Taking good care of your teeth is essential for your oral health and general wellbeing. Losing a tooth or more is a major dental problem that many people are experiencing today. It affects your confidence to smile and socialize, your facial appearance, and dental functionality. Fortunately for you, dentists have come up with all kinds of restorative measures that can bring back your look and the functionality of your teeth after tooth loss or damage. Dental crowns and bridges are the ultimate solutions for damaged or missing teeth. Talk to us at Washington Dental in Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance, and Lomita, CA, for more information or if you would like to try this restorative procedure that could bring back your natural smile.

Benefits of Restorative Dentistry

Our teeth are naturally strong and healthy. You can maintain the natural look and feel of your teeth by taking good care of them. You could achieve that by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth and visiting your dentist regularly for general dental checkups and cleaning. However, this does not always happen, and your teeth could become damaged or lost. No one expects their strong and beautiful teeth to become weak, ugly, and severely damaged one day. Some people even lose one or more of their natural teeth to dental problems like decay and periodontitis. When that happens, it could be time to seek the help of an experienced restorative dentist.

Damaged or missing teeth will affect you in so many ways. For instance, you cannot confidently smile if one of your front teeth is damaged or missing. More damaged or missing teeth will make it hard for you to eat, chew or even bite. Thus, you will no longer enjoy the beauty and functionality of your natural teeth. Restorative dentistry procedures are a collection of dental treatments designed to replace or repair damaged teeth. The type of procedure your dentist would recommend will be determined by the nature and severity of the damage.

Crowns and bridges are among the most popular dental restorative procedures today. You might need a crown if one or more of your teeth are severely cracked or decayed and cannot be repaired using composite materials. In that case, your dentist will place a dental crown over the damaged tooth to restore its strength, look, and functionality. On the other hand, a dental bridge is set to replace a missing tooth. Bridges consist of two dental crowns and an artificial tooth. Both crowns and bridges will give you back your teeth’ natural look and feel and restore your confidence once more.

The most significant advantage of restorative dentistry is that it gives you back the functionality of your teeth. Damaged teeth do not function as well as naturally strong teeth. Thus, you may find it difficult to chew or speak appropriately if your teeth are damaged or missing. Crowns and bridges can quickly fix this issue.

Restorative dental procedures can help you avoid the pain associated with damaged or broken teeth. Severely damaged teeth and cavities can be very painful if left untreated. Seeking treatment for damaged teeth is the solution you need for this kind of pain.

Replacing lost or severely damaged teeth is a way to prevent further loss of your jawbone. Once a tooth is lost, the bone holding the tooth in place is slowly lost and could be entirely lost if you fail to replace the tooth immediately.

Lastly, restorative procedures are an excellent way to restore your natural look. Your teeth give you the beautiful facial appearance you enjoy. Once you start losing teeth, you lose that attractive appearance. Restorative dental procedures are the closest way you can restore your natural appearance.

Therefore, if you have started losing teeth or severely damaged teeth that require replacement, it is advisable to get in touch with an experienced dentist right away.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are caps designed to look like a regular tooth. They are placed over damaged teeth to cover the damage and restore the lost shape, strength, appearance, and size of the teeth. Dentists usually cement dental crowns to fully enclose the entire visible part of the tooth above the gum line. Your dentists will recommend a dental crown for various reasons, including:

  • To protect a weak tooth — Your solid and natural teeth can weaken for various reasons, including decay. Once your tooth is severely decayed, it can easily break if it experiences even a little pressure from biting or chewing. If your dentist can restore the tooth, he/she could recommend a dental crown. The crown can also hold together parts of a cracked tooth to restore its strength, appearance, and functionality.
  • To restore a severely worn down or already broken tooth — A competent dentist will not be quick to extract a natural tooth, even when it is visibly broken or worn down. Highly skilled dentists will always find ways to restore the natural tooth. A restored natural tooth is way better than an artificial tooth.
  • To support and cover teeth with large fillings when not much of the natural tooth is left — Once a tooth starts decaying, your dentist could use dental fillings to stop the decay and restore the lost part of the tooth. Additionally, your dentist can include a dental crown to restore the tooth’s appearance, strength, and functionality.
  • To hold dental bridges in place.
  • To cover severely discolored or misshapen teeth
  • To cover dental implants
  • As a cosmetic modification

Your dentist could also recommend a stainless steel dental crown for your child in various circumstances, like:

  • If the child’s primary teeth are severely decayed and may not support a filling
  • To protect the child’s primary tooth at risk of dental decay, especially if the child cannot keep up with regular oral hygiene.
  • In cases where the child requires dental care and cannot undergo general anesthesia because of his/her age, medical history, and behavior.

All kinds of dental crowns are available in California. The most common choices you have are:

  • Stainless steel dental crowns — They are temporarily used to protect permanent teeth as your dentist prepares a more permanent crown for your damaged teeth. They are easy to install, cost-effective, and dentists mostly recommend them for children.
  • Metal crowns — They are solid and long-lasting. However, the metallic color is not always appealing for most people. They are also a little pricey.
  • All-resin crowns — Are more affordable than most dental crowns. But they wear down over time and are quite prone to fractures.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns — They can be designed to look exactly like your teeth, including the color. Many people prefer them as they look exactly like regular teeth. However, the porcelain part of the crown can easily chip or break. The metal beneath the crown can also appear on the gum line as a dark line.

With so many choices available, it is best to talk to an experienced dentist, find out what is available, its advantages and disadvantages, and then make an informed choice.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are for creating a bridge between missing teeth. Bridges consist of dental crowns for teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing teeth and an artificial tooth/teeth in between, depending on the number of missing teeth. The anchoring teeth on either side of the gap are called abutment teeth, and the false teeth, antics.

Dentists can make antics from porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination of any of those materials. Natural teeth or dental implants usually support a dental bridge.

Your dentist could recommend a dental bridge for various reasons, including the following:

To Bring Back Your Beautiful Smile

If you have one or more missing teeth, it must be difficult to smile and enjoy life without worrying about what people would think of you. Most people with missing teeth shy away from social life. It also affects their confidence. Dental bridges could restore your natural smile and bring back your confidence to socialize and do things that you love and enjoy

To Restore The Functionality Of Your Teeth

You may not chew or speak properly when you have more damaged or missing teeth. Dental bridges are helpful in that they restore the functionality of your teeth. Thus, you can speak and chew well, just the same way you did before the loss.

To Restore Your Facial Appearance

Missing teeth affect your facial appearance. Restoring missing teeth could bring back the shape and appearance of your face, thereby boosting your confidence.

To Avoid A Bad Bite

Replacing missing teeth could also help distribute the forces in your bite. It enables you to avoid a bad bite and its related issues.

Also, if missing teeth are not replaced soon enough, the remaining natural teeth might start drifting out of position. It becomes an even more significant problem when you begin to realign them in place. Dental bridges can prevent issues like these.

Just like dental crowns, we have all kinds of dental bridges in California. It helps to speak to an experienced dentist to determine the right choice for you. The most popular dental bridges available today are:

Traditional Bridges

For a traditional bridge, your dentist will create a dental crown for the tooth on either side of the missing tooth and then a pontic in between. They are the most common dental bridges today. They could be made from ceramics or porcelain fused to metal.

Cantilever Dental Bridges

Your dentist could recommend these if you have adjacent teeth on just one side of the missing tooth/teeth.

Resin-bonded Bridge

They are made from porcelain, porcelain infused with metal, gums, and plastic teeth supported by metal or porcelain framework. Porcelain or metal wings on one side of the bridge could be bonded to your existing teeth.

Instances When You Need Dental Crowns and Bridges

Dentists often install dental crowns and bridges at the same time for a complete restorative dental procedure. Here are some of the instances when you might need one or both restorations:

When You Need a Root Canal

As previously mentioned, restorative procedures are usually needed when your teeth become severely damaged or are lost. Sometimes when your teeth are infected or decayed, they might become irreparable. In that case, your dentist will recommend a procedure like a root canal to remove the infected or inflamed pulp and the pain it comes with. After a root canal, your dentist could install a dental crown on the affected tooth to restore its strength and functionality. If the tooth was severely damaged, your dentist could extract it and install a dental bridge in its place.

For Cosmetic Purposes

Your confidence to smile may also be affected by discolored or damaged teeth, not just missing teeth. If your teeth have lost their beautiful natural color, it becomes necessary to have the color restored if you wish to regain your confidence. Your dentist could recommend a ceramic or porcelain dental crown to change the appearance of your natural teeth. If you previously had a dental filling, and the tooth doesn't look natural anymore, your dentist could use a crown to cover it up and give it back its natural look and feel.

When Your Teeth are Breaking

If your tooth/teeth have cracked or been damaged in any other way, they could break. You could lose a significant part of your natural tooth. Your dentist could recommend a dental crown to repair the cracked tooth right before it breaks apart. The crown will restore the structure, strength, and functionality of the damaged tooth. Additionally, the crown will take care of the pain and sensitivity of cracked or damaged teeth.

After Dental Implants

Dental implants are an excellent solution for missing teeth. Once they are installed, your dentist could use a dental crown to cover the top of the implant to restore the look and functionality of the lost tooth. With a crowned dental implant, you can comfortably chew just as you would do with your natural teeth.

Dental crowns are usually a part of the permanent restoration you might need after losing one or more teeth. They can be used together with dental bridges to replace all your lost teeth.

Installation of Dental Crowns and Bridges

If your tooth or teeth are severely damaged or have lost a tooth or two, it may be time to consider dental crowns and/or bridges. Your dentist will recommend one or both, depending on the condition of your teeth. If the tooth/teeth are only damaged and can still be helpful, your dentist will probably recommend dental crowns. But if the teeth are missing already or severely damaged and have to be extracted, your dentist might suggest installing dental bridges.

Installation of dental crowns and bridges starts with two initial visits to the dentist’s office. During the first visit, your dentist will examine your teeth and recommend the most suitable treatment. If you decide on the most preferred procedure for your dental issue during that initial visit, your dentist will prepare the damaged tooth/teeth on the same day.

Dental Crowns

The preparation could be on the affected tooth/teeth, adjacent teeth, and the area where the installation will be done. In the installation of a dental crown, your dentist will begin by preparing the affected tooth. He/she might have to reduce the tooth in size so that the crown will fit correctly. The reshaping could be done under general anesthesia to protect you from the expected pain and discomfort.

Once the tooth is down to the required size, your dentist will make an impression to design the exact mold for the crown. He/she could do this using putty or a paste. Sometimes impressions are made using a digital scanner. Your dentist will also make impressions of the teeth below and above the affected tooth to ensure that the crown will not affect your bite once it is installed. If you have chosen a porcelain crown, your dentist will determine the perfect shade for the crown, depending on the color of your remaining teeth.

With the impression, your dentist will prepare the crown in the lab, using the preferred material for your crown. He/she might have to place a temporary crown on the tooth to cover the already-prepared tooth before the permanent crown is ready. Once the permanent crown is ready, you’ll go back to the dentist’s office on your second visit to have it installed. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent one over the already-prepared tooth/teeth.

Dental Bridges

Installation of dental bridges happens almost the same way. During your first visit to the dentist’s office, your dentist will examine your teeth to recommend the best treatment procedure. Once you agree to have a bridge installed, your dentist will proceed to prepare the abutment teeth. He/she will then contour the abutment teeth to make room for the installation of a dental crown.  Your dentist will then make impressions of these teeth to serve as a model from which a dental bridge, pontic and dental crowns will be made in the lab. He/she will then make a temporary dental bridge that you can wear to protect your exposed teeth and gums before the permanent one is ready.

You’ll be required to come for the second visit, during which your dentist will install the permanent dental bridge. During this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary bridge, and a new metal or porcelain dental bridge will be installed in its place. Your dentist will first check to ensure that the bridge fits perfectly and matches your natural teeth. If not, adjustments will be made before the final installation.

Care after Crown and Bridges Installation

After every dental procedure, proper care is required to ensure that the treated problem does not recur or other dental issues don't emerge.

Therefore, you must maintain proper oral hygiene if you wish to enjoy your dental crowns or bridges and good oral hygiene for a longer time. Proper oral hygiene will include cleaning and flossing your teeth every day. Floss thoroughly around your crown or bridge to avoid decay where the crown and tooth meet.

You might also need to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning. That will keep bacterial infections away and all dental issues that come with it. It will also enable your dentist to spot any dental problems on time before they become painful, complicated, and expensive to treat.

You could also avoid chewy and hard foods like candy and ice, as they can easily damage your crown or bridge.

If they are well-cared for, dental bridges can serve you for up to fifteen years or longer. That will save your time and money and also keep your teeth strong and functional for years.

Dental crowns can last for up to fifteen years as well. But their lifespan depends on the amount of wear and tear the crown is exposed to over the years and how well,m or otherwise, you can maintain good oral hygiene. Additionally, you might have to avoid habits like clenching and grinding teeth, biting fingernails, and chewing ice to avoid damaging your crowns.

But generally, these are highly recommended dental restorative procedures.

Find a Los Angeles Dentist

If your teeth are severely damaged, it is advisable to seek the help of a reliable dentist before they could worsen. The use of a dental crown can restore some damaged teeth. But if your teeth are damaged beyond repair, your dentist can replace them with a dental bridge to restore the tooth’s look, feel, and functionality. At Washington Dental, our dentists have all the information you need to know regarding dental crowns and bridges to help you make an informed decision. Therefore, if you need more information or help with your damaged teeth in Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance, and Lomita, CA, contact us today. We will be glad to walk the journey with you until we restore your oral health and general well-being.