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Crowns are complete coverage restorations that are used when the structural integrity of the tooth is no longer intact, and a filling will not adequately restore the tooth to proper form and function. Crowns are normally done after a root canal is completed or after there is a large fracture of an existing restoration or a portion of the tooth. Two appointments are needed to complete fabrication and final cementation of a crown. The first appointment will consist of a crown preparation, final impression for the laboratory, and fabrication and cementation of a temporary crown. The second appointment will consist of removal of the temporary crown and fitting of the permanent crown. If the crown has a quality fit, final cementation of the crown can be completed and the procedure is finished. Very rarely the crown may need to be sent back to the lab if a quality fit cannot be achieved. If this is the case, the temporary crown will be re-cemented and one more final cementation appointment may be necessary. Advances in dental materials have allowed dentists to have many options with regards to what material the crown is composed of. Solid gold crowns are still a great option for areas of the mouth that are not visible or for patients who grind and clench their teeth. Zirconia and all porcelain crowns are also available and offer excellent esthetic results with great translucency in both the anterior and posterior regions of the mouth.
Fixed bridges are an option for filling in the space created by a missing tooth. The bridge is formed so as to fit directly over the gum tissue and to appear as an actual tooth. The sides of the bridge utilize the two teeth adjacent to the open space to create a 3-tooth unit. A bridge can be made of the same materials that a single crown is made of: porcelain fused to metal, gold, zirconia and all-porcelain in certain instances. It is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible with either a fixed bridge, removable bridge, or a dental implant. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the space can begin to shift inward and the tooth directly above the missing tooth can begin to drift downward over time. The occlusion, or bite, needs to be maintained or other problems may arise.
Veneers are a thin covering placed on the facial surface of the tooth. Veneers can be done directly, which involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using direct bonding. The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the teeth will be prepared, impressed, and temporized at the first appointment. The patient will then return to have the final porcelain veneers permanently cemented once they return from the dental laboratory. Veneers may be a good option to address your esthetic and functional dental needs.
Dental implants have revolutionized dentistry and allowed greater treatment options for patients with missing teeth. A dental implant can best be described as a screw type device that is implanted into the bone and allowed to integrate with the bone, creating a solid replacement of a missing tooth. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, an abutment is placed on the implant which raises a piece of titanium or zirconia out of the gum tissue. A crown can then be fabricated onto the abutment completing the treatment and leaving the patient with a naturally looking and functioning tooth. Dental implants are a great treatment option, but with all treatments there are pros and cons. Each case is different, and we will work hard to gather information from each patient in order to find out what will be the best treatment option.