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Dental crowns restore damaged teeth and improve the appearance of your smile by covering teeth that are stained or uneven.
Having broken or missing teeth can have a serious impact on your self confidence. Our interactions with others often start with a friendly smile. However, this can be tricky to pull off when you’re worried about revealing your smile. It’s no wonder so many people smile with their mouths closed. The good news, though, is that your fate is not sealed. Fortunately, the field of dentistry has several solutions for you, including the use of dental crowns to fill in those gaps.
Dr. Kate Brayman offers several types of dental crowns at her practice, Kate Brayman DDS in New York City.
Contact her office to learn about the advantages of porcelain and zirconium crowns.
Dental crowns are often called caps because they cover, or cap, a damaged tooth. Applying crowns to replace lost teeth or to repair broken ones is very common.
A crown works like a cap that goes over the tooth or the space where the tooth was. A dental crown encases the entire tooth, so it’s a good way to restore its original strength, and since it’s cemented onto the existing tooth or an implant, it functions just like a normal tooth.
It is custom made to fit perfectly into any mouth. At the same time, it can support the structure of the tooth over which the crown is applied. Generally, a crown will cover the entire tooth all the way down to the gum, so that it looks natural and clean. No one will ever notice the difference, and your smile will be a thousand times brighter.
Crowns are often used to repair a cracked tooth or to restore the tooth after extensive decay. They’re often used to cover a tooth that has had a root canal. Crowns are used cosmetically to cover stained teeth. They can also be crafted to improve the appearance of teeth that are misshapen or out of alignment.
Your teeth may seem very strong, but the fact is that teeth break and crack all the time. There could be any number of reasons for this, such as an injury, grinding teeth during sleep or general tooth decay, among other things. Some of these cause your teeth to weaken over time, which leaves them vulnerable to breaking.
After evaluating several factors, including the nature and severity of the crack or break, and the health of the teeth that surround the affected area, Dr. Brayman will decide whether or not a dental crown would be an appropriate treatment to get your smile back to where you want it to be.
In some cases, the dental crown will go over a gap that has been left by a filling that has fallen out or decayed. The cavity left by the filling may be too big to properly fill. As long as the root of the tooth is still intact and in good health, Dr. Brayman will most likely suggest a dental crown as the solution for your damaged tooth.
However, sometimes a dental crown might be needed to replace a missing tooth completely. In these situations, Dr. Brayman may recommend a dental bridge. This can only work if the surrounding teeth are in good enough condition. In this case, a crown is affixed in the empty space by two adjacent crowns that have been applied over the healthy surrounding teeth. To get everything to fit properly, the healthy teeth may need to be filed down, and it may be more appropriate to use a dental implant instead of a bridge.
Whatever the specific requirements, Dr. Brayman will go over all the potential options with you during your consultation.
There are several situations for which a dental crown would be appropriate. One such instance would be a tooth that is weak. In this particular case, when a tooth is weak and more susceptible to breaking, a dental crown can provide a protective cover.
A crown can also work to hold the broken pieces of a tooth together. As mentioned, a crown can also hide and protect a cavity that is either too big to fill or where the filling has cracked or fallen out already. It is also a cosmetic solution for chipped, misshapen, or discolored teeth.
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. Gold crowns consist of gold, copper, and other metals, while other crowns leave out the gold and use a mix of base metal alloys. Metal crowns are strong, long-lasting, and more of the healthy tooth can be retained, but they’re not natural looking. You may want to use metal crowns on teeth in the back of your mouth.
Dr. Brayman often recommends porcelain crowns or Zirconia crowns. Porcelain crowns are durable and resemble natural teeth, so they’re a good choice for front teeth. Crowns made from zirconium also look natural and they’re quite tough. Since they’re able to withstand biting and chewing, they may outlast porcelain crowns.
Installing a crown in your mouth usually requires at least two appointments (at minimum). The first appointment will focus on making sure that the crown will fit and that the teeth and gums are healthy enough to support it. The technician will take several X-rays to check on the health of your gums, how stable the roots are, and to make sure there aren’t any cracks or breaks that have gone unnoticed. If the roots are in poor health, then it may be necessary to perform a root canal to be able to safely install the crown.
During your first visit, you will be given an anesthetic in the area where the crown will be installed. This is so Dr. Brayman can file down the tooth to shape it so that the crown will fit.
Once the teeth are fully reshaped, an impression will be taken. This impression will then be used to create the permanent crown that will go into your mouth. It must be sent off to a lab to make sure that the crown is manufactured exactly to the right specifications. After all of this, a temporary crown will be installed on your teeth, and your first appointment will be over.
The second time you come in for an appointment will be several weeks later when the permanent crown has been created. We will place it on your tooth and make sure that it fits properly. We will also ensure that it does not irritate surrounding teeth. A type of contact cement is then used to put it permanently into place.
As mentioned earlier, getting a dental crown usually takes several visits to the dentist. It’s essential to be sure that all dental problems are fixed before installing a crown, whether you need a dental cleaning, cavity repair, a root canal, or treatment for gum disease.
During your first appointment, the tooth receiving the crown will be prepared, a process that Dr. Brayman and her staff make comfortable by providing painless administration of local anesthesia, without using a long needle.
After making an impression of your teeth, which will be used to make your unique crown, a temporary cover will be placed on your tooth. When the permanent crown is ready, it doesn’t take long for the doctor to cement it into place using a special dental glue, and you’re good to go. Depending on the type of crown you get, it can last a lifetime, as long as you continue to brush and floss twice daily.
A dental bridge is used to replace missing teeth. It is essentially a false tooth that is placed in an empty space between two natural teeth.
With a traditional bridge, the natural teeth on either side are used as the abutment to hold the false tooth in place, provided that they are healthy enough to support it. The process for installing a bridge is similar to a crown. However, with a bridge, the two supporting teeth are also covered with crowns to support the middle crown that covers the empty space.
A dental implant is used when there are no surrounding teeth healthy enough to support a crown or a bridge.
An implant is like a small screw that is placed into the gum. Once an implant is installed in the mouth, the crown or bridge is connected to the implant by an abutment that rests on the “head” of the implant.
Not all implant crowns are the same. In fact, there are two distinct types we can choose for your situation. They both have the same basic structure.
First, there is the implant, which is placed into the gum. It is a small titanium rod that rests in the gum and is attached to the abutment. The abutment is like a metal collar that connects the post implanted in the gum with the crown. The difference between implant types is in how the abutment is attached to the post. It can be connected permanently with cement or with a screw.
With a screw-retained implant, a screw is inserted through the abutment and into the implant. This is a pretty simple process, and it makes things easier for the future.
If the crown needs to be repaired, the screw can be removed without fear of damaging anything else, and it also comes out rather easily.
There is very little risk to this, and most dentists use this technique when they are installing the crown and the implant at the same time.
Cemented crowns come with no such aesthetic concerns. When installed properly, the surface is smooth and even if it is in an area that’s visible while smiling, the crown will simply look like a tooth. There is no screw involved, as the abutment is connected through a type of contact cement on the head of the implant.
The issue with cemented crowns is that if there is a problem, they can be difficult to remove. In fact, in many cases, a dentist has to drill into the crown to get at the abutment and the implant. It is possible to then repair the crown that was drilled through, but it may not look as good as it had before. Cement can also cause inflammation in the gums if there is a reaction of some kind. In some patients it even causes bone loss, so the dentist must be very cautious about who receives cemented crowns.
The decision regarding which type of implant will come down to several factors.
For one, it will depend on the location of the implant. If it is in an area where it will be visible, then a cemented crown might be appropriate. It may also depend on whether the patient is likely to have a negative reaction to the cement, or it might simply be the dentist’s preference.
Make sure that you discuss the options with your dentist, and that you provide your input as well. A crown will be in your mouth for many years, and perhaps even the rest of your life, so make sure that you are certain of the choice of implant.
An implant bridge does not use the surrounding teeth for support. Instead, it is held in place by an implant.
The implant will help to support the bones of the jaw when bone loss may have been part of the issue for the lost tooth in the first place. Using an implant means that no healthy teeth will be affected by the process, and if done correctly will preserve gum health as well.
Implants are a permanent solution, which many patients find preferable. As opposed to a 5 – 15 year solution for traditional bridges.
However, it may be more appropriate to use a traditional bridge in cases where the teeth on either side of the gap are either missing or decaying. In those cases, the adjacent teeth need treatment themselves, and the surrounding gums, roots, and bones may not be healthy enough to support an implant.
One of the best things about crowns and bridges is that they don’t require any changes if you have a good dental hygiene routine.
However, if you do not have a good hygiene routine, then it will be time to start. The tooth under your crown can still decay, and you are still vulnerable to gum disease.
Make sure to brush twice a day, and floss once a day. The place where the crown and gum come together can collect bacteria, so make sure to brush well along that line. Using an antiseptic mouthwash will also help keep the crown and your mouth clean and healthy.
At Kate Brayman DDS, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is list of some of the plans we accept.
Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed. Please note we do not participate with DMO/HMO insurance.