Crowns and bridges are tools to repair your smile and help your overall oral health. These tools are used to restore or replace damaged, decayed, or missing teeth. Whether it be for cosmetic reasons or health reasons, we welcome you to visit your dentist in Chattanooga and consult with Drs. Chris and Amber Robertson about your options and dental choices.



by Chris Robertson, DDS

What Is A Crown?

A crown can best be described as a “cap” or a “jacket” that surrounds an existing tooth in order to provide additional support, strength, and protection. A dental crown is used in instances where the tooth or teeth have been damaged but can be salvaged by simply adding a tooth-shaped cover. A crown can also be used in instances where the patient chooses to receive a dental bridge—at this point, a crown is used as a support system along with the implementation of the bridge. Here at Chattanooga Dental Studio, we offer many options for materials we can use to make your crown: porcelain (which we will match as closely as possible to your tooth color), gold, and even Lava® and BruxZir® zirconia crowns.

The dental crown procedure typically takes two appointments to complete. The first appointment will lay the foundation for the insertion of your crown. A small portion of the surface of your tooth will be removed in order to make room for the dental crown. After the small removal is complete, an impression of your tooth will be made and sent to the lab so that a custom-fitted crown will be produced to match the shape, size, and color of your surrounding teeth. Once the impression is made, a temporary crown will be applied to your tooth so that it can be protected during the time that your crown is being manufactured. The second appointment is when your dental crown will be set using a strong bonding agent and then shaped so that it sits comfortably on your original tooth and gum line.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is a prosthetic tooth or set of teeth that has crowns attached at either end. When this framework is applied to your mouth, a prosthetic tooth replaces a missing tooth and the crowns at either end are fitted on the teeth that are neighboring the gap where the missing tooth once was—hence the name “bridge”. A dental bridge can either be permanent or removable. If the dental bridge is permanent, a special strong adhesive will be used to keep the bridge firmly attached. If a dental bridge is removable, it is attached to the neighboring teeth of the gap using special clips.

The dental bridge procedure typically takes two appointments to complete. The first appointment is a very similar process to the first appointment of a dental crown procedure. Since a bridge uses the aide of neighboring teeth, crowns must be made for those teeth. The only additional work that would be done in this instance is, along with the preparations it takes to make the crowns, an impression will also be made of the gap where the missing tooth was, and a tooth mold will be made with the two supporting crowns at the end of it. The second appointment is when your dental bridge will be applied and adjusted for a comfortable fit.

Does The Procedure Hurt?

During the procedure, you will receive an anesthetic. Because of this, you should not feel any discomfort during or right after the procedure. Once the anesthetic wears off, you’ll start to feel sensitivity to cold and hot foods. Our dentist recommends using toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums for a while after the procedure until the pain has lessened or gone away for good. If your pain persists, we ask you to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away to fix any issues that may be occurring. The pain can be caused by a crown or bridge that is loose, broken, not properly cemented down, or a crown or bridgework that is too high up on the gum line.

Do Dental Crowns and Bridges Require Special Care?

These treatments do not require special toothpaste or floss, you can use your normal daily oral hygiene products. Please keep in mind, however, that this treatment was received for a reason. Whether it be because of dental decay or a broken tooth, you do have to take care of your crown and bridge with normal brushing and flossing so that you can avoid any other future issues with the tooth or teeth in question. If you have chosen to be fitted with a removable bridge, they should be taken out in order to clean them, your supporting teeth, and the gums surrounding your supporting teeth.

How Often Do They Need To Be Replaced?

Dental crowns and bridges can last up to 15 years. Normal wear and tear will occur on your dental crown or bridge and, depending on your habits, either one can last as little as five years or as long as 15 years. The habits referred to here are things such as chewing on hard foods or ice, using your dental work to open packages, grinding your teeth in your sleep, etc.

At What Age Can I Get The Procedure?

Dental crowns are usually associated with the elderly because, as we age, there is a lot of wear and tear done on our permanent teeth until one day, we have to opt for a treatment to aid the resistance of our teeth. This does not mean that this procedure is only available to people of advanced age—middle-aged, youth, and even children and able to elect to have this procedure. Accidents that can sometimes lead to a broken tooth can happen to anyone, at any age. If you’re feeling self-conscious about a gap in between your teeth, this is also a moment that one can choose to have the procedure. For children, pediatric dentists have used dental crowns to save the integrity of their teeth because of tooth decay, difficulty with oral hygiene upkeep, or even special needs children whose dental care can be extremely challenging and whose parent would like to take an extra precaution to care for their dental health.

On the other hand, since dental bridges are a replacement for permanent adult teeth that have been lost or damaged, this procedure is done on patients who have already had their adult teeth appear.

Visit Your Chattanooga And Hixson Cosmetic Dentist Today!

Whether you’re in need of crowns and bridges, Invisalign, a specialized team of orthodontics, or even dental Implants, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our warm and friendly dentists. Dental crowns or bridges can feel like a scary step, but not to worry! We’re here to answer any lingering questions or concerns that you may have every step of the way. Feel free to call us at 423.763.1834 today!

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