A crown is generally accepted as the best option to help restore the function of a tooth that has had a substancial loss in structure. A crown is a restoration that covers the entire surface of the tooth. A small layer of tooth is taken off the outer surface of the tooth and a crown is then custom made in a lab to fit over top of the remaining tooth structure. Crowns can be fabricated from a number of different materials which offer different aesthetic and functional properties. The most common materials used to make a crown are gold and porcelin. As a general rule of thumb, gold crowns offer great functionality and durability, while porcelain crowns offer better aesthetic results. If a crown is recommeded for your situation we will a recommend the material we think would best suit your needs and answer any questions you have.
Crowns are recommended in a lot of situations. Generally, cracked or broken teeth that have history of numerous or large fillings are best treated with a crown. Crowns are also indicated for teeth in the back of the mouth (molars and pre-molars) that have had root canal treatment. Root canal treated teeth become more brittle and research has shown that once covered with a crown, they can have a much longer life span than if left with a simple filling over top. Other situations include cracked teeth that are painful to chew on, stained teeth, teeth that have lost their enamel, to close spaces in between teeth, or too change the shape of a tooth. These latter situations are generally more elective procedures however and we will be happy to discuss all treatment options with you.
Tooth loss can happen for any number of reasons and several different options exist for replacement. A bridge is one option that can provide a quality aesthetic outcome over a short time frame and will be fixed permanently into the patient's mouth. Generally, the teeth next to the missing tooth site will be prepared as if it were to be a new crown but in this situation the crowns are bridged by the replacement for the missing tooth.
Patients who would benefit from a bridge restoration always need good periodontal (gum and bone) support from the teeth adjacent to the missing site. They will share the load of the missing tooth/teeth so it is imperative they are in good health and solidly in the surrounding bone. Other factors need consideration and all options will be discussed when addressing a missing tooth.