A bridge is a custom device anchored to adjoining teeth that replaces one or more missing teeth. When a tooth is lost and is replaced with a bridge, the teeth on either side must be prepared as crowns to serve as abutments to hold the replacement teeth in place. Losing a permanent tooth- whether it is due to periodontal (gum) disease, trauma or injury can lead to many serious problems for your neighboring teeth.
Since the chewing forces and support are changed the remaining teeth may begin to shift. The opposing tooth above or below the lost tooth will move out of its socket and accelerate periodontal disease and further break down bone structure. A bridge will restore the natural bite, keep incorrect forces on the remaining teeth from occurring and enhance your smile, speech and function. Different types of fixed bridges are available and these can be discussed with Dr. Bienenfeld.
A crown, sometimes called a "cap", is a tooth-like covering placed over a carefully prepared existing tooth. These crowns are usually fabricated from a substructure of metal or zirconia and covered with porcelain for strength and esthetics. Sometimes we will make crowns from a high gold alloy if esthetics is not a concern and there is a need for extreme strength.
Crowns are usually used when a tooth is fractured or broken, there is no longer sufficient tooth structure to support a filling or when a large portion of the tooth has been damaged by decay. Cracked teeth can occur from many reasons also and can be extremely sensitive to hot or cold and/or chewing. It is important to treat these teeth early so as not to allow nerve death and further necessary treatment. Doing an esthetic crown is an art that combines creativity (artform) with procedural skill to create a beautiful yet totally functional restoration.