All About Crowns, Bridges & Fillings

If you are feeling a little confused about the number of different dental care treatments that are on offer, then we are here to help you.

While the prospect of dental work can be scary, especially during a dental emergency, the more you know about the relevant procedures, the more comfortable you will feel about seeking treatment from your dentist.

Within the below blog, you will find out everything there is to know about crowns, bridges, and fillings so that you can make the right decision for your oral health and your smile.

What are dental crowns?

Dental crowns are used to cover, protect, and restore your teeth. They are often recommended when the tooth decay or damage is too severe to be fixed by a filling.

Typically crowns are made out of metals, porcelain, resin, and ceramics and come in the form of tooth-shaped caps that are placed over the tooth.

Why might you need a dental crown?

There are several reasons why your dental services practice may recommend that you have a crown fitted, including:

  • To protect a weak tooth
  • To restore a broken tooth
  • To cover and support a tooth that has a large filling
  • To hold a dental bridge in place
  • To cover dental implants
  • To cover a tooth that has recently been treated with a root canal

How long does a permanent crown last?

If you practice good oral hygiene, a dental crown should last between 5 and 15 years. This will be dependent on how much wear and tear the crown is exposed to. For example, habits like teeth grinding and biting your fingernails can reduce the lifespan of a crown.

How much does a dental crown cost?

The type of dental crown that you select will affect how much it costs. See a rough guide to the cost of each type of crown placement below:

Gold crowns = $600 to $2,500

Ceramic crowns = $800 to $3,000

Porcelain fused to metal crowns = $500 to $1,500

Stainless steel crowns = $300 to $500

What are dental bridges?

A dental bridge is designed to bridge any gaps in your mouth. It involves replacing a missing tooth with a false one by binding it to the natural teeth on either side.

Dental bridges do offer a permanent solution for missing teeth and, unlike dental implants, do not require surgery.  

Why might you need a dental bridge?

If you have a missing tooth or teeth due to dental decay, gum disease, or an injury, a dental bridge can help to fill the gap. However, to get a dental bridge, you will need to have healthy teeth on either side of the missing ones.

If you decide not to fill the gap, a nearby natural tooth may move into the empty space, or the teeth in your opposite jaw may move up or down towards the space. This can cause:

  • Bite problems
  • Chewing issues
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Feelings of self-consciousness about your smile

How long does a dental bridge last?

A dental bridge typically lasts between 5-7 years, although, with proper care and good oral hygiene, a bridge could last for up to 10 years.

How much does a dental bridge cost?

Dental bridges are typically more expensive than dentures, but they are significantly more comfortable. This type of tooth replacement can also help to preserve the health of your remaining teeth.

The exact cost is dependent on where the bridge needs to be placed and which materials the bridge is made up of. Part of this may be covered with dental insurance, but this will differ from one dental plan to the next.

What are dental fillings?

As one of the most commonly carried out dental care procedures, a dental filling is most often used to fill the area of a tooth where decay has been removed. However, they can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth, as well as teeth that have been worn down from unhealthy habits such as grinding.

There are several dental filling materials available, including:

  • Porcelain
  • Gold
  • Silver amalgam
  • Composite resin
  • Glass ionomer

The type of dental filling that is used will be dependent on the extent of the decay, the location of the decay, and your dental insurance coverage.

Why might you need a dental filling?

If you have tooth damage or decay and it has not yet become too problematic, your dentist is likely to recommend repairing your cavity with a dental filling. Fillings are typically used to fill small holes caused by tooth decay. However, they can also repair fractures and cracks in your teeth.

These are the signs that you might need a dental filling:

  • Pain in the tooth – sharp or throbbing
  • Sensitivity in the tooth when you eat or brush
  • A visible hole
  • A rough or jagged feeling when you run your tongue over the tooth

It is worth noting that you may still need a filling even if you do not have any of the above symptoms, so you need to ensure you go for regular check-ups to avoid more serious dental problems.

How long does a dental filling last?

The average metal filling lasts for about 15 years before it will need to be replaced. However, if you often grind or clench your teeth, this may reduce its lifespan. Composite fillings typically last for a little less time, between 5-15 years, and gold fillings can last up to 20 years.

How much does a dental filling cost?

The cost of a dental filling does depend on the location of the cavity in your mouth, the material used, and the size of the cavity, of course. Most dental insurance plans will cover the cost of a dental filling, or you can ask your local dentist about payment plans that can make the procedure more affordable for those that do not have insurance.

If you are required to pay for your own dental care, most filling treatments cost between $50-$150 for a single, silver amalgam filling. If you would prefer a tooth-colored composite filling, you can expect to pay between $90-$250 per tooth.

Here at our Asheville family dentistry clinic, we are ready and waiting to talk you through your dental options so that you can find the right treatment for your teeth.