Porcelain crowns, zirconium crowns, and dental bridges help you retain the look of a natural smile. Residents of Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, and the North Pole enjoy great-looking smiles and the professional service offered by Dr. Yamamoto and his caring staff. He is a top-ranked provider of cosmetic dentistry and an expert in restorative care in Fairbanks, AK.
What Is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are caps that cover the entire tooth and are often made of a hardened material such as porcelain, metal covered in ceramic, zirconium, or high noble gold. Crowns are used to cover and protect teeth that have been damaged or as a restorative or cosmetic fix to improve the patient’s smile. The placement of the tooth (front or back) will often determine the material used for the crown.
Front teeth take mostly all-ceramic crowns because most of the chewing is done by the back teeth. Crowns used for back teeth are often metal crowns covered in ceramic to be durable enough to withstand chewing. Dr. Yamamoto recommends that the crown for the furthest tooth back that needs one be made of high noble gold to help stabilize the bite. This recommendation is especially important for those who grind or brux their teeth in their sleep. Porcelain or zirconium crowns can also be fabricated for the furthest back tooth, but there are drawbacks to doing so.
These options and their advantages and disadvantages are discussed with each patient, and the patient can make an informed decision based on the information.
What Is a Bridge?
A dental bridge is an appliance used to replace a missing tooth. Many patients are not ready for dentures because they still have many of their original teeth and may only be missing one due to extraction. They just need something to keep the remaining teeth stable. For a natural appearance, a false tooth is held in place by two crowns. It is made from the same material and blends perfectly with the rest of the patient’s teeth.
As an experienced dentist, Dr. Brian Yamamoto wants to make sure his patients get the look they want. He uses top-quality materials for long-lasting durability. How the new tooth looks is just as important as how it functions.
Before the Procedure
Every patient is different, and so is the color of their natural teeth—no teeth are white-white. The color of your new crown will be made to match the exact color of your teeth, so if they are yellow and stained, your crown will be as well.
To make sure that the new crown blends perfectly with the rest of your teeth, we recommend having your teeth whitened before the procedure. Dr. Yamamoto offers this service, and it is quick and easy. Because your crown is made specifically to match your current tooth color, it cannot be changed later. The crown is stain-resistant and cannot be bleached with tooth whitening, so it is important to have this done before your new crown is made.
Dr. Yamamoto prefers patients bleach in the convenience of their homes. He will make a bleaching tray and given the patient directions to ensure that sensitivity is kept to a minimum. When the patient is satisfied with the whiteness, he/she can stop the bleaching and maintain the whiteness with a periodic application of the bleaching material.
The Process of Placing Crowns
Cosmetic dentistry is the process of restoring a healthy-looking smile with the help of crowns and dental bridges. The process is done quickly and with as little discomfort to the patient as possible. For our apprehensive patients, we can pre-medicate to relax the patient. In this case, it will be necessary to have someone drive the patient to and from their dental appointment. The medication that we use for apprehensive patients has the benefit of an amnesic effect so that the patient doesn’t experience any unpleasant memories of the procedure.
An impression is taken of the teeth at the beginning so that the crown or bridge can be constructed later at the lab. When the crown is placed, some of the old tooth will need to be prepared and cleaned so that the crown covers it completely. A temporary crown will be placed over the patient’s tooth and anchored with dissolving glue. The temporary crown will last for about three to eight weeks, at which time your new permanent crown should be ready to take its place.
You are advised to be very cautious and not brush or floss the temporary crown too vigorously because the glue may not stick as well. You can eat and brush as normal; just be careful and do not overdo it. You don’t want the temporary crown coming off before the permanent crown is ready. We recommend that you avoid chewing on the temporary crown during the time that you are waiting for the permanent crown.
When your permanent crown has been created and finished by the lab, you will make another appointment with our office in Fairbanks to have the new crown set and bonded. The process is very similar to placing the temporary crown, but the bonding will be permanent to ensure a proper fit and stability.
That’s it—your new crown is finished! If you are getting a bridge placed, the procedure is pretty much the same. The crown filling in for the missing tooth will look just like a regular tooth and will be bonded to the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth to create a strong base of support. Our Fairbanks patients love having this option as opposed to resorting to dentures.
After the Procedure
After any cosmetic or restorative procedure, your teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold foods or beverages for a short time. You may also experience some mild discomfort, but it is only temporary and can be easily relieved with any over-the-counter pain medicine. You will not experience any pain during the procedure because we use sedation dentistry to ensure that our patients are calm and relaxed before their procedure.
A crown or bridge restores the functionality of your mouth and protects your teeth from further damage, which is one of the benefits of getting a crown instead of opting to leave the tooth untreated. You still retain a beautiful smile, and no further damage can occur while the crown is in place. This option is great for sensitive teeth that have lost much of their natural enamel due to tooth decay. You will be able to eat and drink pain-free again!
Likewise, depending on its location, a missing tooth can make chewing difficult, and it can pull surrounding teeth out of alignment as they try to fill in the gap. A dental bridge fixes that problem by replacing the missing tooth and stabilizing the surrounding teeth. There is no need to worry about it becoming loose or falling out. It looks and feels just like a natural tooth and doesn’t require any maintenance other than the regular cleaning and brushing you do already.
Frequently Asked Questions About Crowns and Bridges
What are the benefits of a crown?
Dr. Yamamoto may suggest a dental crown for a number of reasons, including
What are the benefits of a dental bridge?
A dental bridge can restore your smile and bridge the gap when you have one or more missing teeth. Dentures are a last resort and only used when no other treatment will work for the patient. It is better to keep the functionality of your natural teeth whenever possible. Bridges make it possible to continue to eat the foods you love without worrying about anything coming loose.
If you would like to find out if a crown or bridge would work for you, contact us today!