Knowing the Difference Between a Crown and a Bridge

If you have a cracked, broken, or missing tooth, even smiling for a photo can be uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a number of ways to restore your smile to its natural beauty with oral prosthetics such as bridges and crowns. 

Here at VidaDental in Doral, Florida, Dr. Kenia Cuevas has over 20 years of experience restoring and enhancing smiles so that our patients can regain their confidence. Here’s how to find out whether you might need a dental crown or bridge to replace a missing tooth.

Dental crowns

If you have a single tooth that’s discolored, cracked, or broken, we generally recommend using a dental crown. A dental crown is a thin cap made of strong material that sits on top of your damaged tooth and looks just like your own healthy teeth. 

How dental crowns work

Dental crowns cover the entire portion of your tooth that’s exposed above the gumline. Because we use porcelain crowns, they blend perfectly into your smile while also protecting your tooth from any further damage. 

In addition to being used to repair damaged teeth, dental crowns are also used to treat large cavities, strengthen weak teeth, cover dental implants, and support dental bridges

The dental crown process

During your dental crown appointment, we begin by thoroughly examining your tooth in order to ensure a crown is the best solution for your needs. Then, we anesthetize your affected tooth and gums before reshaping your damaged tooth. Your tooth must be reshaped in order for the crown to slide onto it seamlessly. 

After reshaping the tooth, we take an impression to send to a dental lab. If needed, we may give you a temporary crown to wear while the lab makes a new crown that perfectly fits on your reshaped tooth. 

When your new crown arrives in about a week, we permanently cement your crown in place, restoring your smile and protecting the underlying tooth. 

Dental bridges

Dental bridges are often used when you’re missing one or more teeth, causing a gap in your smile. Dental bridges are usually made up of an artificial tooth ( known as a pontic) surrounded by two dental crowns on either side, forming a bridge shape. 

Traditional bridge

If you’re missing one tooth with two healthy teeth on either side, we usually recommend a traditional bridge. For this type of bridge, we reshape your two healthy teeth and send impressions to the lab. After about a week, a custom-made bridge is created for you. 

We place this bridge on your two reshaped teeth, being careful to ensure that the artificial tooth in the middle completely fills the gap in your smile. We then bond the crowns to your reshaped teeth in order to keep the bridge in place and prevent your other teeth from moving into the gap. 

Other types of bridges

Depending on your circumstances, you may need other types of bridges. 

For example, if you only have one tooth near the gap in your smile, you may need a cantilever bridge that uses only one healthy tooth for support rather than the normal two. 

Maryland bridges can be placed on front teeth as they use metal frames hidden behind the teeth for support. 

If you’re missing a number of teeth, an implant-supported bridge might be appropriate as it’s attached to an implant that’s embedded in your jawbone. 

How long do crowns and bridges last?

Regardless of the type of bridge, you can expect it to last around 5-10 years with careful hygiene and good care. Dental crowns can last 5-15 years as well, depending on your hygiene practices and the amount of daily wear-and-tear. 

When it comes to dental health, everyone deserves to feel confident and enjoy healthy teeth. Call our office or request an appointment online today so that you can feel good about smiling again. 

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