What are Dental Crowns and Bridges?

Dental crowns and bridges are used to restore a tooth to full function, esthetics and health. If a tooth has a broken cusp or extensive decay, the common treatment is to remove the decay, reduce the tooth down to place a dental crown over the tooth like a thimble fits over the end of your finger. Today’s crowns are more commonly all porcelain crowns due to the esthetic and conservative nature of the materials. We are able to bond them to the tooth. In the past, we had to reduce a significant portion of the tooth to allow room to glue the crown on. Due to newer bonding techniques, we can keep the crown preparations more conservative.

What are alternatives to Dental Bridges?

When a tooth is missing and there are adjacent teeth, a common procedure is to do a bridge. This requires trimming down the two adjacent teeth and connecting them with a middle piece that replaces the tooth that was lost due to decay, trauma or periodontal disease. A bridge can be used to replace 1 or more teeth. While a bridge has been the traditional method of treatment for many years, today, according to the American Dental Association,  dental implants are becoming the treatment of choice. The reason is, they are more predictable; they are more conservative; they are often longer lasting; and you’ll never have a toothache!

In the past, crowns that were placed on the front teeth were called “caps”. This term is not used as much anymore. The crown will restore function and create a natural appearance to a tooth that had been destroyed from trauma or decay or just because a large filling has worn out or cracked a tooth. We can do gold crowns, porcelain crowns, or a combination of both. 

Newer crowns are made of zirconia which is a very strong porcelain material. It is so dense that on an x-ray it can appear as metal! These types of crowns are getting more popular because of their strength, particularly in patients who tend to grind their teeth, this material will give strong support to the bite. Many patients prefer the all-porcelain crowns since they tend to look nicer and more natural.

In some cases, a crown can be placed to do “instant orthodontics”. This can be done when a tooth is misshaped or rotated or has excessive spacing. We can place a crown over the tooth to make it taller, straighter, thicker or close up a gap.

If you are looking to have a crown done or think you have a broken tooth, please contact Dr. James R. Donley at Lumbertown Dental Wellness in North Muskegon, Michigan today!

Here is a sample of one of our BEFORE and AFTER treatments for crowns, partials, and a full-mouth reconstruction.

rampant decay in teeth

This is a patient who came in with multiple areas of decay and missing teeth. We opened his bite slightly and placed new crowns across the top and bottom, along with partial dentures for the back teeth to support the bite. 

full mouth reconstruction