Bridges & Crowns
A restorative procedure
At Madison Family Dental, we will recommend a crown for several reasons. A crown, or cap, is a restoration that covers a tooth. While restoring the tooth to normal size and shape, a crown also strengthens and improves the appearance of the tooth.
A dental bridge consists of two or more crowns fused together that replace or span the space where one or more teeth have been lost. A bridge is bonded into place and does not go “in and out” of the mouth like a partial or denture. Daily brushing and flossing are needed around and under your bridge (you will be shown proper care for your new bridge).
Post-operative Care Following a Crown
As your Madison, WI dentist, we know the mouth is an extremely sensitive part of the body. Dental treatment of any kind requires taking extra care of the area of operation. Whether you have had a routine procedure, or something more complex like a tooth extraction or periodontal surgery, there are several important steps you can take to maximize the results of your procedure, prevent infection and ease any discomfort you might experience.
Below are post-operative instructions from the dentists at Madison Family Dental. If you have any additional questions about your procedure, or if you are experiencing abnormal bleeding, swelling, severe pain, or any reaction to medications, please do not hesitate to contact us.
After the first visit you will have a temporary dental crown on your tooth. A few precautions should be taken:
- Avoid sticky or chewy foods (e.g., chewing gum and caramels), which have the potential of grabbing and pulling at the crown.
- Shift the bulk of your chewing to the opposite side of your mouth.
- Avoid chewing hard foods (e.g., raw vegetables), which can dislodge or break the crown.
- When cleaning your teeth, slide flossing material out rather that lifting it out. Lifting the floss out could pull off the temporary crown.
What’s safe to eat after crowns?
With a temporary crown, it is important to keep anything very sticky or crunchy away from the crown. This is simply so that the crown does not get pulled off, or break under high chewing forces. Besides that, you may eat to your comfort level after the anesthetic is worn off. The gum and tooth may be tender in the area that the work was done, and sometimes it can be helpful to stick to a softer diet for the first few days after a crown.
Once the permanent crown is cemented on, it is best to avoid sticky things for the first 24 hours. After that, you may eat, drink, and clean your tooth just like you did before. The crown and gum may be tender or sensitive for the first few weeks while the gum is healing from the work done.
Common Questions Answered About Bridges & Crowns
Why should I replace a missing tooth and get a bridge?
- Improve chewing function
- Prevent remaining teeth from shifting, which can result in lost chewing function, changes to your bite, and stress placed on the remaining teeth
- Help maintain the natural shape of your face by supporting your lips and cheeks
How many appointments does it take to get a bridge?
The procedure needed for a bridge is similar to that of a crown (two appointments), but usually takes a little longer since multiple teeth are being prepared.
What problems could develop with a bridge?
Sometimes the bite may become uncomfortable when chewing, but this can be adjusted in order to make your bite more comfortable and feel more natural.
Why is a dental crown needed?
- Protect a weak tooth
- Bind parts of a cracked tooth
- Restore a broken tooth or worn down tooth
- Conceal and support a tooth with a large filling
- Conceal a misshaped or discolored tooth
- Attach a bridge while replacing a missing tooth
- Cover a dental implant
What types of crowns are available?
Crowns are all-porcelain, porcelain with metal substructure, or gold. The construction often depends on the location of the tooth being restored and/or the patient’s bite.
All-porcelain crowns are a good choice for front teeth because they provide the best natural color match. Although suitable for people with metal allergies, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth, making them a good choice for front and back parts of the mouth. The porcelain portion may chip and wear to opposing teeth occurs more with this crown type than with metal crowns.
In areas where esthetics are not a major concern (e.g., back molars), metal crowns are a good choice. Our dentists use high noble metals (gold or palladium) and never use base metals (nickel or chromium). Less tooth structure is removed when installing metal crowns and wear to opposing teeth is minimal once installed. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well; they rarely chip or break.
How many appointments does it take to get a crown made?
Crowning generally involves two appointments with your Madison dentist. The first dental appointment involves shaping the tooth, taking impressions, and making a temporary crown. This is typically the longer of the two appointments. The second dental appointment ensures a proper fit, verifying a natural bite, and permanently cementing the crown on your tooth. It is typically the shorter of the two dental appointments.
Your Madison, WI dentist says the list of problems could develop with a dental crown…
- Discomfort/sensitivity – As the anesthesia wears off, your crowned tooth may be sensitive. Also, a crown that is too high on a tooth may cause pain or sensitivity when you bite down.
- Chipped crown – Porcelain crowns sometimes chip. Small chips are smoothed off or left as is. Extensive chips result in the crown needing to be replaced.
- Loose crown – Sometimes the cement washes out from under the crown, allowing the crown to become loose. Bacteria can then leak in and cause decay to the tooth.
- Crown falls off – You should immediately contact your dentist (608) 274-5970 if your crown falls off. Dental adhesive or temporary tooth cement (sold in stores for this purpose) can be used to fix the crown. Your dentist can recement your crown, but sometimes a new crown is made.
For any and all problems, call your Madison Family dentist and he/she can help fix the problem.
How long does a dental crown last?
This lifespan depends on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown experiences, how well oral hygiene habits are followed, and your personal mouth-related habits. Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting your fingernails, and using your teeth to open packages.
What are some alternative options to Crowns?
A dental bonding is a more temporary option.