Having a missing tooth will affect not only your appearance but also the overall function of your teeth. When you remain with a missing tooth for a long time, the surrounding teeth could shift and result in further dental complications. When you visit your dentist for solutions to a missing tooth, the dentist could recommend artificial replacements. Fitting your teeth with crowns and bridges restores the natural function and appearance of your teeth.

Dental crowns are caps that can be used above other teeth for protection or proper function. A dental bridge is solely used to replace missing teeth. The dental bridge has two or more crowns on either side of the missing teeth. Your dentist will examine your teeth to determine your suitability for a dental crown and bridge. Fitting dental crowns and bridges is a sensitive procedure. Therefore, you must properly choose the right specialist. At South Coast Dentistry, we offer comprehensive care for all our clients dealing with general dental complications in Aliso Viejo, CA.

What is a Dental Crown?

A crown is a dental restoration that covers the entire surface of your tooth. Crowns are contoured and shaped to mimic the shape and size of your natural teeth. This allows for proper contact with the teeth from the opposite jaw and correct chewing of food. When you replace a lost tooth with a crown, you will achieve the normal outlook and function. Your dental specialist may recommend the fitting dental crowns for any of the following reasons:

  • Large decay. Mild tooth decay can be repaired with fillings. However, when the cavity has destroyed your enamel, fitting the tooth with a dental crown may be the only way to save it and restore its function.
  • Large fillings. If you have a filling that covers up to half of the tooth enamel, the remaining healthy tooth may be too weak to withstand the chewing forces. You can achieve better function and lifespan by covering the tooth with a dental crown.
  • Root canal. Root canal treatment involves the removal of blood vessels and nerves from the hollow chamber of the tooth. After a root canal, the tooth can no longer receive nourishment and become dry and brittle. The tooth's weakness predisposes it to potential damage and cracking. You can protect the tooth that has undergone a root canal by covering the enamel with a dental crown.
  • Cracks. Tooth cracks are difficult to diagnose, even for seasoned dentists. A solid layer of enamel covers your teeth; if there is a crack in this part, the tooth will not perform its function effectively. For a crack that does not extend to the nerves, you can use a crown to keep the crack from progressing and affecting the inner parts of the tooth

Dental crowns are made of different materials which serve different purposes. Your choice of crown material will be based on the location of the tooth you want to restore, the level of damage to your tooth, and your budget. Common materials used for dental crowns include:


Plastic crowns temporarily cover the tooth, while your permanent crown is custom-made. Often plastic crowns are inexpensive, but they cannot be used for the final tooth restoration. After your permanent crowns have been made, the dentist takes of these temporary restorations:

Full Metal Crowns

Full metal crowns are yellow or gold and are suitable for the back teeth. Some of the advantages you accrue from a full metal crown is durability. Their high resistance to decay ensures that they serve you for a long time. However, these restorations have a metal appearance which makes them not cosmetically pleasing. Before you receive a full metal crown, your dentist must interfere with the tooth's structure. Many people shy away from full metal dental crowns because of their high cost.

Porcelain Fused to Metal

Porcelain had a natural tooth material and appearance, making it suitable for crowns throughout the mouth. Additionally, crowns made from porcelain are strong enough to withstand the chewing forces. Although the metal strengthens the porcelain, the restoration can show dark shading where the metal is visible.

All Porcelain Crowns

If you have damaged front teeth or want to change their appearance through crowns, your best option would be all-porcelain crowns. Porcelain mimics the natural texture and appearance of the natural tooth. However, the material can be easily fractured and requires the removal of some parts of your tooth.

Zirconia Crowns

You can choose zirconia for crowns in any part of your mouth. This is because the material has an appearance that is almost similar to natural teeth. Additionally, the material effectively blocks the darkness or discoloration, often tooth enamel. However, these crowns can easily damage teeth from the opposite jaw due to their strong bite.

Dental Crown Procedure

Placement of dental crowns is done in the following steps:

  1. Assesment. Like other dental procedures, you must go for an initial consultation where your dentist will check the condition of your teeth to determine whether these restorations suit your situation. The initial appointment involves a thorough examination. Most dental procedures may not move forward when your teeth are extremely damaged. If you have severe decay on your teeth, the problem must be solved before fitting the crow.
  2. Tooth preparation. Fitting a dental crown may require alteration to the structure of your tooth. After numbing the tooth and surrounding areas, the dentist will shape your tooth by removing part of the enamel. The amount of enamel that needs trimming varies depending on your specific condition and the type of crown you want.
  3. Tooth impression. When the tooth is at the desired size and shape, the dentist will take impressions of the tooth for a custom-made crown. The impressions are then sent to a lab where a plaster cast is used to make a crown. Often, you may need to wait for up to three weeks for the custom-made crown. While you wait for your permanent crown, you must wear a temporary crown to prevent tooth damage.
  4. Placement of a Permanent Crown. The last step of the dental crown procedure is the placement of the custom-made crown. The dentist may ask you to bite down after placing the crown to ensure an even bite.

Dental Bridge

A bridge is a dental restoration made with two crowns and either side of the missing tooth. Dentists will recommend a dental bridge to replace one or more missing teeth when the other teeth function correctly. The fake teeth supported by the bridge could be made from various materials, including porcelain, gold, or metal alloys. There are four types of dental bridges:

  1. Traditional bridges. Traditional bridges are more popular than other types. These bridges use the dental crowns on either side of a missing tooth to hold the false tooth in the right position. The downside to using traditional bridges is that the dentist must interfere with the structure of your tooth by removing some enamel to create room for the crown.
  2. Maryland bridges. A Maryland bridge consists of a porcelain or metal framework which holds the false tooth in position. The framework is bonded at the rear end of the two natural teeth adjacent to the gap. Maryland bridges often rely on the strength of the resin which holds them in place. Therefore, the weakening of the resin could cause them to fall off.
  3. Cantilever bridges. A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge except for one side of the false tooth, which is supported by an abutment. Therefore, this bridge can be used even when one side of the missing tooth has a healthy natural tooth.
  4. Implant-supported bridges. You can use implant-supported bridges to support multiple missing teeth. Instead of crowns, dental bridges are supported by implants. An implant is placed on each missing tooth to act as the root. Bridges that are supported by implants feel secure and comfortable.

Dental Bridge Procedure

Before the dentist fits your teeth with a bridge, you may undergo some procedures. These procedures vary depending on the condition of your teeth and the type of dental bridge you choose. The first step in dental bridge placement is the preparation of the abutment teeth on each side of the missing tooth. The preparation involves removing part of the enamel through teeth cleaning and crown preparation.

During your second visit, the dentist will replace the temporary crown and bridge with a permanent one. When the bridge and crowns are secured, the density will check the comfort and nature of your bite.

Crowns and Bridges Care Instructions

After your crown and bridge procedure, your dentist will send you home with the following care instructions:

  • Oral hygiene. After a bridge and crown procedure, you should maintain proper oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Diet. You can resume a normal diet a few days after dental restoration with a crown and bridge. Although you are expected to feel comfortable, you should avoid chewing hard foods. Habits like biting on ice or using your teeth as a tool could damage the crown or cause the loosening of the bridge. Additionally, you must avoid sticky foods that could stick under the bridges and cause further tooth damage.
  • Managing pain. Unfortunately, most oral procedures are accompanied by slight discomfort and pain. If you are not allergic to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, your dentist could recommend taking them to ease the inflammation and pain.
  • Activity. For the first forty-eight hours after your procedure, you may need to rest and allow your body to recover.
  • Avoid hot foods. Before your anesthesia wears off, you should avoid hot and spicy foods.
  • Manage to bleed. Slight bleeding after oral surgery is normal. However, the bleeding should stop when you apply pressure to the area. If bleeding is uncontrollable or bright red, you must consult your dentist.

Complications of Dental Bridge and Crown

Although crowns and bridges are a great way to replace your missing teeth. Some complications could result from this type of dental treatment, including:


After fitting your teeth with dental bridges, the dentist will advise you on proper care to ensure that the restorations serve the intended purpose. However, factors like poor oral hygiene, poorly fitting bridges, or decay of the supporting teeth could cause infection under the bridges. If you feel your dental bridge is infected, you should consult your dentist to avoid further complications.

Sensitivity Under the Bridge

After the dental bridge and crown placement, your mouth could take a while to adjust to the new teeth' shape. Therefore, it is common to experience sensitivity around the teeth and gums following the procedure. The possibility of tooth sensitivity increases if you have had a root canal on the tooth fitted with the crown.

If tooth sensitivity does not go away after a few weeks of the procedure, it may indicate incorrect bridge positioning. Therefore, you should schedule a dental checkup.

Food Particles Under the Bridge

Your dentist will instruct you on properly cleaning your teeth after fitting them with a bridge and crown. It would help if you were extra careful when cleaning around the dental bridge. If food particles enter the spaces between the false tooth and the gum, you could experience discomfort. Additionally, these food particles could breed bacteria and cause bad breath or further dental complications. Regular flossing and rinsing your mouth after meals could help dislodge these food particles.

Tightness of the Dental Bridge

It may take a while to adjust to a new tooth bridge. You may feel tightness and pain due to the pressure on the supporting teeth. If the tightness does not settle within a week of the procedure, you should mention the problem to your dentist.

Loose Dental Bridge or Crown

A properly fitted bridge or crown should be tightly secured. If your bridge or crown feels loose after the fitting, you must return to your dentist for re-cementing. If you feel the bridge is moving around, you should book an appointment for it to be fixed before serious complications occur.

Tooth Breakage During Preparation

Before fitting a crown and bridge, the dentist may need to remove a part of your tooth enamel to fit the crown. If the tooth adjacent to the gap is weak or decayed, it can break during the preparation. If the structure of your teeth is not strong enough, your dentist may reinforce it before the crown and bridge procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions on Dental Crown and Bridge

Many forms of dental restorations are available to replace missing teeth. Therefore, if your dentist recommends a dental bridge and crown, you will have many questions regarding the procedure, benefits, and cost of the restoration:

  1. How long does a dental bridge last?

A dental bridge can last between ten to fifteen years. After a while, the materials used for the crown and bridge could begin to deteriorate, increasing the risk of decay on the supporting teeth. Fitting your teeth with a dental crown and bridge should not be an excuse to skip dental visits. During your regular visits, the dentist will check the bridge to determine whether it needs a replacement.

  1. Can a dental bridge be replaced?

Over time, the cement that holds the tooth bridge in place may start to fail and cause the loosening of the bridge. Sometimes, the dentist can re-cement the bridge if the supporting teeth are in the right condition. You may need a replacement if the supporting teeth have weakened or decayed.

  1. How long is the recovery time for the crown and bridge procedure?

Recovery from a dental procedure varies from one person to another. Several days after the procedure, you may feel some discomfort. However, when the restorations settle down, you will feel more comfortable. Your gums may take several weeks to heal completely. Some factors that could impact your healing process include the number of teeth you need to replace

  1. How Much does a bridge and crown cost?

The cost of dental restoration with crown and bridge varies depending on the following factors:

  • Number of teeth you want to replace
  • Type of bridge or crown you choose
  • Whether or not additional procedures are necessary
  • The complexity of your dental issues

Find a Reliable General Dentist Near Me

Missing a tooth is not fun. If you have lost your tooth through decay, gum disease, or trauma, it is in your oral health's best interest to replace it. There are several restorative solutions available, including dental bridges and crowns. A crown is a cap that covers the entire tooth and is often placed on the teeth bordering the tooth gap on each side. On the other hand, a dental bridge is made of two or more crowns and supports the replacement tooth.

Both dental crowns and bridges have helped countless individuals restore their confidence and tooth function. If you consider this form of restoration, you must book an appointment with a skilled general dentist. At South Coast Dentistry, we understand how oral health could affect your overall health and well-being. We offer top-notch dental services for all our clients in Aliso Viejo, CA. Contact us today at 949-274-9086 to book an appointment