When you have damaged or missing teeth, dental crowns and bridgework are the only choices before resorting to dental implants or dentures. Dental crowns and bridgework offer superior alternatives to partial dentures that are difficult to clean and install. Dentures are too soft and can be scratched if you brush them using a regular toothbrush. This means that the partial denture piece has to be installed and uninstalled frequently, soaked, and eventually replaced. The metal retainers that hold them in place can irritate gums and cause gingivitis. Simply removing the teeth and living with large gaps is embarrassing and can significantly alter speech, the shape of your face, and eating habits.
Dental Crowns and Root Canals
A dental crown is typically installed on a tooth that was damaged in an accident or infected from decay. When an infection reaches the roots of a tooth or an accident breaches the pulp chamber, a root canal may be the only option left to save the base structure of the tooth without implanting a titanium screw and grafting in new bone. A root canal is performed by drilling a large access hole into the center of the tooth and removing the pump in a process called a pulpectomy. The pulp chamber is filled with nerves, blood, vessels, and connecting tissue that help remineralize the dentin. If you have strong teeth, the remaining shell can remain intact for a lifetime despite the lack of minimal remineralization that pulp facilitates.
After the pulpectomy, the narrow root canals need to be cleaned with canal files of progressive diameters and flushed before sealing. A metal post is inserted in the center of the tooth to add additional support before filling and sealing the access hole. Once sealed, the exterior of the tooth can be shaped and ground down to accommodate a crown or cap that resembles a real tooth or that functions as an equivalent. It is critical to maintain excellent hygiene after you have a root canal done by regularly brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash to ensure that food does not accumulate in the gum line and irritate the area.
A bridge is used to bridge the gap between two teeth when one or more are missing. Installing dental crowns and bridgework require many of the same skills. Nevertheless, working with crowns and bridges is an art where your Sunrise dentist and the lab strive to match the ceramic, gold alloy, or mixed material false teeth with your real teeth. The teeth used in bridges is more durable than the soft plastic used in dentures. You can brush it and floss it just as you would your normal teeth because it is not possible to remove the bridge once it is installed.
Installing the bridge involves grinding down the two teeth at the ends of the toothless gap that requires filling. The bridge is installed on these two anchor teeth, known as abutments, and cemented into place. This dental appliance requires care from the lab that custom fabricates it to ensure that it matches your real teeth as closely as possible. An experienced dentist will ensure that it fits comfortably. While generic crowns can be used to retrofit a functional tooth surface onto a variety of teeth, a bridge has to be carefully measured and fitted into place.
Dental Crowns and Bridgework Versus Implants
The key advantage of using dental crowns is that they are less expensive and rigid than dental implants. In fact, the major difference between dental implants and your natural roots is that implants are fixed firmly into the bone while natural teeth are held flexibly in place by ligaments. This distinction may change the feel of your bite and be less comfortable for some people. When it comes to bridgework, a bridge is more cost-effective than installing separate implants to replace every tooth. In any case, dental implants are the final solution that many opt for only if their dental crowns and bridgework fail or deteriorate from decay over time.
Dental implants have an advantage over bridgework because they will stimulate bone growth and help patients retain good bone density and structure after teeth have been removed. The roots are important to the stimulation of new bone growth. You can lose up to 30% of bone after the first year of tooth loss. While it is always possible to graft new bone material in and restrengthen it for titanium implants, implants offer a permanent solution that prevents deterioration and the risk of significant bone loss over time. Many people may eventually replace their dental crowns or bridgework with dental implants as they get older and require more permanent solutions. For many, it is simply a question of what fits their budget at the time.
When you need dental crowns and bridgework installed in your mouth before resorting to dentures or implants, call your Sunrise dentist to schedule an appointment. They will fully discuss your options with you and the real-world advantages of each procedure on a case-by-case basis. For some, the installation of a dental implant can be traumatizing. You have to wait months for the bone graft and implant to heal before an actual crown can be fitted to the titanium screw. A bridge or crown procedure is far less invasive and cuts your costs by 50-percent or more. Contact your local Sunrise dentist today to schedule a consultation.