Crowns & Bridges

Just because you have a crown doesn’t mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease.

What is a crown?

A crown is a cap that’s cemented over the entire tooth from the chewing surface down to the gumline. Dentists use crowns for a variety of reasons, including:

  • to protect or restore a tooth that is cracked or weakened by decay
  • to cover a discolored or misshapen tooth
  • to cover a dental implant
  • to hold a dental bridge in place
  • to cover a tooth that has had a root canal

What are they made of?

Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and are meant to last for a couple of weeks until the permanent crown is ready. Permanent crowns can be made of all metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin or all ceramic and are designed to last from 5 to 15 years or more with good care.

Porcelain is most often used on front teeth because it appears the most natural. If you need a tooth-colored crown with extra strength, the porcelain might be fused over metal. Gold crowns are stronger and less vulnerable to chipping than porcelain, so they’re sometimes used for molars or back teeth.

Much like crowns, bridges are made of a long-lasting, durable material that can be color-matched to blend in with your surrounding natural teeth. A bridge is used to fill a gap where a tooth is missing, restoring your ability to eat and speak properly. The bridge is attached to the two teeth surrounding the missing space. It can also prevent your surrounding teeth from shifting and moving out of their proper position. Overall, your oral health can be improved, and the appearance of your smile can be enhanced with a dental bridge. They can often serve as durable, effective alternatives for patients who may not be candidates for dental implants.

What’s the best way to care for them?

Because temporary crowns are secured with a removable cement, be especially careful when flossing. Sliding the floss out rather than lifting it out from between the teeth is recommended.

The Sonicare toothbrush is a great way to care for crowns and bridges as well as all your other teeth. Sonicare’s dynamic cleaning action helps remove plaque along the gumline where the crown and gum meet. It’s also proven to reduce gingivitis, be safe and gentle on restorative materials* and improve overall gum health in only two weeks.**

*De Jager M, Nelson R, Schmitt P, Moore M, Putt MS, Kunzelmann KH, Nyamaa I, Garcia-Godoy F, Garcia-Godoy C. Comp Cont Educ Dent 2007; 28.
**Holt J, Sturm D, Master A, Jenkins W, Schmitt P, Hefti A. Comp Cont Educ Dent. 2007;28(9):35-41.