What is a dental crown?
A crown is a restoration that is fitted on top of your natural tooth, acting as a kind of cap. The crown completely encloses the part of the tooth that is visible above the gumline. Our dentists will bond it into place using dental cement – the difference in how a crown looks and functions is virtually indistinguishable from a natural tooth.
There isn’t just one type of crown, either. There are all-metal restorations as well as ceramic restorations; ceramic (usually porcelain) create a natural look that matches that of a healthy tooth.
When would I need a crown?
These types of restorations are useful for a number of different purposes:
Restoring weak or damaged teeth – when a tooth is weak from decay, or is cracked, broken, or significantly worn away
Support – if you’ve had a large filling and there is only a small amount of natural tooth left Cosmetic – sometimes when a tooth is damaged or discoloured, it affects the appearance of your smile and crowns are a natural-looking way to improve the aesthetic look of your teeth Root canals – in a root canal (or “endodontic treatment”), the remaining tooth structure becomes very brittle and vulnerable; crowns protect from further damage and bacterial infection Dental implants – crowns are one way to cover a dental implant (another being attached partial dentures)
What is a dental bridge?
Bridges are generally used to treat one or more missing teeth – put simply, they “bridge the gap” that missing teeth create in your smile. Crowns are placed over the natural teeth that are on either side of your gap. With the natural teeth acting as anchors (called “abutments”), a false tooth is fitted into the opening.
This treatment is a minimally invasive way to address missing teeth, without using surgery.
What is the difference between a crown and a bridge?
Crowns are used to cover and protect existing tooth structures. Bridges utilise crowns to act as anchor points on either side of a false tooth that “bridges the gap” caused by one or more missing teeth.
Same-day crowns using CEREC technology
In the days before technology like CEREC, patients would need to wait weeks to have their crowns placed. The process involved two separate appointments: in the first, the dentist would shape your tooth down and take an impression, which would then be sent to a lab for your crown to be created. You would then be fitted for a temporary crown while you waited, possibly for weeks, until your second visit, where your temporary crown would be removed and the final crown would be bonded to the remnants of your natural tooth.
Now, you can have your crown placed in only one appointment. No more waiting around with a temporary (and more fragile) crown, or coming in for more than one visit.
The CEREC machine
Using the CEREC machine, our dentists can create 3D digital images of a patient’s tooth. We can then design your ceramic restoration, which will be highly accurate thanks to CEREC technology. Instead of waiting a week for the material to come to and from a laboratory, your durable and natural-looking crown is created inside our dental practice.
What happens in a typical CEREC appointment?
First, our dental team will prep your tooth and a digital 3D scan will be taken of the entire area. This image can be viewed on screen by the dentist, as well as the patient, so we’ll be able to explain the treatment in greater detail and with visual assistance.
Using this 3D scan, your crown is designed in-practice. This technology allows for quick, efficient, and durable restorations. Your custom-made restoration will then be polished and fitted into place. The process generally only takes about an hour – and it all takes place in one appointment!
Benefits of CEREC restoration
CEREC offers a modern, simple solution for many patients for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- Its look and feel are almost indistinguishable from a natural tooth
- It preserves the remaining tooth and prevents breakage
- Resistance to stains
- How long do crowns and bridges last?
This often depends on the type of crown or bridge, as well as how you care for your restoration after treatment is complete. However, restorations can last between five and fifteen years. Most dentists will expect them to last about ten years, but your level of care and hygiene can affect their lifespan.
Will a restoration affect my ability to speak or eat?
A properly fitted crown or bridge will actually assist you in activities like speaking and eating. Missing teeth can impede your ability to speak normally, and some patients avoid certain types of food because of missing or damaged teeth. Your restoration will function as a normal, healthy tooth, improving your ability to perform everyday activities like chewing food.
How to care for a crown or bridge
Proper dental hygiene will be important for keeping your restorations strong and healthy. Bridges in particular depend on the health of surrounding teeth to continue functioning, so be sure to brush and floss regularly to prevent gum disease and/or tooth decay. The team at Acacia Dental Group can explain the proper way to brush and floss your teeth; you can also read more about dental hygiene here on our website.
A regular cleaning schedule will also help maintain your crowns or bridges. Because it is easier to fix a problem when it’s in its early days, be sure to come in for a check-up every six months. Our dentists will be thoroughly examining any possible signs of trouble.
Contact us for your same-day ceramic restoration
Speak with us to find out if CEREC is the best solution for you. Our dentist/team will be happy to answer any questions you may have!
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.