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Thomas Family Dentistry

Dental Crowns

A crown is a type of dental restoration which completely caps or surrounds a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth. They are typically bonded to the tooth using a dental cement.

 

Procedure

When a full crown restoration is needed, 2 appointments are needed for the entire process. The procedure begins with the removal of all decay in the tooth. Once we have removed the decay, we will take an impression of the tooth. This impression will be sent to our lab where your new restoration will be crafted. For the period of time your new crown is fabricated, we will provide you with a temporary restoration. Our temporary restorations will resemble your natural teeth so that you can continue with your daily life without worrying about a missing or incompatible tooth.  During your second visit to the office, we will proceed with the placement of your final restoration. This crown will be fitted comfortably into the mouth. We will make every effort to ensure that the new tooth feels exactly like one of your natural teeth. The final step in the process is to cement the crown into your mouth, leaving you with a beautifully restored smile.

 

Types of Crowns

Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) is a tooth colored crown with a metal core which makes a PFM many times stronger than an all-ceramic crown. The metal core can be made of many different materials.  Tooth colored porcelain is baked on the outside of the gold.  PFMs are usually indicated on rear teeth that show very little when you smile.  An all-ceramic crown, or porcelain with ceramic substrate, is the most aesthetic of all crowns. There is no metal so translucency is usually excellent. These crowns are usually indicated on front teeth or teeth that are highly visible.  A full gold crown (FGC) is composed of gold and looks gold.  We typically use high noble metal for our gold crowns (about 72% or 18 carat gold, 3.5% platinum.  High noble metal fits better and is much less likely to result in sensitivities.  The primary benefit of a full gold crown is durability.  Other types of crowns include stainless steel (indicated for baby teeth that will be lost), noble metal (less gold and platinum) and base metal crowns.  We would be happy to discuss the different types of crowns upon request.

 

Bridges

A dental bridge is one way to replace a missing tooth by connecting the replacement tooth to the adjacent teeth.  The first step in making a bridge involves preparing the teeth adjacent to the missing space (essentially each adjacent tooth is prepared for a crown).  This involves removing some tooth structure all around the tooth and over the top to make room for the bridge.  A mold of the prepared teeth is taken and sent to the laboratory where the bridge will be made.  The day the teeth are prepared, a temporary bridge is made and placed.  Once the bridge returns from the lab (around 2 weeks) we remove the temporary bridge and cement the final bridge in place.

 

Types of Bridges

Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) is a tooth-colored bridge with high strength.  The metal core makes a PFM many times stronger than an all-ceramic bridge.  The metal core can be made of many different materials.  Tooth colored porcelain is baked on the outside of the gold.  There are many different marginal configurations (the area where the bridge meets the tooth) with a PFM.  An all-ceramic bridge (or porcelain with ceramic substrate) is the most beautiful of all bridges but is not as durable as the other types. There is no metal so translucency is usually excellent (depending on the type of materials used for the all-ceramic bridge).  These bridges are usually indicated on front teeth or teeth that are highly visible.  A full gold bridge is composed of gold and looks gold.  The primary benefit of a full gold bridge is durability.

 

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel.  It is often the material of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and color.  Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a compilation of several thin ceramic layers which replace original tooth enamel, and an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit within the mouth and most accurately restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth.  Light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light.  Porcelain veneers are a very successful option in many situations where the original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours.  It is also a good choice for fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and in some situations where the tooth position is compromised and there are minor bite-related problems.  Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains, and cigarette smoke because they are made of high-tech materials.  With veneers—as opposed to crowns—your natural teeth remain largely intact with only a minimal amount being altered to fit the veneer.  For teeth that resist whitening, veneers can make even the darkest teeth appear bright white.