The Major Differences Between Dental Crowns and Bridges

The Major Differences Between Dental Crowns and Bridges

It’s not unusual for people to become confused by dental terminology, and many may not understand the difference between a dental crown and a dental bridge. However, the most important thing to remember is that missing and damaged teeth need to be replaced or repaired as soon as possible. An ignored deep cavity may require a crown to restore it, when earlier attention would likely have resulted in only a filling. Missing teeth are not just cosmetic. Teeth are like herd animals. They are social, so to speak, and they like to stay together. Teeth depend on their adjacent neighbors to properly stay in place. When one or more are missing, the teeth may begin to shift out of place. Other problems include:

  • Receding gums
  • Higher risk of injury and decay to nearby teeth
  • Empty gum space may be injured or become infected
  • Difficulty chewing with possible higher choking risk
  • Improper bite
  • Increased and uneven wear on other teeth

If enough teeth are missing, the facial skin may sag inwards, resulting in an unattractive appearance.

Dental Crowns

These are specially made caps that fit over a single tooth, protecting it and allowing for a normal look and function. Crowns may be used as part of a root canal procedure, to repair a tooth too badly damaged for repair or to save a tooth with a very deep cavity. For a crown procedure, the dentist will first numb the area and then shape the tooth to receive the crown. Next, you will have an impression. This involves biting down on a warm, gooey substance. This leaves an exact duplicate of your tooth. The dental lab will use it to create a permanent crown, which takes about 2 weeks. In the meantime, the dentist will fashion a temporary crown for you to use. It’s glued in place with temporary cement. When your permanent crown is ready, the dentist will use an extremely powerful and durable type of dental cement to hold it in place. Crowns are typically made of a strong ceramic material matching the color of the other teeth.

Dental Bridges

Since crowns can only restore a single tooth, bridges are used to span the gap between two or more teeth. Bridges are a much better option than dentures, which can slip and cause discomfort. For the bridge, you must have healthy, natural teeth on either side of the gap, called anchor teeth. The dentist must prepare the healthy teeth on either side by shaping them because these teeth will essentially be crowns. An impression will be taken to ensure accurate fit. The bridge device itself consists of two crowns attached to the correct number of artificial teeth. The healthy anchor teeth hold the device in place.

Bridges can also be attached to an existing implanted tooth on either or both sides. With proper care, bridges and crowns can last for many years. When bridges and crowns are used to replace visibly missing teeth, the patient’s self-confidence greatly improves.

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