Crowns & bridges are two different solutions for restoring your teeth. They both use prosthetic replacement to simulate the missing teeth’ original appearance and function. The dentist advises that a crown be used when your tooth structure is sound and the damage is confined to just one side.
At the same time, a bridge should be used when adjacent teeth are present and can replace one or more missing teeth. Which one should you choose for your situation?
A dental crown, also identified as a cap, is a tooth-shaped restoration covering the entire surface. Crowns are used to restore teeth that are damaged by decay, infection, or trauma. They can also be used to improve the appearance of teeth that are crooked, discolored, or poorly shaped. The color can be matched with the surrounding teeth or given a color that contrasts with them.
The dental crown process involves removing the decayed tooth structure and preparing the tooth. A special mold is then made of the tooth that will house the finished restoration. The customized crown is then placed over the prepared tooth.
Crowns can last many years if properly maintained. They are more durable than other types of restorations like fillings.
A dental bridge is designed to replace one or more missing teeth. Missing teeth can be dangerous for several reasons. First, it leaves an unfilled gap that more food can get stuck in. It provides a chance of tooth decay or tooth-cavity formation since bacteria can get into the space more efficiently. Besides this, gaps between teeth are aesthetically displeasing and can lead to more significant problems with your bite.
A bridge works by attaching to surrounding teeth or implants on either side of the gap, then fusing by filling the space with dental porcelain, gold, alloys, or other artificial materials. A bridge can hold several crowns for an even more secure fit.
The bridge is permanently attached and does not come off. However, a dentist must remove it for cleaning and other reasons.
If you require a crown for a decayed or damaged tooth, your dentist will use an impression of your bite. The model will determine the shape of the crown, so to prevent any errors, you should remove all dental appliances before your appointment.
Crowns are cemented permanently using adhesive bonding or are attached with a metal post that is then screwed into place. The type of filling will depend on the material used in the crown. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are amalgam alloy, but porcelain-fused-to-ceramic crowns are pressed zirconia.
Creating dental bridges
Before a bridge is made for you, your dentist has to do a lot of planning. You will need at least two appointments, probably more. First, your dentist will take an impression (mold) of the surrounding teeth and gums to ensure all details are correct. Or the dentist can reduce the outer edges of the area where the bridge will go to give a better fit.
Your dental clinic will either create your dental bridge in-house or send it off to a dental laboratory.
At the dental laboratory, technicians will first choose the right color of porcelain for your bridge and then sculpt it to look like your surrounding teeth. They will also create a temporary bridge for you to wear while your final bridge is being constructed.
Your dentist will remove the short-term bridge and place the new one in your mouth. If it doesn’t fit perfectly, don’t worry – it can be adjusted.
How to care for tooth restorations
Dental hygiene is essential for your tooth restoration, whether a crown, a filling, a dental implant, a denture, or a bridge.
Today’s tooth restoration options offer increased longevity and durability compared to older methods of treatment. Thanks to improved technology and materials, the average lifespan of a dental device ranges from 10 years up to more than 20 years with proper care and regular check-ups.
However, it’s also true that your dental restoration is only as durable as the materials it is made of and depends on how well you take care of it.
It is generally recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day. Ensure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid scrubbing the crown or bridge too hard, as this can cause damage.
If you are confused about crowns vs. bridges, then visit a restorative dentist because they have expertise on dental problems.