Dental Crowns & Bridges

What are dental crowns and how are they used?

Dental crowns are essentially artificial caps used to restore existing teeth for both functional and cosmetic reasons. Crowns are needed when teeth become damaged or have been structurally compromised in some way. Dr. Ekstein can use dental crowns to give your teeth the proper shape and function while adding the necessary strength for everyday use. Crowns are cemented to the existing tooth structure and are usually made of porcelain on high noble metal, zirconia, or gold.

How do dental crowns compare to fillings?

Compared to fillings which just cover a small portion of a tooth, a crown (or cap) encases the entire visible portion of a tooth. In effect, the crown acts as the tooth’s new outer surface. A major advantage of crowns over fillings is more surface coverage. A crown is preferable when a tooth is broken or decayed to such an extent that fillings cannot be placed. Porcelain or zirconia crowns look and feel similar to natural teeth. Inlays/onlays are often referred to as a partial crowns.

What are dental bridges and how are they used?

A dental bridge is a false tooth (or teeth) used to fill the gap created by missing teeth. Gaps between teeth can be detrimental to your dental and overall health. The gaps can cause occlusal disease which can lead to the need for more extensive dental work if left untreated. Dental bridges help alleviate the problem by restoring the proper occlusion (bite). Bridges are formed by using the two surrounding teeth as anchors to hold a false tooth (pontic) in the place where the gap is. Crowns are placed over the teeth surrounding the missing tooth or teeth and a false tooth is fused to those two crowns, filling the space.

About Implant-supported Bridges

There are some instances where dental bridges are called for but the surrounding teeth are not in sufficiently healthy condition to support standard dental crowns. In situations like this Dr. Ekstein may recommend what is known as an implant-supported bridge. These types of bridges are much like regular dental bridges in their use and functionality, but they get their support from implants instead of your natural teeth.

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