Dental Crown and Bridges

Dental crowns are a great option for patients looking to protect and improve their smile. Crowns can be used to repair broken, decayed, or damaged teeth in order to restore them back to their original shape and size

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Crowns and Bridges: A Comprehensive Guide to Dental Restoration

Key Takeaways:

  • Crowns and bridges are popular methods for dental restoration.
  • While both serve to restore dental health, they have distinct applications and benefits.
  • Dental restoration enhances functionality and prevents further deterioration of weakened teeth.
  • Various types of dental bridges and crowns are available, catering to different needs and preferences.
  • Proper care and maintenance can extend the lifespan of crowns and bridges.

Understanding Crowns and Bridges

Crowns: The Protective Caps

A dental crown is essentially a cap used to cover an existing tooth or an implant. It occupies the space and mimics the behavior of a natural tooth. Crowns are often the final step in various dental procedures, such as implants and root canals. They serve multiple purposes, from restoring a tooth's shape and size to strengthening and improving its appearance.

Bridges: Filling the Gap

On the other hand, a dental bridge is designed to fill the space created by one or more missing teeth. A typical bridge consists of two or more crowns on either side of the gap (these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth) and a false tooth/teeth in between. The false teeth are termed as pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials.

Distinguishing Between Crowns and Bridges

While both crowns and bridges serve to restore dental structures, they have distinct applications:

- A crown is primarily used to cover an existing tooth or an implant.
- A bridge, however, is employed to fill the space created by missing teeth. It usually has crowns on either end, with pontics in between.

Benefits of Crowns and Bridges

Beyond their primary restorative functions, crowns and bridges offer several benefits:
  • Durability: They provide a long-term solution, aiding in functionality and preventing further deterioration of weakened teeth.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: They enhance the appearance of teeth, leading to a more confident smile.
  • Functionality: They restore the ability to chew and speak properly.
  • Maintaining Facial Shape: By preventing the remaining teeth from drifting out of position.

Watch and Learn More

For a visual understanding of crowns and bridges, check out this informative video:

Types and Materials

Types of Bridges

There are four primary types of dental bridges:
  • Traditional Bridges: The most common type, involving creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between.
  • Maryland Bridges: These are bonded to the existing teeth and don't require crowns.
  • Cantilever Bridges: Used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
  • Implant-supported Bridges: As the name suggests, these are supported by implants.

Types of Crowns

Dental crowns are available in various materials, including:
  • Porcelain: Popular for its natural appearance.
  • Resin: Less expensive but wears down over time.
  • Implant-supported Bridges: As the name suggests, these are supported by implants.
Further ReadingFor more in-depth information about crowns and bridges, consider reading this detailed article from Northislanddental.

Understanding the core differences

Crowns: More than just a cover

A crown is essentially a whole covering, commonly crafted from materials like porcelain, metal, or ceramic. This covering replaces the enamel layer of the tooth, providing both protection and aesthetic enhancement. It's bonded atop a healthy rooted tooth that requires strengthening. Notably, crowns are not just cosmetic solutions; they play a pivotal role in safeguarding the tooth from further damage, especially after procedures like root canal therapy.

Bridges: Bridging the Dental Gap

A bridge, in contrast, is a dental device that employs two crowns to bridge a gap in the smile caused by a missing tooth or teeth. These crowns cover the two adjacent teeth, termed as abutments. The central part of the bridge, known as the pontic, is a fabricated tooth designed to seamlessly fit in with the rest of your dental ensemble.

Who Benefits from Crowns and Bridges?

Ideal Candidates for Crowns

Since a crown functions as a superficial covering, the inner components of the tooth must be healthy enough to support it. Prior to recommending a crown, dentists often use X-rays to ensure the tooth's inner health. Moreover, patients who undergo root canal therapy frequently receive crowns as part of the treatment.

The Need for Bridges

Bridges cater to individuals with one or two missing teeth seeking a relatively secure and semi-permanent dental solution. They not only restore the aesthetic appeal of a smile but also aid in food processing, uphold the jawline's structure, and prevent adjacent teeth from misalignment. It's crucial that the abutment teeth are healthy enough to support the bridge. Generally, if someone is a suitable candidate for a crown, they're likely also fit for bridgework.

Durability of Crowns and Bridges

One of the standout features of crowns and bridges is their longevity. With diligent care and maintenance, a crown or bridge can last anywhere from five to 15 years. And the good news? When the time comes for replacement, your dentist can refit you with a new crown or bridge, ensuring another decade or more of a radiant smile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Crowns and Bridges

What materials are commonly used for crowns?

Crowns can be made from porcelain, resin, metal, and other materials, depending on the patient's needs and budget.

How do bridges differ from crowns?

While a crown is a covering for an existing tooth or implant, a bridge fills the space created by one or more missing teeth, using crowns on the adjacent teeth as support.

How long do crowns and bridges last?

With proper care, crowns and bridges can last between five to 15 years, and in some cases, even longer.

Are crowns and bridges covered by insurance?

Many dental insurance plans cover crowns and bridges, but it's essential to check with your specific provider for details.


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