A Guide to Crowns & Bridges: Greenbelt MD Dentist

Many people have heard of crowns and bridges, but do not know what they are. As a dentist in Greenbelt MD, we have worked with plenty of patients that need Crowns & Bridges. Others know what they are, but are unsure of what is involved in the process of getting them installed. In this post, we’ll go over what you need to know about these dental appliances.

What are crowns & bridges?

A dental crown is like a cover that goes over a tooth. Because the crown entirely covers the tooth, it can be used to restore a damaged tooth or it can be used for cosmetic purposes. Unlike dentures, a crown is a permanent dental appliance that is cemented onto the tooth that is repairing.

A bridge is used to fill a gap where a missing tooth was. A common way of attaching the bridge is to cement it between two crowns, which are then attached to the two good teeth on either side of the missing one.

Both a crown and a bridge are meant to look like your own natural teeth, so they will not be overly noticeable to an outside observer.

Why do I need to get a crown/bridge?

There are a variety of reasons that a dentist might recommend a crown. If you have a fractured tooth or a tooth in danger of fracturing, then a crown is a great way to restore the tooth’s structural integrity. Crowns may also be used to replace large fillings if there is not enough tooth left to put another filling in.

As mentioned in the previous section, crowns can also be cosmetic. It could be that you are unhappy with the shape of a tooth and would like to have it covered with a more pleasingly shaped crown.

Bridges serve the cosmetic function of replacing a missing tooth, but they also serve a very important dental function. The gap left by a missing tooth can cause your other teeth to shift, causing bite issues. Filling the gap of a missing tooth with a bridge will protect your other teeth from shifting. A crown is often used on either side of the bridge to attach it.

What can I expect during the procedure?

Dental crowns are installed over two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the tooth and take an impression of it. The impression will be sent to a laboratory so that they can construct your crown. The second appointment will be made after the crown has been sent from the lab. It is during this appointment that the crown is installed.

During that first appointment, the dentist will numb your mouth. The anesthetic will be given to you in the form of an injection. A local get anesthetic may be applied to reduce the pain of the injection.

After the tooth is numb the dentist will begin work. The first step is to use a rotary tool to shave some thickness off of the tooth. This is because the crown must fit over the tooth. The dentist will also remove any decay and shape the tooth to make application of the crown both easier and more effective.

After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression of it. For this, either a tray of impression putty or a special type of 3d scanner is used. This is the impression that the dentist will send to the lab.

Finally, a temporary crown will be placed on the tooth and you will make an appointment for your return visit to have the permanent crown installed.

On the day of the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary crown. If needed, your tooth will be numbed first, although that is not always necessary for this part of the procedure. Once the temporary crown is removed the dentist will test fit the new crown and let you have a look at it. If everything is okay, the new crown will be cemented into place.

Since a bridge is basically just two crowns with a false tooth in between them, the procedure for a bridge is nearly identical to that for a crown. Of course, with a bridge, it will be two teeth being prepared and worked on instead of just one.

How much does the procedure cost?

As with many procedures, there are a number of factors that will change the cost of a crown or a bridge. A good estimate though is around $500-2500 per tooth for a crown and between $1400 to over $5000 for a bridge. A major factor in the cost of the bridge is the number of false teeth that it must contain.

If you have dental insurance, they will likely cover part of the procedure. Be sure to check with your specific policy though. Some may have restrictions that require you to have the policy for a certain amount of time before they’ll cover more expensive procedures like bridges. Insurance might also not cover a bridge if the tooth was missing before you acquired the insurance.

How do I care for my crown/bridge?

The temporary crown will require the most care. Since it is not meant to be permanent, it is not as durable as your final crown will be. While you await your second appointment, try to avoid eating hard or sticky foods. Take extra care to be gentle while brushing your teeth and use a soft bristled brush. If your temporary crown becomes loose or uncomfortable, contact your dentist.

You can return to normal eating once your permanent crown is on. You’ll want to continue to use the soft-bristled toothbrush and floss every day to make sure that the crown stays clean. You may also wish to avoid really hard foods, or chew them on the other side.

Care for a bridge is the same as care for a crown. A temporary bridge can come loose easily, so be extra careful brushing and chewing while the temporary one is in. As with crowns, avoid hard and sticky foods while you await your permanent bridge.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we care about the oral health of all of our patients and know the importance of a great smile. Whether your needs are functional or cosmetic, contact us today to set up an appointment or to get more information on how we can serve your needs. If you’re not local to Greenbelt MD, your best bet is to find a local dentist near you who can service you properly. If you’re in Syracuse, try doing a Google search of Syracuse, NY dentist and find a reputable practice with high Google star ratings.

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