Dental Crowns and Bridges

What is a dental crown?

A crown, as its name implies, is like a “cap” that is placed around the affected tooth.

It is used when there are fractures, very large cavities or a high risk of tooth fracture.

Crowns are the last resort when filling material cannot be applied to restore or strengthen the problematic tooth.

What is a bridge?

Bridges are the option to replace a lost tooth, when there is no possibility of placing dental implants.

These consist of making crowns to the teeth that are next to the missing tooth and joining them with a floating tooth, for this reason we treat crowns and bridges together, since the bridge is made up of crowns.

Materials for dental crowns

Bridges are the option to replace a lost tooth, when there is no possibility of placing dental implants.

Crowns can be made of different materials. In the past they were made of gold and later the classics such as Metal Porcelain or totally Porcelain, as well as new generation materials such as Zirconium.

Until a few years ago, most fixed crowns and bridges were made with an internal metal frame, covered with porcelain. The reason for this structure was to provide rigidity and strength to the restoration, with the porcelain providing the esthetic appearance.

Porcelain metal bridge

It was unthinkable to be able to build a restoration exclusively in porcelain as it has always been very fragile. However, in recent years the technology has been perfected and new materials and techniques have been created.

Lithium disilicate and zirconium oxide are examples of high-resistance dental ceramics that we use daily at Clínica Gil. teeth that are next to the missing tooth and joining them with a floating tooth, for this reason we treat crowns and bridges together, since the bridge is made up of crowns.

Zirconium Dental Crowns: Advantages

Advantages of zirconium crowns:

  • Zirconium dental crowns are lighter than metal porcelain crowns
  • Dental zirconium is absolutely compatible with the human body. It is not a metal and does not cause any type of allergy.
  • The zirconium crown has low thermal conductivity, so foods at different temperatures do not cause unpleasant sensations in the mouth.
  • Over time, the color does not change, as in porcelain-metal ones where the metal produces shadows on the gums or on the porcelain.
  • Over time, zirconium wear is minimal.
  • Zirconium is very well accepted by the body, it integrates perfectly into the smile of patients.

Among the advantages of zirconium is a very high aesthetic because its optical properties simulate those of the natural dental structure and allow the passage of light through them as in natural teeth.

How long does a Zirconium Crown last?

It is not possible to give an exact estimation of the duration of a dental crown. This depends on many factors. Let’s examine some of them:

  • The care that is taken of the mouth, oral hygiene, daily brushing, use of dental floss, regular visits to the dentist for check-ups and deep cleanings.
  • The state of the tooth that supports the crown is of vital importance. If cavities forms at the junction of the crown with the tooth,  the crown must be replaced. Also, the underlying tooth must be healthy and provide adequate support.
  • The crown receives pressure when chewing. If the person is a bruxist, clenches or grinds his teeth, this extra pressure can cause fractures and the crown will fail.
  • Some general health conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis can affect the support of the tooth that holds the crown, causing it to fail.
  • The material the crown is made of and the quality of the manufacturing can also influence the duration. Hence, the importance of a good professional and dental laboratory.
  • Fortuitous events such as trauma or accidents can cause the crown or the tooth to break. If this occurs, the crown must be replaced.

In metal-porcelain crowns, the porcelain can become damaged over time, causing the metal to become translucent and unattractive. This does not occur with full porcelain or zirconia crowns.

In short, under ideal conditions, zirconium crowns can last over 15 years.

Procedure for the manufacture of Dental Crowns and Zirconium bridges

In order to manufacture crowns, bridges, inlays and other restorations, a duplicate of the patient’s mouth must be obtained. In the past, this was done using a special material placed in a tray and inserted into the patient’s mouth until the material hardened. This formed a mold from which a model of the patient’s mouth was made.

Conventional printing

Today, with the inlay, it is possible to scan directly into a patient’s mouth and form a digital image of  it.

Scanning the teeth

The Digital Dental Laboratory receives the information from the scan, as well as detailed information from the dentist with the particular characteristics of the patient. This is taken into account for personalized manufacturing, such as tooth color, in order to achieve an ideal smile design.

The crown is designed digitally. Crown Digital Design:

Once designed and reviewed by the specialist, the crown or bridge is manufactured, using excellent precision. The final finishes are given.

Placement of Dental Crowns

The Digital Dental Laboratory delivers the finished crown or bridge to the Prosthodontist for placement in the mouth.

The crown or bridge is placed with a state-of-the-art resin cement.

Clinical cases carried out at the Gil Dental Clinics

Case 1. Crown in the upper right.

Case of Dr. Rodrigo Jiménez

Patient with a fractured tooth that requires a crown.

Molar that needs a crown
Zirconium crown with color adjustments to resemble the other teeth
Crown in mouth
Crown in mouth – side view

Case 2. Bridge on implants

Case of Dr. Daniel Cifuentes

Our patient arrived with a 3-unit bridge she had had for 10 years. The teeth that held the bridge had broken. An implant solution was chosen. Two were placed and a new bridge was made.

In an attempt to maintain the best possible esthetics, a Zirconium bridge with porcelain on the front was placed on the implants.

Our patient was finally able to smile confidently.

Tratamiento de Coronas y Puentes, fotografía antes del procedimiento Tratamiento de Coronas y Puentes, fotografía después del procedimiento
Tratamiento de Coronas y Puentes, fotografía antes del procedimiento
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