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GENTLE TOUCH DENTISTRY, INC. | Newsletter in Orange Park


(904) 272-2828


Fixed Crown Restorations

Options for Fixed Crown Restorations

When a person’s teeth are broken or decayed, there are a wide variety of restoration options available to suit different needs. Most dental offices are able to provide minor restorations and repair larger ones that have become worn out. Many are also able to plant the larger restorations or prepare a patient for removable oral appliances. Although the primary goals of a restoration are to allow a patient to chew and speak effectively without pain and clean their teeth more easily, cosmetic appeal is also a major consideration. This month, we’ll be taking a look at what sort of situations would necessitate permanent restorations, and why a particular kind might be appropriate.


Crown Repair

The most basic restorations are fillings and bonding. When a person has an infection on the surface of their tooth and their enamel has been weakened, a dentist will drill away the decayed zone and fill in the resulting hole. Formerly, the filling material may have been gold or a silver amalgam, but in modern dentistry it will usually be a non-metal, such as a plastic resin, and the color of natural teeth. Bonding is similar but used to smooth out teeth that have been chipped or are slightly shorter than their neighbors. Fillings and bonding are applied as soft material that can be shaped with instruments called burnishers and then hardened. Dentists will take care to ensure the restorations are not too high to prevent the patient from closing their teeth together.


Partial crowns are restorations that are used when a tooth has lost too much of its crown enamel for a filling to be stable. A partial crown, known as an inlay or an onlay, is milled according to a mold or digital scan made of the patient’s tooth. It is then cemented onto the remaining natural tooth. Partial crowns are often used for the large teeth in the back of a patient’s mouth, which are subjected to enormous force whenever a patient chews.


Reshaping the Teeth

Veneers and replacement crowns are restorations that require a patient’s remaining enamel to be reshaped before they can be applied. Veneers are shells made of porcelain or something similar that are used when a patient’s teeth have minor cracks, are slightly out of place or twisted, or deeply stained. Although veneers are primarily a cosmetic treatment, smoothing out the arch of a patient’s teeth may make them easier to brush and floss.


Replacement crowns, or caps, replace the entire outside portion of the part of a tooth that rises from the gum line. In order to receive one, the remaining enamel must be shaved into a cylindrical abutment. An impression is then made of it which is used to mill a full crown, which is cemented over the abutment. Artificial crowns are often applied after a patient has undergone root canal therapy, which requires a hole to be drilled into a tooth in order to remove infected pulp. They may also be used when a tooth has a deep fracture, but not one that extends past the gum. Crowns can also be placed on top of dental implants, which function as artificial tooth roots when the tooth is missing entirely or had to be extracted.


Bridges are several artificial crowns cemented together in a row. They have the advantage that only the crowns on the end need to be supported by a natural tooth root or implant, with the middle crown hanging between them. But although this makes them useful when a patient is missing several teeth, the patient does have to learn to clean under the bridge by using the same sort of floss threader as is used with braces. In some cases a dentist may recommend a removable partial denture instead of a fixed bridge if they feel it would be easier for a patient to care for and allows them to avoid extracting more teeth. However, a denture may need to be refitted frequently if a patient’s remaining natural teeth are continuing to migrate, and getting a partial denture may also require the adjoining teeth to be reshaped. Removable dentures also have to be removed every night, whereas a bridge that has been cemented in is always there.

Orange Park Dentist | Newsletter. Laurie Johns-Stoutamire is a Orange Park Dentist.