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Crown and Bridge Services & Education

Dr. Richard Barron & Dr. Kunaal Goyal at Allendale Dental
Crowns and Bridges

Crowns or "caps" are restorations that cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving its appearance. Crowns are necessary when a tooth is so broken down that a filling is insufficient to restore the tooth to its normal form and function. Crowns may also be indicated to protect weakened teeth (such as root canal treated teeth), cover badly shaped or discolored teeth, or to restore an implant. There are three basic types of crowns: all metal, all-porcelain (ceramic) and porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM).

Metal crowns exhibit high strength and toughness that resists fracture and wear. This allows the dentist to remove the least amount of healthy tooth structure when preparing the tooth for the restoration. Metal crowns are also gentle to opposing teeth and are well tolerated by patients. However, their colors do not mimic natural teeth.

Ceramic crowns are extremely esthetic and work very well for restoring front teeth. They tend to be more fragile and are prone to fracture when placed under tension or on impact. Their strength depends on an adequate thickness of porcelain and the ability to be bonded to the underlying tooth.

Another use for all ceramic restorations is porcelain veneers; these are thin, custom-made porcelain shells designed to cover only the front portion of teeth.

PFM crowns have a metal core with porcelain baked on top. This combination creates a restoration with the strength of metal and the esthetics of ceramic. These are the most common type of crowns.

Bridges replace missing teeth with artificial teeth, look great, and literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth have been lost. The artificial teeth are anchored on either end by crowns, which give support and stability to the bridge. Once completed the bridge is cemented on to the teeth and can only be removed in the dental office.

Once a crown or bridge has been cemented in the mouth there are certain things you must do to maintain and care for the restoration. To prevent damaging or fracturing the porcelain, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects. You also want to avoid teeth grinding. Besides visiting your dentist and brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth is vital. Floss or interdental cleaners are important tools to remove plaque from the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Plaque in that area can cause dental decay and gum disease.