Forest Hills Dental Crowns and Bridges

Two of the most utilized restorations for broken or missing teeth are custom dental crowns and bridges. Each plays a unique role when it comes to maintaining natural biting and chewing, but they’re also designed to offer aesthetic advantages that impact your smile’s appearance.

What are Dental Crowns?

Crowns (sometimes called “caps”) cover your entire tooth, up to the gums. They’re protective restorations that limit the risk of further decay, breakage, and erosion of the tooth underneath. Plus, they’re strong enough to withstand everyday wear.

We’ll design your crown out of a durable ceramic that matches the teeth next to it. Sometimes gold is used — especially if the tooth isn’t visible, like a top back tooth — because of how durable it is against heavy wear and pressure.

Do I Need a Crown?

Crowns are essential when a tooth is too damaged to repair with a filling. If we were to put a large filling in a structurally compromised tooth, it would simply be a matter of time before it breaks down or cracks.

Dr. Mark will likely suggest a crown for situations involving:

• Large cavities
• Severe wear or enamel erosion
• Root canal treatment
• Broken or cracked teeth

Traditional dental crowns are made using a two-step process that takes at least two separate appointments to complete. That’s because they’re made by hand in a lab. While the permanent version is being crafted, you’ll wear a temporary crown. About two weeks later, Dr. Mark will change it out with the final design.

However, Forest Hills Dental is also proud to offer same-day CEREC dental crowns. Thanks to digital 3D technology, we can take a “virtual” impression of your prepped tooth and have the final ceramic cap milled in our office while you wait. In the meantime, you can relax with a book or catch up on other dental treatments.

CEREC crowns aren’t just convenient because of the time that’s saved; they also eliminate the chance of human error and are made of solid ceramic (so they look great too!)

Dental Bridges for Missing Teeth

Bridges serve a different purpose than dental crowns. Although each end of the multi-tooth restoration essentially consists of a crown, the primary function of a bridge is to fill in the gap created by a missing tooth.

As an extended restoration, bridges support pontic (false) crowns between two functional ones, covering the area of your missing or extracted tooth.

Getting a bridge helps protect normal tooth and bite alignment, improves smile aesthetics, and helps you chew normally (instead of shifting to the other side.)

Like crowns, bridges are usually made out of ceramic, or porcelain fused to a metal base for added strength. The typical treatment process generally requires two separate visits, a couple of weeks apart.

Dental Implant Crowns and Bridges

When you’re using dental implants to replace your missing teeth, Dr. Mark will create a custom crown or bridge to restore the area that extends above your gums.

In the instance of a single tooth implant, you’ll get a crown. But if there are multiple teeth that are gone, you’ll usually get a bridge that’s supported on either end by an implant. You won’t necessarily need an implant for each tooth that’s missing.

Crown and Bridge Maintenance

Although your teeth are protected under crowns and bridges, there’s still a small margin around the edges where tooth structure is exposed. It’s crucial to clean these surfaces thoroughly each day, so that new decay or gum disease does not develop.

Carefully floss your restoration daily. For bridges, use a floss threader to weave the string underneath. Hug the side of each tooth with your floss, sliding it up and down against the tooth and under the gums by a couple of millimeters.

If it’s hard to floss, water flossing is an easier alternative. Simply trace the tooth along the gums with the stream of water, pausing between teeth to clean away plaque. Water flossing makes cleaning around and under bridges a fairly easy process.

Do you tend to clench and grind your teeth? Dr. Mark may suggest sleeping in a night guard, to avoid excess wear or fractures to your ceramic restorations.

Custom Matched to Your Smile

Our Forest Hills dental crowns and bridges are closely matched to your natural tooth color. We want your fixed restorations to blend in with your smile overall, rather than stand out. Since ceramics and porcelains come in a variety of different shades, we’re able to choose the one that best fits your unique appearance.

What Happens if I Delay My Treatment?

Getting a dental crown is something that shouldn’t be put off for too long. Crowns are needed when teeth are already structurally compromised. Delaying treatment means the weaker, brittle, or damaged tooth is at a constant risk for additional breakage. If the crown is put off for too long, there may no longer be enough healthy tooth structure to work with. If teeth can’t be restored with a crown, the only option available is usually to have them extracted.

Since bridges help to maintain proper tooth spacing, delaying treatment could result in orthodontic complications (and secondary jaw pain.) If too much time goes by, there may no longer be enough room for a bridge to fit properly without getting braces first.

Alternatives to Dental Bridges

Bridges are a traditional way to replace missing teeth. However, they are not the only option for such. Dr. Mark may also suggest options such as a partial denture or dental implants. In the instance of a single missing tooth, an implant may be best, as it prevents having to alter the structure of the two teeth that would support a bridge.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Find out if you need a crown or bridge by scheduling an exam with Dr. Mark at Forest Hills Dental. We’re proudly served Forest Hills families since 1995 and are committed to providing a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere for you and your family.