Crown & Bridge

Crowns or caps are used to completely cover a tooth after a fracture or root canal.  Often times a tooth with a large filling is weakened after years of use and can crack causing pain upon chewing or loss of a significant amount of tooth structure.  In order to save the tooth, it will be reduced by approximately 2mm on all sides, enough so a new porcelain crown can be placed over without altering the existing bite.  An impression will be made and a temporary crown will be placed and worn for 3 weeks while the lab manufactures the permanent crown.

There are several choices for crowns.  A gold crown is usually placed on a posterior tooth.  Gold is softer than porcelain and is the best choice for a back tooth where most of the chewing force occurs.  However, many people do not like the look, therefore a porcelain crown can be used, but it must be understood that over time the porcelain may wear and reveal the metal underneath.

In front teeth, there are many options.  Today we have all ceramic crowns and new metals that are completely tooth colored.  These are excellent alternatives to porcelain fused to metal crowns and last just as long.  The typical lifespan of a crown is 10 years.


Bridges are used when a tooth is missing between two other teeth.  Instead of a removable appliance, a bridge is permanently cemented to the teeth.  Just like a crown, the adjacent teeth are prepared so that something can fit over them without altering the bite.  An extra try-in appointment may be required to make sure both teeth were prepared in a parallel manner so that the margins of the crowns fit exactly.  Then the porcelain is placed over the metal and cemented at the next visit.

Bridges are no longer considered the best option when replacing a single missing tooth.  If the adjacent teeth have no or very small fillings, it is contraindicated to remove healthy tooth structure.  In addition, a bridge may last 10 years and is difficult to clean since special floss is required to clean these.  The best alternative is an implant in many cases.  All options should be reviewed by the dentist so you can choose what works best for you.