Art Meets Science in Crowns and Bridgework

Skilled portrait painters make their subjects’ teeth look real by utilizing a careful blend of form, color and brushwork. Dentists may use a different set of materials and techniques, but the end result is the same: a pleasing, natural-looking smile. Placing crowns and bridgework is one facet of dentistry where art truly meets science.

Crowns and bridges are effective methods of restoring damaged or missing teeth. If a damaged tooth has intact roots, a crown (or cap) can be fabricated, to completely cover a tooth’s surface above the gum line. When one or more teeth are absent, a bridge can be made. First, the teeth in either side of the missing one(s) — the abutment teeth — are prepared for crowning. Then a single “bridge” is expertly crafted to replace the missing teeth, and the bridge is securely attached to the abutments.

Where does the art come in? It’s evident in the materials selected for the restoration, and in the craftsmanship of the lab that produces it. Your dentist can help you choose from among several options for crown or bridge material, such as porcelain (including high-tech ceramics) or porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations. Working with their partners in the dental laboratory, your dental office can make an esthetically pleasing and fully-functioning restoration that’s almost impossible to tell from your natural teeth.