made?

Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, we will take a digital scan and use our computer technology to determine an exact shade match. Using the images obtained in the digital scan we design a restoration that will provide harmony to your bite.

How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?

While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.


Sara Mahmood