A crown is a “restoration” that covers a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown provides strength and improves the appearance of the tooth it “covers”. It is placed on an individual tooth much like a thimble over your finger. It is a stationary, custom made cover for any tooth that has sustained significant loss of structure.
Reasons for crowns:
- A crown is needed to protect a tooth that just had a root canal because these teeth tend to become brittle and are more apt to fracture
- To protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- To hold a cracked tooth together and seal the tooth from decay
- Cover discolored teeth
- Restore a weakened tooth
- Improve cosmetic appearance
- To support the replacement tooth/teeth in a bridge
- To strengthen a weaken tooth structure due to large fillings
- To restore and maintain the natural bite
The crown is the best choice at avoiding further problems and to make the tooth as strong as possible to try to prevent further tooth damage. There is no guarantee of an ideal outcome. Depending on the severity of the damage to the tooth there may be post op sensitivity or the tooth may need a root canal.
A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby “bridging” the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented into place next to the “abutment” teeth–the surrounding teeth on either side of the space, or “span.” Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient.
A fixed bridge is a device that typically consists of three units–a pontic (a false tooth) fused between two crowns that are cemented onto the abutment teeth. If you are missing any teeth and are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you may be a good candidate for a bridge. A bridge is the most natural choice to fill the space in your mouth left by missing teeth.
If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause further tooth loss.
Reasons for a bridge:
- To correct an altered bite
- To improve your chewing ability and speech
- To safeguard your dental health
- To improve your appearance by preventing the collapse of facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last as many as 8-10 years, or even longer. For more information on crowns, bridges, or restorative dentistry, please contact us!
Source: American Dental Association, “Fixed Bridges and Crowns”