Crowns and Bridges in Durham, NC
Damaged or missing teeth can have a big impact on your quality of life. Not only can you feel self-conscious about your smile, but speaking clearly and chewing may be more difficult, too.
At The Smile Shop, we know how frustrating it can be when an oral issue causes you discomfort or embarrassment. We’re experts at restoring teeth using dental crowns and bridges, allowing you to enjoy eating, socializing, and good oral health again.
Drs. Kate Dolin and Adam Spriggs want you to feel at home when you come in to our dental practice, and that’s why we offer a relaxed, friendly environment for every patient. When you need a dental crown or dental bridge in Durham, NC, we’re here to help you regain a smile you love.
If you’re concerned about a tooth or want to replace a missing tooth, call us today to schedule a consultation at The Smile Shop.
- What is a dental crown?
- What problems does a dental crown solve?
- What types of dental crowns are there?
- What is the procedure for dental crowns?
- Why do I need a crown instead of a filling?
- What does a dental bridge do?
- Why should I replace a missing tooth?
- How do dental bridges stay in place?
- What is the dental bridge process?
- How should I care for my dental bridge?
What is a dental crown?
Your teeth are naturally strong and durable and can normally withstand a lifetime of chewing forces. But when a tooth sustains significant damage due to severe tooth decay, trauma, or another reason, the tooth structure weakens and is at risk.
Fortunately, dental crowns restore teeth to function normally again. Dental crowns are durable restorations that cover the entire tooth and protect it from further damage.
While we try to be as conservative as possible when we treat our patients, sometimes a simple dental filling just isn’t strong enough to repair a decayed or damaged tooth. If you need a dental crown, Dr. Dolin or Dr. Spriggs will discuss your treatment, answer your questions, and ensure that your experience is positive.
What problems does a dental crown solve?
Dental crowns are a versatile and common way to treat both functional and cosmetic teeth problems.
- Restoring a tooth with significant decay that we can't fix with a tooth filling
- Protecting a fractured or cracked tooth resulting from trauma
- Strengthening a tooth following root canal treatment
- Cosmetically replacing large, unsightly fillings
- Capping a dental implant
- Covering a discolored or misshapen tooth
When you visit The Smile Shop in Durham for a dental exam or consultation, we’ll use x-rays to determine whether you’re a good candidate for a crown. Preserving your natural tooth is always our top priority, and dental crowns provide strength and protection for teeth that need extra help.
What types of dental crowns are there?
Dental crowns are made of durable materials that can withstand the forces of normal chewing and biting down. The most common types of dental crowns are:
- Porcelain (ceramic) - For front teeth that need to blend with natural teeth, porcelain-based materials work best. Porcelain resists wear and is virtually as strong as tooth enamel.
- Porcelain fused to metal - For hidden molars that endure more stress and force from biting down, we may use a metal crown that has a porcelain overlay.
- Gold - The most durable of materials but also the most expensive, gold is the least common material we use.
With proper care, a dental crown can last for many years. However, grinding or clenching your teeth or using your teeth for anything other than chewing food can shorten the lifespan of dental crowns.
What is the procedure for dental crowns?
We can usually restore your tooth with a dental crown in two appointments. During your first visit, our Durham, NC dentists prepare your natural tooth for the crown and take a detailed impression. Then we send the impression to one of our professional dental laboratories.
The dental lab fabricates your custom dental crown with a fit that is specifically personalized for your tooth and a color that is matched to your natural smile. We will place a temporary dental crown on the tooth until your permanent crown is ready.
During the second appointment, we remove the temporary crown and place the final restoration on your tooth. We thoroughly examine and x-ray the fit and finish to ensure the crown is perfect in every aspect. Once you approve and are 100% satisfied, we permanently cement the dental crown to your tooth.
Most patients are pleasantly surprised to find the dental crown process painless and convenient. If you’re concerned about a tooth, call our Durham, NC dental office to schedule a consultation.
Why do I need a crown instead of a filling?
If you have a cavity, you may wonder why you can’t just get a tooth filling. We place dental crowns instead of tooth fillings in two common situations:
- Teeth with deep decay often have a weakened structure. In this case, we need to strengthen and protect the tooth with a dental crown.
- Teeth with very large fillings may weaken over time. A more reliable and long-term solution is a dental crown that covers the tooth completely.
What does a dental bridge do?
A dental bridge uses a set of three dental crowns to restores a missing tooth. Bridges improve chewing and restore your smile at the same time. The bridge itself is an artificial tooth (called a pontic) held in place by a dental crown on each side (called abutments).
Like dental crowns, dental bridges are custom-fabricated to your individual teeth and smile.
Why should I replace missing a missing tooth?
Millions of Americans have missing teeth and experience the impact on their appearance and self-confidence. But missing teeth can also cause other problems:
- Chewing and digestion challenges
- Speaking difficulties
- Misaligned adjacent teeth that can cause bite issues
- Gum disease and tooth decay
Replacing lost teeth is a health issue not just for your mouth, but for your entire body. At The Smile Shop, we want you to have confidence in your smile. Call us at (919) 941-5549 for a consultation to discuss your options.
How do dental bridges stay in place?
Dental bridges provide stability because they’re connected to a dental crown on each side of the gap.
A bridge is a three-piece unit made of dental crowns. After preparing the two adjacent teeth, we place the unit over the teeth on either side of the gap, which is “bridged” by the middle crown. Once the fit is perfect, we cement the bridge to the adjacent crowns, providing a stable and natural-looking restoration.
What is the dental bridge process?
First, we prepare the teeth on each side of the gap, or abutment teeth, for dental crowns. Next, we take impressions of your teeth, which we’ll send to a dental lab for a customized fit.
When the bridge comes back to our dental office, we’ll check the fit and make adjustments as needed before cementing it to the adjacent dental crowns. Dr. Adam Spriggs or Dr. Kate Dolin will ensure that your new dental bridge fits perfectly, giving you a stable and comfortable tooth where you once had a gap.
How should I care for my dental bridge?
Once you have your dental bridge in place, it’s important to be diligent with brushing and flossing around the bridge. A bridge that has food particles caught underneath can lead to gum inflammation and disease and eventually failure of the bridge.
Also, be sure to schedule twice-yearly teeth exams and cleanings with our Durham, NC dentists to help prevent plaque buildup, gum inflammation, and other issues.
Please Call Our Dental Office to Learn More
If you are experiencing symptoms of a cracked tooth, have large fillings or a tooth that you would like to replace, or want to improve your smile esthetically with crowns, be sure to call our Durham, NC dental office. We will be happy to schedule a consultation appointment to provide more information and answer your questions!