Crowns & Bridgework

Dental Crowns and Bridgework.Dentistry is an art as well as a science; dental crowns offer a perfect example of this. A dental crown or “cap” is a covering that fits over a damaged, decayed or unattractive tooth. It can even replace a tooth entirely as part of dental bridgework.

A crown completely covers a tooth above the gum line. This is in contrast to a dental veneer, which only covers a tooth's front surface and needs natural tooth structure to support it. Therefore, if a tooth is missing a significant amount of structure above the gum line, a crown would be the restoration of choice.

Crowns strengthen damaged teeth, allowing them to function normally again. When crafted from today's high-tech porcelains (dental ceramics), crowns are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They can even be designed to improve upon a tooth's original appearance.

There are other materials besides porcelain that we can use to make dental crowns, depending on what qualities are most important. For durability, cast gold can't be beat. However, this is not always the most aesthetic choice — especially towards the front of the mouth. Other possibilities include porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFM), which have a metal interior for strength and a porcelain exterior for a more natural appearance, and all-porcelain crowns with zirconia, representing the strongest ceramic. We would be happy to discuss the pros and cons of these various options with you.

Crowning or Capping a Tooth

Dental Crowns - Step by Step.Crowning or capping a tooth will usually take two to three visits. At the first visit, your tooth is prepared to receive its new crown. First, it is shaped to fit inside the new covering. This will involve some drilling to give the tooth a uniform shape. The tooth and the surrounding area will be numbed beforehand. If there is very little tooth structure left to begin with, the tooth may have to be built up with filling material, rather than filed down, to support the crown.

After the tooth is prepared, impressions of your teeth are taken, either digitally or with reliable, putty-like impression materials, and sent to the dental laboratory. There, the impressions will be used to make models of your teeth for the creation of a crown. The models will serve as guides to the highly skilled lab technicians, who will ensure that your new crown is designed to enhance your smile and function well within your bite.

Before you leave the office, a temporary crown will be attached to your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready. At the second visit, your permanent crown will be attached to your tooth with either a resin that hardens when exposed to a special light source, or a type of permanent cement.

Creating a Bridge

Dental Bridgework - Step by Step.Crowns can also be used to create a lifelike replacement for a missing tooth. This is done with bridgework, which spans the space of the missing tooth and requires at least three crowns. Two of those crowns will be placed over healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth; these healthy teeth are referred to as abutment teeth. The two crowned abutment teeth become supports for a third crown placed in between them; that third crown is referred to as a pontic. If more than one tooth is missing, more crowns will be needed to bridge the gap in between the abutment teeth.

The number of abutment teeth necessary to replace missing teeth is influenced by the number of missing teeth, the size and length of the abutment tooth roots, the amount of bone support each abutment tooth has, as well as where in the mouth the missing tooth is located. For example, if you have three missing teeth, four abutment teeth may be necessary, thereby creating a seven-tooth bridge. Engineering and designing of the bridge requires an understanding of how to replace teeth, as well as the biology of the supporting gum and bone tissue.

Caring for Your Crowns & Bridgework

Crowns and bridgework require the same conscientious care as your natural teeth. Be sure to brush and floss between all of your teeth — restored and natural — every day to reduce the buildup of dental plaque. When you have crowns, it is even more important to maintain your regular schedule of cleanings at the dental office. Avoid using your teeth as tools (to open packages, for example). If you have a grinding habit, wearing a nightguard would be a good idea to protect your teeth and your investment.

Related Articles

Crowns and Veneers - Dear Doctor Magazine

Porcelain Crowns & Veneers Dear Doctor magazine examines two innovative strategies for improving your smile. In many instances, these two restorative techniques can produce nearly identical aesthetic results, even though they are designed differently for handling different structural problems... Read Article

Crowns - Dear Doctor Magazine

Value Of Quality Care Are all crowns created equal? And why are some crowns more expensive than others? Crown fabrication costs depend upon the materials used and the time needed to create them, among other factors. Dear Doctor magazine examines these variables... Read Article

Bridgework - Dear Doctor Magazine

Fixed vs. Removable Bridgework For those patients who have lost all their teeth, but have not lost significant bone, a fixed bridge (permanent non-removable teeth) may be the treatment of choice. For those who have severe bone loss, an implant-supported overdenture offers significant advantages... Read Article

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Lunch Hours: 1:00 - 2:00pm

Monday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

  • "I have been seeing Dr. Pettit and Jeanie for over 15 years and they make going to the dentist a great experience. Even when I moved away from their office, I still make the drive since they are so warm and professional. They are very personable but also efficient and experienced. I highly recommend Dr. Pettit’s office and when my parents moved to Utah, I got them to go there as well."
  • "My husband and I have been going to Dr. Pettit for years. He is very attentive to your needs and concerns. He keeps up with the latest technologies and will thoroughly discuss the treatment plan with you.
    His office is small, which gives it a calm and personable feel. His office staff is friendly and makes us feel like family.
    I honestly don't know what I'd do if I had to find another dentist."
  • "I will start off by saying that I do not like going to the dentist! But going to Dr. Pettit made me change my thoughts and made my experience enjoyable and fun! They have a great environment and a great staff! Jeanie is awesome and fun to work with! They make you feel welcome and make your time there go by quick! I’ll definitely be getting my annual checkups done because of them!"
  • "Amazing dentist and team. Dr. Pettit made sure to meet all my needs regarding being nervous and was happy to answer any questions I had about my procedures. He wants to make all patients feel comfortable which is great. Jeanie, the dental hygienist, is a sweet lady and is happy to help as well. Becky, the office lady, is also very kind and always happy to help with anything she can! Their dental assistant Melissa is also so kind. Great dentist, 100% recommend if you’re a nervous patient or just need a nice dentist office!"