Chipped, cracked, and missing teeth are common dental problems. While they can certainly affect a patient’s self-esteem and make them feel self-conscious, these issues also pose significant threats to their oral health and put their healthy teeth in danger of disease, decay, and tooth loss. The good news is that dental crowns and bridges can effectively resolve these dental problems and provide patients with the confidence and beautiful smile they deserve. Dr. Andy Gaertner of Bliss Dental is pleased to offer dental crowns and bridges to patients in Kendall, Miami, and surrounding areas of South Florida.
With these treatments, patients can improve their smile and reduce the risk of serious oral complications down the road. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between these two restorative treatments.
Dental Crowns vs. Dental Bridges
Comprised of ceramic or metal, a dental crown is a cap that covers the entire tooth. It is typically placed when a patient has a cosmetic problem or a damaged tooth. The location of the tooth determines the material that Dr. Gaertner will select for a crown. In most cases, he recommends metal crowns for the back teeth and porcelain crowns for the front teeth.
Crowns are ideal for patients who have damaged or decayed teeth, significant tooth cracks and chips, severe tooth sensitivity, or have undergone a root canal. They are particularly beneficial for those who lead active lifestyles and don’t want to worry about losing dentures or get dental implants.
A dental bridge uses two crowns that act as a “bridge” for the gap left by a missing natural tooth. Patients may experience tooth loss because of injury, age, poor oral hygiene, or advanced gum disease. Dental bridges usually involve ceramic or porcelain crowns that match the shade of a patient’s existing teeth. Dr. Gaertner recommends these dental crowns because they offer optimal durability and can allow patients to eat, drink, and speak normally. They even feel like your natural teeth.
Benefits of Dental Crowns and Bridges
There are several benefits to dental crowns and bridges. First and foremost, they offer a natural appearance. When patients laugh or smile, nobody will be able to tell they have had a restorative dental treatment.
Dental crowns and bridges also function exactly like natural teeth. Patients are able to chew and eat food as normal Dr. Gaertner is also a huge advocate of dental crowns and bridges because they are durable, stain-resistant and safeguard against cavities. Lastly, no special care is required. Patients who receive dental crowns and bridges will need to brush, floss, and visit their dentist regularly but there are no other special instructions.
Good Candidates for Dental Crowns and Bridges
The ideal candidates for dental crowns are men and women who would like to restore broken, damaged, or decayed teeth, cover discolored teeth to create a more attractive smile, or hold pieces of a broken tooth together and cap them for improved structure.
Although dental bridges are basically a series of dental crowns, they are used for different purposes than a standard dental crown. We recommend dental bridges to patients who:
- Have two or more missing teeth that are right next to each other
- Have dental damage that is affecting two or more teeth
- do not have adequate jaw bone dentistry for dental implants
Both procedures may also benefit patients who simply do not wish to go through the dental implant process and/or are not interested in getting dentures. During a private consultation at our dental office in Miami, FL, Dr. Gaertner can help patients determine which option is right for them.
What to Expect During a Dental Crown and Bridge Consultation
During a dental crown and bridge consultation, Dr. Gaertner will thoroughly inspect a patient’s teeth, gums, and mouth to figure out which issues need to be resolved. Patients may need a root canal or other dental treatment before a final crown can be placed. Once he understands what needs to be done, he will inform the patient of whether they would be better off with a dental crown or dental bridge. Then, he’ll explain the procedure in detail, share before and after pictures, and answer any questions the patient may have.
Preparing for Dental Crowns and Bridges
Patients who are planning to receive dental crowns and bridges for cosmetic reasons are encouraged to consider teeth whitening. At Bliss Dental, we offer professional teeth whitening to help patients achieve a whiter, brighter, and more beautiful smile. We suggest this procedure first because the material that crowns and bridges are comprised of are both stain and bleach resistant. Therefore, if the final crown or bridge is created to match yellow teeth, it will stay yellow even if a patient chooses to have their teeth whitened at a later date.
By undergoing teeth whitening first, a patient can ensure their new crown or bridge will be made to match their white teeth. In addition to teeth whitening, Dr. Gaertner recommends that patients take a day off work as teeth can be sensitive and it’s best to relax rather than having to worry about meeting with clients or collaborating with co-workers.
How Dental Crowns and Bridges are Placed
Dental crowns are usually completed in just two visits. The process will begin with Dr. Gaertner reshaping the patient’s tooth so that it can properly accommodate the crown. Then, he’ll have a lab make a custom crown that will match the patient’s smile and function as a natural tooth. To ensure the patient stays comfortable while their final crown is being created, they’ll receive a temporary crown over the prepared tooth. Dr. Gaertner will remove the temporary crown and replace it with a final crown once it’s ready.
The dental bridge process involves Dr. Gaertner making adjustments to a patient’s existing teeth so that the bridge can fit perfectly. As with single crowns, he’ll create a custom mold to form the bridge and provide a temporary bridge in the meantime. The temporary bridge will be replaced with a final bridge once the dental laboratory is able to create crowns that make up the bridge.
At our dental office in South Florida, we use sedation dentistry when placing crowns and bridges to ensure optimal patient comfort.
Recovering From a Dental Crown and Bridge Procedure
After receiving dental crowns or bridges, most patients experience sensitive teeth. This is why they are required to wear a temporary crown or bridge over their prepared tooth while the dental laboratory creates crowns for their final restoration procedure. Patients may relieve any discomfort they experience after undergoing a restorative procedure with oral pain medication and rest.
Caring for Crowns and Bridges
Once a crown or bridge has been placed, it becomes a permanent fixture in a patient’s mouth. Although crowns and bridges do not decay like natural teeth, they are still prone to plaque and tartar buildup, which may lead to bad breath, hinder other teeth, and cause gum disease. Therefore, it’s imperative that patients properly care for their crowns and bridges like any natural tooth.
Dr. Gaertner recommends that patients brush their teeth, including their crowns and bridges, twice a day and floss daily. Doing so will keep the teeth in good shape and reduce the risk of plaque and tartar buildup. He also suggests that patients continue to visit Bliss Dental in Miami, FL for regular exams and professional cleanings. This way, he’ll be able to check the condition of their crown or bridge and ensure that it’s in optimal condition and fitting as it should.
While crowns and bridges are durable and long-lasting, there is a small possibility that a patient will break their dental crown or bridge. If they damage their restorative dental treatment, we encourage them to contact our office right away. Fortunately, we offer same-day emergency appointments and can almost always resolve the issue quickly.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowns and Bridges
Restorative dentistry is a term that dentists use to explain how they replace damaged or missing teeth. While dental crowns and dental bridges are two of the most popular restorative procedures, fillings and implants are also widely performed. The main goal of restorative dentistry is to help patients bring back their beautiful smile and prevent oral health issues down the road.
A crown is used to restore an existing tooth back to its natural appearance. A bridge, however, uses surrounding teeth to help fill the gap of a missing tooth. Bridges are different than dentures because they are fixed prosthetics. If issues arise or additional treatments are necessary, only a dentist will be able to remove them.
If you take good care of your teeth, you can expect your crowns and bridges to last between 5 and 15 years. When you’re in need of a new crown or bridge, you can count on our dental office to help.
While dental crowns are designed to be durable and to function like natural teeth, we encourage patients to use common sense. Refrain from biting down directly on hard candy, nuts, and other hard foods. Doing so may require a replacement crown from the dental laboratory and damage underlying healthy tooth structure.
Thanks to modern technology and materials, dental crowns and bridges are more discreet today than ever before. The porcelain we use in our crowns and bridges will look and feel like your natural teeth. Dr. Gaertner guarantees proper placement that will ensure your dental restoration blends in seamlessly with your natural teeth.
If you believe your crowns are worn or damaged, visit our office so Dr. Gaertner can determine whether you can benefit from a replacement. He may find that your crowns were made with older materials and aren’t as natural-looking as they could be. If this is the case, he’ll likely suggest replacing them.
While dental crowns themselves cannot get cavities, the teeth underneath them can. For this reason, Dr. Gaertner encourages excellent oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing around the area where the crown meets the tooth.
How do crowns differ from dental fillings?
Fillings are used to fill cavities so that the teeth are not exposed to infection, bacteria, food particles, and further decay. In the event that a cavity compromises the strength of a tooth, we may suggest a root canal and a dental crown. Dental crowns completely cover the teeth and are ideal for providing them with stability and support.
Will I face eating challenges with a bridge?
Eating should be easier with a dental bridge as your ability to chew will be increased. We recommend taking small bites of soft food at first so you can transition to the feel of your new tooth.
How does a dental bridge affect speech?
It may take some time to adjust to speaking with your bridge. Although you may find it challenging to pronounce certain words at first, your speech should improve over time as your teeth and tongue work together and make it easier for you to articulate.
Are dental crowns and bridges expensive?
At Bliss Dental, we believe that finances shouldn’t get in the way of a patient’s oral health. Therefore, we are committed to working with each and every patient to make paying for a crown or bridge easy and convenient. We offer flexible payment plans that are sure to align with your budget and lifestyle needs. In addition, some insurance plans may help make a crown or bridge more cost-effective.
Why Choose Bliss Dental
Bliss Dental specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. When you come to our office for a dental crown and bridge, you can expect us to listen to your preferences and identify the best way to help you meet your aesthetic goals while ensuring optimal oral health.
Dr. Gaertner takes great pride in creating a fun and welcoming environment that makes you feel relaxed while you’re in the dentist’s chair. He will be there for you throughout every stage of the crown and bridge process and guarantees the highest quality service.
Contact Bliss Dental for More Information About Dental Crowns and Bridges
If you’re wondering whether you’re a good candidate for dental crowns or bridges, it is in your best interest to reach out to our office today to schedule a consultation at our South Florida office. Call us at (305) 274-6500 or fill out our convenient online contact form.