Crowns and bridges: Time-tested dentistry with a modern approach in Sonoma County
You probably associate holistic dentistry with bio-friendly methods that promote entire body wellness – and you are right! Part of the challenge for a holistic dentist is bringing together the best of traditional techniques with current materials. Crowns and bridges at Whole Health Dentistry, located in beautiful Sonoma County, are a good example.
All about crowns
The word “crown” literally means the topmost part of something – your head, a hill . . . or a tooth. The crown is the part of the tooth that extends above the gum line. The natural crown is constructed of sturdy dentin covered with a smooth, pearly layer of enamel. This combination makes the tooth strong enough to tear and grind foods, resist acid attack that leads to decay, and it looks attractive in your smile.
A dental crown replaces some of the natural structure. This cap is shaped like a tooth, but hollow to fit over a damaged one. The crown protects the tooth and restores function. The dentist may recommend a crown for:
- A tooth with a large cavity
- Decay in a tooth that has an existing filling
- A fractured tooth (to keep it from breaking)
- A tooth that had a piece broken off
- A tooth that has had endodontic treatment – root canal therapy removes blood supply, so the tooth may become brittle
- The finishing touch on a dental implant to replace a missing tooth
Cosmetic enhancement may also be achieved with a dental crown. This type of restoration can cover deep discoloration, unusual shape or size, enamel flaws, or a worn-down tooth.
A crown procedure usually requires two visits to the dentist. At the first, the tooth is prepared. Decayed or damaged areas are removed, and remaining structure is sculpted to provide a secure foundation for the crown. In many cases this involves reducing tooth structure. In other situations, it may need to be built-up with a bit of composite material. Then the doctor takes impressions and protects the tooth with an interim restoration. Meanwhile, impressions and shading information go to a dental laboratory where the crown is fabricated. You return in a few weeks to have the “temporary” removed and the new crown cemented into place.
A tooth restored with a crown requires only normal brushing and flossing, with perhaps a bit of extra attention at the margin – where gum tissue meets the restoration. With good oral habits, it can last many years.
When a river or valley divides a roadway, engineers design a bridge to span the void. That is basically what a dental bridge does in your smile. It closes the gap between teeth left by one that is lost, or several missing teeth in a row.
A dental bridge is custom designed from impressions of your mouth. It consists of one or more artificial teeth that are attached. At both ends of the bridge are crowns. They fit over prepared teeth on each side of the space, to affix the bridge securely.
Once the bridge is cemented, it can only be removed by a dentist. A special flossing technique or a water flosser is necessary to keep gum tissue under and around the bridge clean and healthy.
Today, dental implants have become a popular alternative. However, a dental bridge can still be a good choice for the patient who does not want something implanted into the body, who does not have adequate bone mass for a dental implant, or who has other medical issues that preclude implantation.
Metal-free crowns and bridges available in Sonoma County
Crown and bridge restorations have been around for a long time (since about 700 BC), but they have changed significantly. You might notice that the above descriptions do not discuss materials. That is because they have varied a lot over the last thousand or so years. Ancient cultures used seashells, human and animal teeth, and gold to craft dental restorations.
In the age of “modern dentistry,” beginning in the 1600s, most crowns and bridges contained metal. Sometimes noble, non-corrosive metals like gold were used, as well as all sorts of other alloys including nickel.
At Whole Health Dentistry, only non-metal restorations are placed. We work with a professional ceramist to create crowns and bridges made of high-quality dental porcelain. These restorations are extremely strong and durable. They are also biocompatible and look very natural.
For metal-free crowns and bridges, call Whole Health Dentistry, the holistic practice trusted by wellness-savvy patients throughout Sonoma County. The number is 707 549-6333.