Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown, also referred to as a cap, is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth, while a bridge is a method to fill the space created by missing teeth. Here’s what you need to know about both restoration options.
Causes of Missing Teeth
When a smile has gaps in it, it can be due to several causes. The American Academy of Prosthodontists explains that tooth decay, gum disease, and injury are common causes of missing teeth. Additionally, congenitally missing teeth, where a person is born without certain teeth, can be common in multiple generations of certain families. The most common missing teeth are wisdom teeth, upper lateral incisors, and second premolars/bicuspids.
Can You Prevent Missing Teeth?
Holes in your smile, in many cases, can be prevented. The American Dental Association explains that the most common reasons for tooth loss can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. However, sometimes tooth loss isn’t easily controlled. Patients who have certain chronic conditions, like heart disease or diabetes, are found to lose more teeth than people who do not have these conditions. Further, certain medications can increase your risk for tooth decay and tooth loss, which is why it’s important your dentist knows any health conditions and medications that you’re currently on.
Bridges for Missing Teeth
If you have a tooth, or teeth, that are missing, your dentist can close the gaps with dental bridges. A dental bridge is a false tooth that is held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. They are usually made from porcelain to blend in with your remaining natural teeth.
A bridge is a method to fill the space created by missing teeth. It’s one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the nearby teeth as support, creating a bridge of sorts. This will functionally and cosmetically restore your smile.
What Causes Damaged Teeth?
Teeth are strong, but they’re still susceptible to damage and injury. Teeth can become damaged because of a number of reasons, such as:
- Pressure from teeth grinding
- Large fillings that weaken the integrity of the tooth
- Chewing or biting hard foods like ice, nuts, or hard candy
- Blows to the mouth when playing sports, falling down, or getting in another kind of accident
- Abrupt changes in temperature in the mouth
What are Crowns?
If you have a tooth that is damaged, but not missing, you may be a candidate for a dental crown. A dental crown is like a hat for your tooth. This cap is placed over the tooth, restoring your tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance. A dental crown can be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Restore the appearance of a tooth that is discolored or misshaped
- Cover and protect a tooth that has had a root canal treatment
The Importance of Restoring Your Smile
If you have damaged or missing teeth, it’s important to restore your smile. Without proper teeth, you can begin to experience changes in how you eat and talk. Overtime, this can also result in your remaining healthy teeth to shift, or become damaged from taking on more work than they’re meant for, making up for the missing or damaged tooth. In addition to restoring your smile, it’s also equally important that you properly care for it. This includes:
- Brushing your teeth as recommended. This includes brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice per day, for two minutes each time.
- Using floss to remove food and plaque from between the teeth. This should be done once per day.
- Visiting your dentist at least twice a year. However, it could be recommended that you have checkups more frequently if you have dental problems or other medical conditions that put you at a higher risk for tooth loss.
Make an Appointment with Niles Family Dentistry
If you have damaged or missing teeth, Dr. Ashley Niles and our team at Niles Family Dentistry want to help you restore your smile. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will give you the best results for your dental health. To learn more about our restorative dentistry options, click here or call us today: (720)-744-0001.