Crowns & Bridges

Crowns

Smiling Patient

Having a crown made requires several steps, and generally two dental visits. Your tooth is prepared by removing the outer portion to accommodate the space needed for the crown. After your tooth is prepared, an impression is taken to reproduce an exact model. This model and the impression are sent to the dental laboratory, where your crown is fabricated. In our office, we make a temporary crown to cover your tooth while your permanent crown is made at the laboratory. When it is ready, we cement your new crown in place.

A crown covers a prepared tooth to restore it to the natural shape, size and function. It can strengthen a tooth that has had a large amount of dental decay and a large dental filling. A crown may be needed in the following situations:

  • after root canal therapy (endodontic treatment)
  • to restore a fractured tooth
  • to protect a weak tooth from breaking
  • to restore a dental implant
  • to cover a discolored or poorly shaped root

Bridges

A bridge is similar to a crown in preparation and steps. Let’s talk about a three-unit bridge, which generally replaces one missing tooth. For a three-unit bridge, a crown is made on each side of the missing tooth. A pontic covers up the missing space and attaches those two crowns together. A pontic is made of the same material as the crowns but attaches only to the neighboring teeth.

Having a bridge made requires several steps, and generally two to three dental visits. Your teeth are prepared by removing the outer portion to accommodate the space needed for the crowns. After your teeth are prepared, impressions are taken to reproduce an exact model. This model and the impression are sent to the dental laboratory, where your bridge is fabricated. In our office, we make a temporary crown to cover your tooth while your permanent crown is made at the laboratory. A second appointment, called a try-in, allows us to make any necessary adjustments to the metal framework or “backbone” of your bridge. Not all dental bridges will require the try-in appointment, but if utilized it will be followed by the third cementation appointment. Once you and Dr. Steckelberg are satisfied, your bridge is cemented in place.

If you have had several dental implants placed, a bridge may also be placed over the implants. The steps are similar to having a traditional bridge made, except that most preparation is done outside the mouth. Implants also require additional healing time after surgical placement.