There are three options for restoring missing teeth. The oldest way is to make a removable or partial denture; this is worn by a patient and can be removed. This is the least expensive and least comfortable option when it comes to replacing missing teeth. A more modern (?) to replace a missing tooth is to create a fixed denture also known as a bridge. This method requires filing the two teeth adjacent one either side of the missing tooth. Two dental crowns are prepared for each of the filed teeth and will hold in place a pontic, or substitute tooth, for the missing tooth. This is not an ideal solution for a missing tooth as it requires comprising the structural integrity of the adjacent teeth. The most innovative way to replace missing teeth is by placing a dental implant—this allows the preservation of the adjacent teeth as it does not require filing them. Instead, a titanium screw called a dental implant is installed in place of the missing tooth. After healing, a crown is attached to the implant. The technological advancements currently allow for a 97% success rate of placement of dental implants. At our office, the total cost of a dental implant, including the subsequent crown placement, is less than that of a dental bridge.
Dental crowns are placed on teeth which are undermined by dental caries, especially following root canal treatment. Root canal treatment leaves the walls of the tooth thin and susceptible to cracking from chewing. You’d be surprised to learn that human jaw can produce as much as 275 pounds of pressure on to our teeth! Dental crowns aim to restore the shape of the original shape of the tooth and return it to normal function. Dental crowns are necessary for teeth that can no longer be restored by placing dental fillings. This applies to teeth that have lost two-thirds of their surface structure. This is also often required for teeth with broken cusps.
Dental crowns are most typically made of zirconia and porcelain. Zirconia crowns are usually done for back teeth, or molars, which experience the most force—they are resistant to this pressure. Porcelain crowns, while not as robust as zirconia crowns are an excellent option for front teeth or incisors, as they mimic natural teeth aesthetically, specifically as they are better able to match the color of the adjacent teeth and reflect light naturally.