A crown is made in 2 appointments.
The first appointment is for preparing the tooth. At this appointment, tooth structure is removed from the outside surfaces of the tooth to allow room for the crown. The doctor takes great care when preparing the tooth because getting a good fit is very important to prevent marginal leakage. After the preparation is done an impression is taken of the area. This impression is very important because it is what the dental lab will use to cast your crown and make it the right fit. Once the impression is done a temporary crown made of an acrylic dental material so you will leave the office looking the way you did when you came.
At the second appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the prepared tooth is cleaned. Then the doctor will place your new crown that has been made for you by our local dental lab. We will check the fit and your bite and make sure that you can easily floss in around your new crown. If the patient and doctor are happy with the shade, bite and overall look of the crown then we will permanently cement it.
Depending on the situation crowns can be made in a few different materials. Two of the most common ones are Porcelain or Gold.
Porcelain crowns are made in two ways. They may sound fragile, but they are in fact very strong, and also very gentle surfaces for the tooth opposite them to bite against. One type has all porcelain and has really become the most beneficial crown material to blend strength, longevity, and aesthetics while conserving tooth structure. Another type has an overlay structure of tooth coloured porcelain over an underlying base cast in a very strong gold and metal alloy material. A porcelain crown is best indicated for areas that are toward the front of the mouth or in some posterior teeth if people have wide smile lines where the crowns will show. Contemporary porcelain crowns are usually unnoticeable and resemble your natural teeth.
A gold crown is very strong and is typically only used in the posterior areas of the mouth. A gold crown allows for the strength needed to stand up to the strong biting forces of the back teeth.
Your crown will require no extra care. You will want to make sure you brush and floss as you usually would with all of your natural teeth and see your dental hygienist for your routine oral hygiene appointments.
A bridge is made in 2 appointments.
At the first appointment, the teeth on either side of the gap are prepared much like a crown. Tooth structure is removed from the outside surfaces of the teeth allowing room for the bridge to fit. After the teeth are carefully prepared an impression is taken of the area. With that impression, the dental lab is able to fabricate a bridge to fit the teeth and fill in the spot that is missing. Before you leave our office we will fabricate a temporary for you. It will not fill in the gap at this time but the teeth that have been prepared will be covered and look as normal as possible.
At the second appointment, the temporaries are removed and the prepared teeth are cleaned. Then the bridge is tried on for fit, bite, and shade. If the doctor and patient are happy we will then permanently cement the bridge. In some cases however such as a bridge that is more towards the front of your mouth or of a larger span sometimes they are only temporarily cemented to allow the patient a “test drive”. This allows them to see what their family may think of it, make sure that it is aesthetically what they are looking for and that overall it meets their needs. If it is not suitable because it is still only in temporarily, we are still able to remove it and modify it as needed. For example, the shade can still be adjusted at the lab. When the doctor and patient are totally satisfied the patient will return to our office and we will cement the new bridge with permanent cement.
Typically bridges are made of porcelain. They are cast in a gold and metal alloy and then covered in a porcelain layer. Bridges can also be made of gold however it is less common.
It is best to brush your bridge as you would your teeth however it will require a special method for flossing. Floss will need to be threaded underneath and moved along your gum line to dislodge any plaque or food debris that has built up around it. Regular visits to your dental hygienist are very important and she will offer further instruction on flossing.