Dental Crowns, Bridges, and Veneers: What You Need to Know

Dental crowns, bridges, and veneers are one of the many tools that dental professionals utilize to improve people’s teeth and overall health. At Lee Trevino Dental, we’ve helped countless patients over the years to correct their dental health and find their best smile. However, we find that many people are confused about the process behind crowns, bridges, and veneers. 

In this article, we’ll briefly go over each procedure, its benefits, and tips when considering which one you need. 

Dental Crowns

Have you or anyone you know chipped a tooth? Chances are that you have. Sometimes food can be a little too tough, or an accident can lead to a tooth being impacted by a hard object or surface. Regardless of the way the tooth is chipped, it can affect the way it looks and performs. 

Human teeth are designed so that we can be omnivores, meaning we can eat plants and animals for food. Our canine teeth are a great example of this property we have, but those are the very teeth that often get chipped or damaged. A dental crown is basically a cap that is placed on a tooth for functionality and looks. 

Your dentist may suggest you have a crown put in if:

  • You have had a dental implant 
  • You have discolored or misshapen teeth
  • You have a broken or decaying tooth
  • You need to support a dental bridge or tooth filling

For children, crowns are most often used because of tooth decay, which is a worsening issue among children in the U.S. 

Types of Crowns

The variety of crowns has grown a great deal since its inception. There’s a full array of crown types that can be chosen from, all with different properties and effects. Crowns can be made out of metals, resins, and ceramic/porcelain. Stainless steel crowns are very common since they are low-cost and low-maintenance when compared to other types of crowns. It is often used temporarily until a full permanent tooth can be created. 

Some crowns are made of alloys containing gold and platinum, which many people are no doubt aware of. While they can just seem like dental jewelry, metal crowns of that type are actually quite durable and long-lasting. The high price of some of these materials is the main issue with metal crowns. 

For a more natural look, porcelain and ceramic can be used. Unlike metal, porcelain and ceramic can be color-matched to the surrounding teeth, making it significantly less noticeable than metal. The crown can either be all-porcelain/all-ceramic, or it can be porcelain fused to metal. For porcelain fused to metal, you get the strength of metal mixed with the look of a real tooth. The porcelain can sometimes be chipped over time, though, exposing the metal underneath. 

Overall, crowns are an invaluable tool for dentists. If you happen to need one, make sure to keep it clean like any other tooth to prevent needing more dental services. 

Dental Bridges 

3d render of jaw with dental bridge  over white background

Dental bridges are simply fake teeth used to bridge the gap between real teeth, hence the name. Unlike crowns, a dental bridge requires one or more full teeth, as opposed to a portion of an existing tooth. 

Dental bridges are used to restore proper jaw look, function, and bite force/distribution. It can give you a full smile while keeping all of your natural teeth in the right places. 

Dental bridges are generally separated into four categories: traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported. 

A traditional bridge is simply placing a fake tooth or teeth between real teeth, with no special treatment or adhesive. Cantilever bridges require a dental crown in addition to a fake tooth or teeth. Maryland dental bridges use metal or porcelain to support the abutment teeth, and implant-supported bridges use full implants for each missing tooth to be supported by. 

Traditional dental bridges are often all that are needed, with implant-supported dental bridges being the most sturdy but most costly method. Traditional, cantilever, and Maryland bridges rarely cost more than $5,000, but implant-supported bridges can easily surpass $15,000 for the multiple surgeries required. 

Dental Veneers

A dental veneer is a sort of shell or covering that is placed on the front of the teeth. They give off a natural look for teeth and are relatively sturdy and long-lasting. Veneers are typically made of either porcelain or composite resin, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. 

People opt to get veneers mainly for cosmetic reasons, like chipped or misshapen teeth. Gaps and stains are another reason to get veneers. While veneers can be seen as more of a cosmetic option, they are also very strong and can aid in normal teeth function. They help by providing the stability that can be lost when teeth are chipped or worn down. 

Get Your Smile Back With Lee Trevino Dental

If you have issues with your smile, Lee Trevino Dental has the expertise to help. We perform all of the above procedures and have helped countless El Pasoans with their teeth. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and see what the best option is for you! 

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