Dental crowns and bridges are two common dental restorations available to improve the appearance and function of your smile. While both can correct many cosmetic imperfections, they each have distinctive uses and effects on oral health. Understanding the differences between these two procedures and their benefits and drawbacks can help you decide which treatment is best for you.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are tooth-like caps covering the entire visible portion of an existing tooth to restore its shape, size, and appearance. They can often be made from porcelain, metal, or ceramic materials and are used to treat cracked teeth and large cavities or when root canal therapy is needed.
Be sure to ask your dentist how crowns can help your condition, the type of material they use to make crowns, and whether it will match your other teeth’s color.
Pros and Cons of Dental Crowns
- They can cover cracked, chipped, and misshapen teeth to look natural.
- They can cover severely discolored teeth.
- They can cover and protect weakened teeth from further damage.
- They can help restore the structure of a tooth after a root canal.
- They can last up to 15 years or more with proper maintenance.
- They can be expensive.
- Your dentist must remove a portion of your healthy, natural teeth for the crown to fit.
- They may be long-lasting but can also be prone to breakage, which requires emergency dental care. You may visit Suwanee family dentistry to learn more about how it works.
- They require two or three visits to your dentist to complete the process.
What Are Dental Bridges?
These are artificial teeth attached to the adjacent natural teeth to fill the gaps between them. They are usually made of porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), gold alloy, ceramic alloys, or resin composites. They are typically used to replace one or more missing teeth and improve speech clarity and chewing function.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
- They fill in gaps between teeth caused by damaged teeth.
- They can help prevent your teeth from shifting and misaligning.
- They can reduce the risk of gum disease, decay, and cavities in the surrounding area.
- They are not as expensive as dental implants.
- Compared to dental crowns, they’re not as invasive and require less tooth structure to be removed.
- Compared to other dental treatments, dental bridges don’t disqualify you from getting clear braces to correct the misalignment of teeth (see this link for more info).
- They can cause gum irritation if not fitted correctly.
- They are shorter-lived than dental implants, usually lasting 5-10 years with proper care.
- They do not prevent further damage to the adjacent teeth that act as anchors for the bridge.
- The metal framework used makes Maryland bridges more prone to breakage.
What Are the Differences Between Dental Crowns and Bridges
The main difference between dental crowns and bridges is the way they are applied. Dental crowns encase a damaged or decayed tooth entirely, while a bridge essentially “bridges” the gap between two teeth. Bridges also use adjacent teeth as anchors for artificial teeth. In addition, crowns differ from bridges in that they can be used to restore larger cavities, weakened or fractured teeth, or even to change the size and shape of a tooth.
In terms of look and feel, dental crowns are stronger and more durable than bridges due to their full coverage design. Bridges typically require less tooth removal than crowns due to their smaller framework design, making them less invasive options when compared to crowns.
As a Summary
Dental crowns and bridges each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the best treatment depends on your situation and preferred outcome. Speak with your dentist to determine the best option for your needs.