Dental Crowns and Bridges
Main Line restorative dentist, Dr. Vito, is a graduate of the prestigious Periodontal Prosthesis Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine where he received extensive training in the the diagnosis and treatment of broken, decayed and missing teeth. Dr. Vito has been doing adult, advanced restorative, and full mouth reconstructive dentistry since 1987. Dr. Vito works with a dental ceramist in his office to ensure the best fitting and aesthetic restorations.
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About Crowns and Bridges
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over your tooth to restore its shape, function and size. It is also used to strengthen your tooth while improving its appearance.
Crowns are custom made restorations made in a dental laboratory from materials like porcelain, gold or a combination of both materials. They are typically used to restore a tooth’s contours, function and aesthetics following a procedure such as a root canal or when decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed or if a tooth is cracked or fractured.
Dental crowns, when done correctly, provide many years of service, are virtually undetectable and represent the ultimate in dental restorations and prosthodontics.
Porcelain crowns are recommended for restoration work of the upper and/or lower front teeth. The use of porcelain material allows for a more natural appearance. Porcelain applied to gold crowns are for areas with low to moderate functional demands and in areas where there is a high aesthetic demand.
NOTE: Some offices utilize economic base metals rather than gold. The disadvantage of the base metal is that they will begin to tarnish and corrode after a short period of time. This will result in poor tissue health which may lead to bone loss and tooth decay. The base metals will not give the true color of porcelain selected for your crown restoration and results in a less than natural appearance.
All porcelain crowns are composed of 100% porcelain. They are used in areas of low function demand and high aesthetic requirements.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is used to bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It is made up of a series of crowns joined together as one piece and supported by teeth or either side of the gap or space. The bridges are supported by either natural teeth or implants.
Dental Bridgework are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth or all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. When all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaw are crowned this would be referred to as a full mouth reconstruction. Since bridgework is custom-made, they can restore the natural aesthetics, contour and function of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.
Bridges are sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures. Bridgework can be fabricated with porcelain, gold alloys or a combination of both materials depending upon the span of the bridge as well as the functional demands of the bridge.
Crown and Bridge Preparation, Procedures, and Aftercare
Dental Crown Procedure
A tooth must usually be reduced in size to accommodate a crown filling over the tooth and not affecting the bite. Following tooth preparation an impression is made. The impression is sent to Dr. Vito’s lab who then manufactures a custom-designed crown. In aesthetic cases, the dental ceramist comes to Dr. Vito’s office and spends time with the patient ensuring the proper color and aesthetics to the patient’s satisfaction prior to permanently cementing the crown or crowns in place.
Caring For Your Crowns
With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to care for your crowns in the same way you would care for your teeth taking care to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around both your teeth and crowns.
Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown. Moreover eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the it. If you display evidence of grinding, Dr. Vito may suggest a “bite guard” to protect your teeth and restorations.
Dental Bridge Preparation
After proper assessment of the tooth area, Dr. Vito will examine the area, take X-rays and make up casts of the teeth. First, local anesthesia is applied around the teeth. When the area is numb, the teeth are prepared. When the preparation is complete, a mold (impression) of the area is then taken. The impression/mold is sent to our dental laboratory, where Dr. Vito’s lab technician uses it to make the bridge.
Dental Bridge Procedure
Local anesthesia is again applied, if necessary, before your treatment is started. Your temporary bridge is removed and the underlying teeth are cleaned up. The new bridge is cemented into place on your teeth. Dr. Vito will assist you in your aftercare needs to yield the best comfort, results and outcomes.
Dental Bridge vs Implant
There are practical reasons for both procedures. Dental implants replace just the individual tooth for a result that is deemed stronger and permanent. However, a dental bridge may be your best option if the neighboring teeth have large fillings and need crowns or caps in the future.
Dental Crowns vs Veneers
A crown encases the whole tooth, while veneers just surround the front side.
Explore Other Dental Restoration Options
- Prosthodontics and Dental Implants
- Root Canals and fillings
- Denture Implants
- Porcelain Restorations and more
Visit our Dr. James Vito’s Cosmetic and Restorative practice in the Philadelphia area on the Main Line today (610) 971-2590.