Tooth replacements can help fill the gap in a smile and provide the stability for chewing. A bridge is also known as fake teeth or as pontics. Pontics are commonly made from metal alloys and porcelain, however, some are made out of gold or a combination of other elements. The pontics are adjusted to your smile to ensure comfort, prevent infection, and restore your ability to chew. A bridge is either anchored to one or two adjacent teeth and is secured with dental cement. When a dental cement is put in place, it is best to avoid sugary snacks, foods, and drinks which may weaken the cement. The sugars found in carbohydrates like milk produce bacteria that demineralizes the enamel of healthy teeth and the cement used to hold a bridge in place. When a dental bridge is implanted, your dentist will advise you on the types of foods you want to avoid to prevent demineralization. A dental bridge may have a lifespan of over ten years with regular dental cleaning, however, if you ever wish to proceed with a dental implant, the pontics may be removed by a dentist.

Crowns and bridges are the most common responses to tooth decay. Tooth decay is the result of poor dental hygiene which occurs when we fail to remove plaque that naturally forms on our teeth and along the gumline. When left untreated or unremoved, plaque can cause severe damage to the health of teeth and gingiva (gums). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about sixty-five million people have signs of gum disease, that is nearly fifty percent of men and women over the age of 30. Gum disease weakens the tooth and the area surrounding which means it becomes more difficult to chew food due to irritation caused to the gums and due to the weakening of the tooth. Gum disease can result in the loss of teeth and may have a lasting impact on the structure of the gums.

On the other hand, the plaque with the help of sugary foods weaken the enamel (the outer layer of the teeth) and a cavity or hole begins to form. The CDC reports that in 2016, about 90 percent of adults had a cavity and about a fourth of them had a cavity that was untreated. Cavities and tooth decay are preventable oral health issues; however, it remains a national health concern. When cavities are left untreated just like when plaque is ignored, the problem becomes much greater. Cavities are openings that allow food particles and bacteria to build-up and cause damage to the middle part of the tooth known as the dentin. When the dentin is broken into and the pulp of the tooth is reached, the tooth may become gravely infected. The pulp of the tooth contains nerves and blood cells that give the tooth the ability to feel temperatures. An infected pulp needs to be removed to prevent the bacteria from damaging the roots and causing infection to the surrounding gums.

When a tooth pulp becomes infected, there are two procedures that may take place depending on the circumstances. The first option to consider is a root canal treatment. A dentist will consider a root canal treatment if he or she believes that there is enough tooth left to be saved. When the bacteria enter the pulp and preventative measures are taken in time the root of the tooth can be saved. A root canal treatment allows the removal of a bacteria that has penetrated a healthy tooth. On the other hand, when a cavity is left untreated or when gum disease has severely impacted a tooth, the only option left to treat the infected tooth is to remove it all together. Plaque causes severe tooth decay when left untreated and may affect the health of the tooth down to the roots. In most cases, the gap left behind can be treated with a dental implant or it may be treated with a bridge or crown.

Installing a crown and bridge is an option that benefits many who have lost a tooth. Not everyone wants a dental implant and certain conditions may prevent a dental implant from taking place. To learn the benefits of crowns and bridges over dental implants, you are encouraged to speak with a dentist. A dentist can help provide insight and specifics regarding your unique case. Whatever the case may be, if you want to learn about how to regain your perfect smile, you may contact the Downey Dentist at 562-746-0350. We are ready to provide consultation and digital x-rays to provide the appropriate next steps for your case. Installing crowns and bridges is easy when you work with a trusted dental health care provider.

What are Crowns?

Teeth are bones that over time wear down and are prone to certain health problems like tooth decay. As mentioned earlier, a cavity forms when the enamel is weakened through a process known as demineralization which occurs when bacteria break down foods that contain sugars. Cavities allow the flow of bacteria that attacks the inner portions of the tooth and as a result cause severe infection to the center part of the tooth. The infected tooth may cause irritation and pain until it is treated. Teeth that are badly infected and have undergone a root canal procedure may be treated with a crown. The root canal is a procedure where a dentist uses a drill to remove the pulp and then seals the hollow tooth with a dental filling. The dental filling is temporary and is usually replaced with a crown which serves a more permanent purpose.

To fit a crown, the dentist will file down the outer layer of the tooth otherwise known as the enamel. Enamel that has been removed will not ‘grow back’ which is something you may consider before having a crown placed. In some cases, it may be the only option to save the tooth and in other cases, a dental filling is also appropriate. A dental crown is usually placed in two appointments. The first appointment will allow the dentist to take the exact measurements of the crown which will be achieved using molds. In addition, the dentist will place a temporary crown on the area the tooth that has been filed down. On the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and clean the surrounding area to ensure bacteria is removed before placing the intended permanent crown. The permanent crown will protect the tooth from infection by capping the area that has been drilled.

Crown Materials

Crowns are custom made uniquely for each customer. When visiting a dentist, the size and shape of the tooth will dictate the shape of the crown however, a dentist will allow the patient to choose the type of material for their crown. A crown is commonly made out of metal alloys which are strong against corrosion. The downside to metal-based materials is that the crown will be shiny and will not match the color of the tooth. Nonetheless, if you like shiny gold and silver, then you may proceed with a metal-based crown. On the other hand, patients who want a crown that resembles the color of their teeth may consider a porcelain or ceramic material. Ceramic is usually used on front teeth but may be used on other teeth that are located in other parts of the mouth. Furthermore, a patient may choose a metal-infused porcelain tooth. Porcelain that has been fused with metal will create a much stronger crown than it if were made purely out of porcelain.

Before choosing a crown, it is important to share with your dentist of any sensitivities you may have towards metals. Individuals that are allergic to metals may want to explore some of the non-metal options like ceramic or porcelain.

What is a Bridge?

A bridge is used to cover a gap that has been left by a tooth that has fallen out or has been removed. More common than not, a bridge is made of three connected crowns that are attached to the two adjacent teeth to the gap. Two crowns are placed on the adjacent teeth and the tooth that is left in the middle is left suspended between the two crowns. In other words, for a traditional bridge (usually considered the most stable type of bridge) to be placed, the two adjacent teeth need to be firmly planted. The bridge will be made of the materials mentioned above (metal alloys, gold, silver, ceramic and porcelain). To place the crowns, the teeth that will be used as anchors will be filed down to make room for the crown.

A dental bridge has a variety of functions. First and foremost, it will prevent any food or bacteria from building on the gap. The protection the tooth provides to the gum is essential to prevent a gum disorder. Furthermore, a dental implant will allow the patient to regain their ability to chew food. To eat and process food on our own, we need teeth to break down food particles that can travel down to the stomach to be digested. When our bite has a gap, food is not effectively reduced which may cause other complications. Finally, a bridge allows us to regain some of the confidence we lost while enduring a poor smile. Individuals with a dental bridge will find that they can smile freely and not have to worry about the gap in their teeth. A bridge can help maintain the shape of your face and prevents teeth from shifting from their location.

Does a Bridge Look Good?

A bridge will look good depending on what you consider to be aesthetically pleasing. It is a fashion trend for many rappers and artists to implant gold and yellow teeth. If you are part of the scene, you will find a gold or silver bridge to be of your liking. However, if you are not attracted by the metal looking teeth, then you may want to try a ceramic or porcelain fit. Your specific likings will be considered before a dentist's proceeds with a crown. It is important that you feel comfortable with your crown and bridge which is why we take the time to get to know your perspective. Furthermore, a good-looking bridge may also be defined as a bridge that looks natural. If you are wondering if your bridge will look natural it will depend on a number of things. First, it will depend on the material used to create the crown. Ceramic and porcelain crowns resemble the color of the teeth the most. Additionally, it will depend on whether the ceramic or porcelain crown was made to match the color of the surrounding teeth. A dental care professional will be able to walk through the bridge process to ensure that you are well informed of the options available.

The best way to maintain a healthy smile is to practice daily brushing and flossing. When we remove plaque from our teeth on a daily basis, we prevent the need for a bridge and a crown. In addition, it is recommended to maintain regular visits with a dentist to ensure that plaque and tartar are removed before causing serious damage to your oral health. As a rule, or unless told otherwise, everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. To learn more about crowns and dental bridges, you are invited to schedule a consultation. A consultation will ensure that you receive advice from a certified dentist on the next steps for your situation. Crowns and bridges may not be your only option. Patients have found benefits from dental implants which offer a process that does not require adjacent teeth. A dental implant is a great option for individuals with healthy gums and for those who wish to keep the enamel on their teeth. To speak with a dentist at the Downey Dentist at 562-746-0350.