Crowns & Bridges

close up of bridge

Dental crowns and bridges are two types of dental prosthesis that are used to restore damaged, decayed, or missing teeth. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over the top of a natural tooth whose structure has been affected by damage or decay. Dental crowns are adhered over the affected tooth in order to protect it from further damage or decay. Dental bridges are composed of two dental crowns and one or more fake teeth. These fake teeth are also known as “pontics” and are used to fill in the gaps left behind by missing teeth. Dental bridges restore proper eating and speaking functions, as well as ensure that the surrounding teeth remain in their proper position. 

Did You Know?

Dental crowns and bridges have been around for thousands of years. While the first evidence of dental prosthesis were found in Ancient Italian remains, dental technology has come a long way since then to bring us the modern dental prosthesis we use today. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need a dental crown or bridge?

You may need a dental crown or bridge if you have one or more teeth that are damaged,  decayed, or missing. Dental crowns are generally used in cases where the damage or decay is significant and cannot adequately be restored with a dental filling, inlay, or onlay. In some cases, dental crowns are also used for cosmetic purposes such as correcting unevenly sized, oddly shaped, or discolored teeth. Dental crowns can also be needed when a dental implant is placed. 

Dental bridges are needed when there is one or more missing teeth surrounded by healthy teeth on either side of the gap. In addition to restoring function, dental bridges can also be needed to improve the appearance of your smile by eliminating the gaps left by missing teeth. 

What are the different types of dental crowns?

Although the structure of all dental crowns is the same, they can be made from a variety of dental materials including: stainless steel, metal, porcelain fused to metal (PFM), porcelain, and resin. In most cases, stainless steel dental crowns are used for children or as a temporary crown. Metal, PFM, porcelain, and resin crows are used for permanent dental crowns. Each dental material has its pros and cons, so you will need to discuss your options with your Long Beach dentist to find the best dental crown for your dental needs. 

What are the different types of dental bridges?

While dental bridges can also be made from different dental materials, they are differentiated by their structure. With that being said, there are four types of dental bridges including: 

Traditional: composed of one or more pontics with a dental crown placed over natural teeth on either side for support. Traditional dental bridge

Maryland Bonded: composed of one or more pontics with a metal framework that wraps around the back of the surrounding teeth on either side. Maryland Bonded bridge

Cantilever: composed of a pontic and a single dental crown placed only on one side of the gap. Since there is only support from one side, this type of dental bridge is rarely used. Cantilever Bridge

Implant-supported: composed of one or more pontics with an implant-supported dental crown on either side. implant-supported bridge

How are dental crowns and bridges placed?

Dental crowns and bridges are placed over two dental appointments. During the first dental appointment, the affected teeth will need to be prepared for the crown or bridge. To prepare the teeth, you will first be anesthetized to keep you comfortable. Then your Long Beach dentist will remove the decayed or damaged tissue before reshaping the remaining tooth structure to accommodate a dental crown. This step is essential for both a dental crown and a dental bridge, however if you are having a dental bridge placed, it will need to be repeated on two teeth. 

Preparing a tooth for a dental crowns

Once the teeth have been properly prepared, a dental impression or oral scan will be taken to obtain the information necessary to fabricate the restoration. This information is then sent to a dental laboratory so they can make a customized crown or bridge. In the meantime, a temporary crown or bridge is placed to protect the affected teeth. 

During the second dental appointment, the temporary restoration will be removed and the final restoration will be inserted. Your Long Beach dentist will then evaluate the fit and make minor adjustments as necessary. Once you are both satisfied with the results, the final dental crown or bridge will be cemented in place. 

However, Spring Dental Group uses CAD/CAM technology in order to 3-D scan your mouth and fabricate you a custom crown in as little as one dental appointment. This means that you will not have to undergo gooey dental impressions and you will spend less time at the dentist’s office. 

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Dr. Stephen Clark graduated from Northwestern Dental School in 1969 and earned his California Dental License in 1970. During his over 50 years serving the Long Beach area, he has provided effective dental care to many citizens.