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When a tooth has been compromised structurally or esthetics needs improvement, a crown or cap can be placed on the tooth. The tooth is first anesthetized and then prepared with a handpiece to reduce the size of the sides and the top of the tooth by approximately 1-1.5mm. For same-day CEREC crowns that are made in the office, a digital scan of the teeth is taken and then the crown is designed on the computer. Once designed, the information is sent to the milling chamber where the crown is then milled out of a block of porcelain. We are able to custom stain and glaze these crowns as well. For crowns that are fabricated at an outside laboratory, we have the option to take a digital scan and send the file or we can take an impression with a putty material to send to the lab. When the crown fabrication is completed (in the office or at the lab), the crown is cemented or bonded onto the tooth permanently. Once this restoration is placed, the tooth is returned to normal function and esthetics. Teeth with crowns still require proper care and hygiene as there is still tooth structure below and underneath the prosthesis. If not properly maintained, the tooth can still get decay (cavity). However, if maintained properly, a crown can last many years (in some cases 20+ years).


When a tooth has been extracted, a fixed partial denture or “bridge” is one option for filling in the space. The teeth on either side of the space are prepared the same as they would be for a crown and the same impression or digital scan is taken. The bridge is then made as one piece – an artificial tooth fused to the crowns on the adjacent teeth and this is cemented or bonded in place. As with crowns, the bridge must be taken care of to ensure the teeth stay healthy. The bridge requires flossing under the artificial tooth (pontic) so effort must be made to thread the floss underneath to clean out food and plaque.



A gold crown or bridge is very strong and will last a long time. It has to be made in a dental lab so it requires two visits (one to prepare the tooth and take the impression or scan and the second to insert the prosthesis) and the patient will have to wear a temporary crown or bridge until the permanent prosthesis is cemented or bonded in.


A porcelain crown or bridge is tooth-coloured and can be shaded to match the adjacent teeth. The new porcelain materials are much stronger so they are a viable option for posterior treatment. These crowns and some short bridges (3 teeth) can be made in the office in-office with the CEREC machine to eliminate a second visit. Larger or more complicated cases may require that a lab make them, which would add a second visit for bonding/cementing the prosthesis.

Written by Hometown Dental Okotoks

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