Bridges and crowns are both fixed devices that are cemented onto existing teeth and, unlike dentures or partial dentures, they can only be removed by a dentist. Both bridges and crowns are restorative dental treatments used to either replace lost teeth (bridges) or repair existing teeth (crowns), restoring the patient’s confidence and their ability to chew and bite normally again.
Having gaps in your teeth or having teeth which have very large fillings, are discoloured or damaged can destroy your self confidence and stop you from smiling and laughing. Crowns and bridges are the easy solution to this problem, allowing your teeth to be restored to their former glory. They both become a permanent part of your mouth, just needing the same flossing and cleaning as your other teeth.
What is a Dental Crown?
A crown is used to completely cover a damaged or eroded tooth, restoring its strength, improving its shape or appearance and allowing the patient to bite and chew normally. A crown can be used on any tooth that still has enough material remaining to work with.
A dental crown can be porcelain or ceramic, allowing the dental technician to match it to the colour of your teeth. Crowns can also be made from acrylic, gold, metal alloys or, alternatively, porcelain bonded to metal, which ensures the tooth has strength while still being able to match the colour to existing teeth.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is used to replace a missing tooth or teeth, using the adjacent teeth to hold the replacement tooth/teeth in place. A bridge typically consists of three or more crowns which are attached lineally. The two outer crowns are secured over the teeth on each side of the gap left by the missing tooth/teeth, while the remaining crown/s fill the gap.
Replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge ensures that the surrounding teeth don’t shift to try and fill the space, thus preventing any problems with your bite. The shape of your face is also preserved by filling those gaps.
Which One is Better for You?
The decision on whether a crown or a bridge is most suitable for you depends on your individual situation. Generally, dental crowns are perfect for restoring individual teeth, while bridges can replace one more missing teeth.
Crowns – most common use cases
- Excellent choice for affected teeth with large fillings
- Used for teeth that have had root canal treatment
- Used for discoloured teeth
- Used for misshapen teeth
- Protection for a weak tooth
- Repair of a fractured tooth
- Used for dental implants
- Used to attach a bridge
- Used for building up a tooth that been worn down
Bridge – most common use cases
- Used for replacing one or more missing teeth
- Used to bridge the gap when a tooth has disintegrated and needs extraction
- Prevents teeth that surround a toothless gap from moving
Both crowns and bridges can last a lifetime if the patient follows a good dental hygiene routine. Many studies quote the lifetime of dental bridges and crowns as being between 15 and 30 years.