Bridges and Crowns
Tooth bridges and dental crowns are fixed dental prostheses which repair or replace damaged teeth. Unlike dentures, which can be removed for daily cleaning, tooth bridges and dental crowns are fixed in place and can only be removed by your dentist. Bridges and crowns work differently both in what they do and in how they are installed, and which one is the best choice for you depends on your individual needs.
Missing teeth leave gaps in the smile, which may cause both aesthetic and oral health problems. To fix this, a dentist may install a tooth bridge to fill the empty space and replace the lost tooth. A tooth bridge is an artificial tooth or teeth which are anchored to the remaining natural teeth on either side. A variety of materials may be used, and your dentist will help ensure your artificial teeth match the color of your natural teeth.
While tooth bridges look like natural teeth, they may not be as strong or resilient and thus your dentist may instruct you to be careful and avoid chewing hard materials like ice.
Whereas tooth bridges replace the whole tooth, dental crowns are artificial caps or coverings installed on existing damaged teeth. In addition to protecting the tooth from further damage crowns also strengthen the tooth and may approve its appearance or alignment. As with tooth bridges, dental crowns come in a variety of materials and can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Your dentist may recommend a dental crown for a number of reasons, including:
- Replacing a large filling
- Protecting or restoring a weak or fractured tooth
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering a discolored or misshapen tooth
- Protecting a tooth that has undergone a root canal
A Lasting Solution
Tooth bridges and dental crowns are intended to be long-lasting solutions—properly cared for they can last a lifetime. However, damage or displacement may occur particularly if you don’t follow your dentist’s guidelines for care. Likewise, you should observe good oral hygiene practices including a daily brushing and flossing regimen. Your dentist will give you detailed instructions about how to care for your prosthesis and what to do if damage occurs.