Cleaning your teeth routinely and filling them can save your teeth from chipping, cracking, or decaying. However, at some point, your teeth can enter the "beyond repair" stage, needing an advanced treatment approach. One of the ways to treat your teeth at this stage is through crowns and bridges.

The use of crowns and bridges helps restore your smile, and your teeth regain their alignment and functionality. However, patients must opt for a trustworthy and reputed dentist to fix their teeth. If you are looking for a reputable dental office that offers dental crowns and bridges in Lomita, CA, you should immediately set an appointment with Washington Dental today.

Overview of Crowns and Bridges

Crowns and bridges are fixed dental restorative devices used in restorative dentistry. They are non-removable, unlike dentures, which you can take regularly and clean. Crowns and bridges are cemented on your teeth or your implants. Dentists can only remove them.

A dental crown works as a cap covering an individual's decayed or damaged tooth or placed on an implant to replace a missing tooth. Dental implants are surgically placed metal fixtures that are fastened to the jawbone. These metals anchor to your jawbone through a process known as osseointegration.

Subsequently, bridges are dental fixtures that replace missing teeth. They consist of two crowns used to replace the missing tooth and fuse with an existing tooth on one side. Dentists usually cement the crowns to fit them correctly to the bridges.

How Crowns and Bridges Work

Crowns are used to cap damaged, weak or decaying teeth generally help maintain their shape, appearance, and strength. Crowns can also be used to improve your damaged tooth's appearance and shape. A dentist usually recommends the placement of a crown in the following situations:

  • When you want to replace a large filling.
  • Restore a fractured tooth.
  • Covering a dental implant.
  • When you want to attach a bridge.
  • Covering a tooth that has gone through a root canal treatment.
  • Covering poorly shaped or discolored teeth.

On the other hand, your dentist might recommend a bridge if you have one or several missing teeth. Missing teeth leave gaps that can rotate or shift the remaining space, leading to a bad bite. In addition, missing teeth cause a dental imbalance that can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders or gum disease.

People use bridges to replace one or several missing teeth. They span at the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges can be cemented to an implant or natural teeth, depending on what you choose. These teeth are referred to as abutments and serve as supports for the bridge. The replacement tooth, known as pontic, is then attached to the crown covering the abutment.

Types of Crowns and Bridges

Dental crowns and bridges vary according to the type of material used and the way they are held. Some of the common types of crowns include the following:

  • Ceramic Crowns: Ceramic crowns are porcelain-based filling, recommended restoring the front teeth due to their natural color blending. A dentist who recommends ceramic crowns must remove some of the tooth structure to attach it to the tooth. The material is resistant to wear but can brittle when subjected to heavy biting.
  • Porcelain Crowns: Porcelain crowns are fused with metal. Porcelain is connected to the outer part of the metal to give it a good seal and enhance the strength of your teeth. Your dentist might also need to remove part of your teeth to install this crown.
  • Alloy Crowns: Modern crowns are made of different metals like gold, silver, and platinum. As a result, they are more resistant to wear and fracture, and the material is bio-compatible.
  • Base Metal Alloy Crowns: Base metal alloy crowns are crowns made out of non-noble metals. They are known for their corrosion resistance and require less removal of the healthy enamel when they're being placed.

When it comes to the types of dental bridges available, you can choose from three main types. These bridges are as follows:

  • Traditional Bridge: Traditional fixed bridges are the most common types of bridges. They have teeth on either side of the crown that is covered with crowns. A false bridge is then attached to these crowns.
  • Resin-Bonded Dental Bridges: The resin-bonded bridges are commonly used for the front teeth. They are suitable when the supporting teeth don’t have large fillings and are healthy. The pontic is then fused to metal bands and attached to the supporting teeth using a resin. Resin-bonded bridges are suitable for reducing the amount of time used in preparing the adjacent teeth.
  • Cantilever Bridges: Cantilever bridges are suitable for areas in your mouth under less stress, like the front teeth. They are used in supporting the false teeth on one side on one or several natural teeth.

Signs that You Need Dental Crowns and Bridges

Nobody hopes to have their teeth damaged or infected. Unfortunately, our teeth are vulnerable to many types of damage. Most people don't realize when they need to get dental crowns and bridges. Below are common signs that would help you know that you need dental crowns and bridges.

You've Had a Root Canal

In a root canal treatment, dentists usually drill your tooth to remove all the decay. The drilling process is necessary but ends up leaving your tooth's structure weak. Weak teeth can easily fracture, especially the back teeth, which do most of the chewing. The most suitable way to protect your weak teeth is by covering them with a crown. In this process, the dentist must apply to fill in to support your crown.

You have a Severe Cavity

A crown is usually better than a filling for those with severe cavities. This is because a tooth with a severe cavity doesn't have enough tooth structure for the filling. So instead, a crown would work. The advantage of a crown is that it offers better protection than filling.

You Have a Fractured or Broken Tooth

If you have incurred an injury on your tooth and are experiencing excessive tooth pain, there are chances that you’ve broken your tooth. It’s also possible that you’ve fractured your teeth in multiple areas. A crown for your tooth will be the best option in this situation since it helps support and strengthen the damaged teeth. It will also keep your broken teeth together.

You have a Stained or Misshaped Tooth

If your teeth are severely misshapen or stained, a crown would be the best way to handle this problem. The crown will strengthen your tooth and improve its appearance as well.

You Need a Bridge

A dentist might use a bridge to fill in a gap from a missing tooth. However, dentists usually prefer crowns to anchor bridges. The crowns will be placed on the tooth or teeth on either side of the gap. Attaching the bridge into crowns enhances their strength and provides strong support.

Your tooth is weak

Several factors can weaken your teeth. A weak tooth can result from a large filling, loss of enamel, decay, or injury. If you have a weak tooth, your dentist might suggest using a crown to protect and strengthen it. This will enable you to eat and brush your teeth without worrying about any pain or damaging your teeth.

You've Suffered from Bruxism

Bruxism or teeth grinding is a habit of grinding your teeth. Bruxism occurs due to anxiety and usually occurs during the night. If you've been suffering from bruxism and probably received treatment for it, you can use a crown to fix your worn-out teeth. A crown on the damaged teeth will help regain their original appearance. 

The Procedure of Getting Crowns and Bridges

Dental crown and bridge procedures are different. It's recommendable to learn about them to ensure that the whole process is effectively handled and achieves its outcomes. Below is a detailed procedure for getting crowns and bridges.

Dental Crown Procedure

The procedure for a dental crown depends on whether your dentist opts for a multi-day or same-day process. In a multi-day process, you will have to visit your dentist twice. You should expect the following during these visits:

  • The dentist will examine and prepare the tooth that needs the crown. This might include taking an X-ray of the tooth and taking a mold of the tooth or your mouth.
  • The dentist will file and remove all the tooth's outer layer.
  • He will then will make an impression of your trimmed tooth and its surrounding teeth.
  • A temporary crown is placed over the tooth to protect it.
  • The impression will be sent to the laboratory to make the crown. This might take several weeks, depending on the tasks that the laboratory has to handle.
  • You'll return for a second visit once the crown comes in so that your dentist can cement the crown to your tooth.

In a same-day procedure, the dentist will skip the temporary crown step. Therefore, you should expect the following to take place:

  • Your dentist will take a digital picture of your mouth.
  • He will then use the digital scans from the photos to create a crown in the office, which will take one to two hours to complete.
  • Finally, the dentist will cement the crown when it's ready.

 A same-day procedure will take about two to four hours to be completed. You might even head back to work while you're waiting for the crown to be made.

Please note, not all dentists have the technology to guarantee a same-day crown. Therefore, ask your dentist whether this option is available and its estimated costs to make the right plans. 

Dental Bridge Procedure

A dental bridge procedure differs depending on the type of bridge that you expect to have. The following is an outline of how a dentist will carry out a dental bridge procedure.

  1. Dental Assessment

Your dentist will start by assessing whether the use of crowns and bridges is suitable for the replacement of your missing teeth. They will then examine your dental structure physically and take an X-ray of your jaw to have a complete understanding of your dental problem. Your dentist will then discuss all potential options related to your treatment, including the design and type of bridge that you need. This will help you understand the pros and cons of every alternative.

  1. First Appointment: Preparation of the Teeth and Placement of the Temporary Bridge

Almost every bridge rests on healthy teeth. Therefore, your dentist must prepare your teeth to place the dental bridge. In addition, your dentist will use local anesthesia to guarantee your comfort during the procedure.

The dentist will start by filing the supporting teeth into the appropriate shape that would support the bridge. They will then make an impression of the prepared teeth and send them to the laboratory for the bridge construction. Technicians in the laboratory will work hard to ensure that the prosthetic matches your natural teeth. That’s why your dentist must provide a sample color at this stage.

Your dentist might decide to use dental implants to support the bridge, especially if the supporting teeth aren’t strong enough. You might also be fitted with a temporary bridge made out of the filling material. The temporary bridge helps in protecting the prepared teeth while the permanent one is being made.

  1. Second Appointment: Placement of the Permanent Bridge

Your second appointment might take immediately after the permanent bridge is made. Your dentist will once again apply local anesthesia at the onset of the appointment to enhance your comfort. The temporary bridge is removed, and the prepared teeth are cleaned before the permanent one is placed. Your dentist will then fix the bridge onto the supporting teeth using dental cement.

You should start feeling the experience of biting down using your natural teeth as you gently bite using your permanent bridge. The feeling might be unfamiliar at the beginning, but the filling will wear off. Your dentist might make a few adjustments to fit the bridges if you feel excessively uncomfortable.

  1. Follow-ups

It's recommended to make follow-ups after your dental bridge to monitor the bridge and ensure that you understand how to take care of your new bridges. In this case, your dentist will explain how you should take care of your dental bridges. If you follow these recommendations, the dental bridge will last for as long as ten years.

Potential Risks and Complications, and Their Mitigation Strategies

Dental bridges and crowns have their risks, just like other dental procedures. It's recommendable to learn about these risks to make an informed decision and prepare to prevent these risks. Below are some of the potential complications that you might experience.

Complications Associated with Preparation of Your Mouth

Before your dentist places a dental crown on your tooth, they must prepare to ensure that the crowns fit. Typically, the preparation involves the removal of some enamel and part of your tooth. This is done to avoid having the crowned tooth relatively big than other teeth.

Unfortunately, some complications might arise when the dentist is trimming some enamel. ­­These complications include:

  • Nerve Damage: Having repeated trauma on your teeth can damage its internal tissues. These tissues contain the pulp and nerve tissues.
  • Sensitivity: Your tooth can end up being extremely sensitive after the preparation. The thin enamel increases the risk of your tooth's sensitivity to cold and holds foods, drinks, and air.
  • Punctured Tooth Surface: If you have a weak tooth before its preparation, the preparation process might pierce or damage its surface. The puncture may make the tooth susceptible to future diseases or damages.

You can experience these damages when your tooth has a hidden weakness that your dentist doesn't notice before the treatment. Most people don't experience these issues, but only a few do so. Therefore, knowing these risks earlier can be crucial in preventing them.

  1. Damaging or Detachment of the Crown

Potential complications associated with crowns and bridges don't end during the treatment process. Your crown might damage and even detach itself from the tooth. This is common in sports, falls, or when you chip or fracture the chip material. Detachment is usually common with temporary crowns if subjected to harsh treatment. For instance, the temporary crown might detach itself if you eat sticky or extra hard food. People who suffer from bruxism are also at risk of experiencing this complication.

  1. Bite Issues

Metal crowns are usually thin, but they may still add some thickness to your tooth by increasing their coverage on your tooth after the treatment. You can have an increased thickness even after removing some of the tooth's enamel.

A thick tooth might cause bite issues if it's longer than the adjacent tooth. The biting problem arises when the crowned teeth hit the adjacent teeth when you're closing your mouth or eating. This often leads to sharp pain in your crown when you close your mouth.

  1. Allergic Reactions

Dental crowns are made out of different materials like resin, porcelain, metal alloys, and zirconia. A few people are allergic to some of these materials, especially metal crowns. You might experience a metal allergy if it's not tested during your treatment.

  1. Irritation or Recession of the Gum

A dental crown might irritate a patient's gum or even increase the possibility of gum recession. Gum irritation usually arises when the crown materials terminate above the gum, meaning that it will be rubbing against the gum.

Gum irritation increases the possibility of gum disease, particularly if you don't maintain optimal oral hygiene. In addition, this might make your gum recede away from the tooth, which exposes the tooth's root.

The best way to deal with these complications is relying on an experienced dentist and taking heed of the oral care instructions provided.

Please note, crowns inhibit proper flossing and brushing of your teeth. Therefore, your dentist must give you special instructions to ensure that these care practices are handled effectively.

Follow Up Care for Crowns and Bridges

The procedures that you should follow after the crowns or bridges procedure are different. Below are a set of instructions that you should follow when taking care of your crown and bridges.

After-care Instruction for Your Crowns

The following are after-care instruction for your crowns:

  • Avoid chewing sticky food or gums until your next appointment
  • Don't floss around the temporary filling. You should also brush gently on the temporary filling to avoid loosening it
  • Rinse your teeth and gums with warm water when they are sensitive
  • Call your dentist if the temporary crown is lost. Otherwise, your teeth may shift, and your permanent crown might not fit
  • Brush and floss your permanent crown like your regular teeth
  • Ensure that your dentist assesses your bite in the first forty-eight hours after the permanent crown has been placed

After-Care Instructions for Your Bridges

Most of the after-care instructions for your bridge are similar to those you should observe with your crowns. The special instructions include flossing under the bridge using super floss or floss threaders.

Cost of Getting Crowns and Bridges

Similar to other aspects related to crowns and bridges, their pricing varies based on different variables. Some of the factors that determine their cost include:

  • The number of teeth that need filling
  • Materials used
  • Complexity or difficulty of the placement
  • Additional treatment of other dental issues like gum disease
  • Geographical location

When it comes to the cost of bridges, the prices vary according to the type of bridge that you choose. Traditional and cantilever bridges cost between $2,000 to $5,000, while Maryland costs between $1,500 to $2,500. An implant-supported bridge would cost $5,000 to $15,000.

The cost of dental crowns also varies depending on the types of crowns used. For example, the cost of gold crowns ranges between $600 to $2,500, while porcelain ranges between $800 to $3,000. Likewise, porcelain fused to metal ranges between $500 to $1,500, while zirconia crowns range between $800 to $3,000.

Find a Reliable Dentist Near Me

Crowns and bridges have helped many people restore their confidence in their smiles and themselves, but not all dentists can help you achieve these expectations. Fortunately, Washington Dental in Lomita, CA, is determined to meet your dental restorative needs through bridges and crowns. Please feel free to contact us at 310-326-5183 and set up an appointment with us today.