How Implants, Bridges, and Crowns Can Change Your Smile
Revitalizing Your Smile and Oral Health
When you think about it, our teeth stand up to intense daily wear and tear. They’re designed to grind away for a lifetime, but decay and trauma can take their toll on the health, function, and appearance of your smile. Damaged or missing teeth can make daily tasks, like eating and speaking, difficult and make you self-conscious of your smile, but they can also have a negative impact on your oral health in the long term. Thankfully, if you’re suffering from the effects of damaged teeth, dentists can restore their function and health while giving you a confidence boost by completely revitalizing your smile. Treatments like dental crowns, implants, and bridges are all great ways to repair and renew your smile, but each has slightly different uses and benefits. Here’s how each of these treatments may be able to transform your smile.
Implants are made of a titanium metal rod that’s embedded directly into your jawbone and topped with a crown, bridge, or dentures. This gives them the versatility to fit your treatment needs, whether you’re replacing one or all of your teeth. Implants keep your teeth from shifting into the gap left by your missing tooth and are the only treatment that provides the stimulation to your jawbone that natural tooth roots do. This prevents bone loss and actively encourages the bone to grow around the implant to hold it securely in place. Implants’ deep-rooted stability makes them just as comfortable as natural teeth and allows you to eat hard or tough foods without worrying. Your restorations won’t slip or fall out of your mouth and are durable enough to handle the daily wear and tear that natural teeth do. Additionally, implants are topped with a custom-made porcelain tooth prosthetic, ensuring your smile looks just as natural as it feels.
Implants require you to undergo multiple procedures over the course of several months, but modern anesthetics ensure the procedures themselves are completely painless. To qualify, you must have healthy gums, and you usually need a good amount of bone left in your jaw for the implant to anchor into. Too much bone loss may mean you need a bone graft or that you’re not a good candidate for the treatment. At our office, however, we offer All-on-4 Dental implants, where just four implants hold an entire set of dentures in place; they almost always make bone grafts unnecessary. With good dental hygiene, implants will last you a lifetime, though you’ll need to replace the prosthesis every once in a while. Although getting implants is a long process, they’re the next best thing to keeping your natural teeth; they protect your oral health at a deeper level than other restorations and help you look and feel like you have your natural teeth back.
Bridges consist of one or more pontics, or false teeth, fused together with a crown on either end. The dental crowns are placed on teeth at the edge of the gap in your mouth, so the pontics suspended between them can fill it. When you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth tend to shift into the gap it created, making it harder to keep them clean and healthy. By filling the gap in your smile, bridges keep your teeth from shifting and protect them from future decay. The crowns provide stability for the bridge, making it much easier for you to eat and speak. Additionally, your bridge is designed specifically for you and is carefully matched with the color of your natural teeth to give you a seamless smile.
Once you decide to get a bridge, you can have it placed in about two visits to our office. At the first visit, your teeth will be prepared for crowns, and a temporary bridge will be placed while your permanent one is being made at an outside lab. The second visit is for placing your permanent bridge. Your bridge will last about 15 years if you take care of your oral health through good oral hygiene, including carefully cleaning under your bridge’s pontic daily to keep your gums healthy. Although putting dental crowns on healthy teeth isn’t ideal, bridges are an effective tooth replacement option that provides many of the benefits of implants, including a beautiful smile, at a lower cost.
Dental crowns are pieces of porcelain that are milled into the shape of a tooth and placed over a damaged tooth like a cap. While implants and bridges are both in the business of replacing missing teeth, crowns do the job of saving and protecting your natural teeth—and they’re very good at it. They’re used to restore and protect teeth that have been severely cracked, broken, worn down, or damaged due to decay. Dental crowns are the best way to save as much of your tooth’s natural structure as possible, which helps you avoid the health concerns that missing teeth raise and saves you from more invasive and costly treatments, like tooth extractions and tooth replacement treatments.
Additionally, your crown is milled specifically for you, so you’re able to help choose its size, shape, and color; you can perfectly replicate your damaged tooth or make a few cosmetic changes. Dr. Matz and Dr. Ellingson will use their expertise to ensure your crown will blend in with your natural teeth perfectly. In general, getting a crown takes two visits to your dentist’s office over the span of two or three weeks because the crowns need to be milled in an outside lab. As a result, crowns usually require dentists to prepare your teeth and fit them with a temporary crown during one appointment, wait for your permanent crown to arrive, and then schedule a second appointment to place it.
Same Day Crowns
Thankfully, CEREC’s new technology is making the extra steps in crown placement unnecessary by enabling us to mill your crown directly in our office. CEREC allows Dr. Matz or Dr. Ellingson to digitally scan your teeth and use the resulting 3D model of your mouth to design your crown. They can even look at how much pressure your crown will place on the teeth next to it and make adjustments if necessary. Once your crown is designed, it mills right in our office in under an hour!
Same day crowns are milled from the same porcelain that traditional dental crowns are, so you’ll have a high-quality crown in just a fraction of the time. They’re much more comfortable and convenient for you, as you won’t have to lose valuable hours at work, and you’ll only need to experience the uncomfortable “fat lip” sensation of a numb mouth once. You’ll be able to leave our office after a single appointment with immediate newfound confidence in your revitalized smile.
If you’re hoping to reclaim the function and health of your teeth, as well as your confidence, modern dentistry has a lot of treatments you can choose from, especially as new technology continues to improve upon existing treatments. Each treatment has its own strengths and weaknesses, so feel free to call any time and schedule a consultation with Dr. Matz or Dr. Ellingson to discuss which one will provide the best results for your individual needs.