Our adult teeth are the last set of teeth we get. Ideally, they would last our entire lives, but lets face it; life happens! Whether it’s a hockey accident or not enough brushing, there comes a time that you may lose a permanent tooth. At least, there are options available should that day come. That’s why we’re going to explore the difference between two of the most popular choices for filling the gap: dental crowns and bridges.
HOW CROWNS WORK
Often referred to as a “cap”, crowns are a prosthetic, customized for your mouth. They cover the remains of a damaged tooth that’s still fixed in its position. It’s designed to fit perfectly between your other teeth and is coloured to match the shade of your teeth. That means no one will be able to tell it’s a crown. Once in place, the crown strengthens the tooth and you’ll regain normal function of your mouth.
It will likely take two visits with your dentist. During the first visit, you’ll review the options available; your dentist will take your bite, gum tissue, and your finances into consideration before making a recommendation. If you choose to move forward with the crown, the remaining tooth will be trimmed down to ensure a strong fit with the crown. An impression will be taken, meaning you bite into a pasty substance for about a minute. You’ll also receive a temporary crown to help until the new one arrives.
Your crown will be made from porcelain, acrylic or ceramic, to look as natural as possible in your mouth. There are gold or metal options available; they work and feel great and are cost-effective, but not as popular these days because of their appearance.
You’ll visit the dentist a second time, when it’s ready. The temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is fitted, ensuring it’s comfortable for you. Be honest with your dentist and feel free to take your time because once it’s fitted, it’s cemented into place.
HOW BRIDGES WORK
A crown is a great choice to repair a single damaged tooth. A bridge, however, is meant to replace one or more missing teeth. If parts of the teeth remain, they will be filed down, your dentist might also use implants at the outer edges of the gap. The replacement teeth are called “pontics”, they’ll span the space where the teeth are missing.
The steps involved in making the bridge are similar to a crown. The dentist will take an impression to build an exact mold for the bridge. A temporary crown or bridge will be used to cover the area, while you’re waiting for your bridge.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CROWNS AND BRIDGES
A crown is like a cap on top of a patient’s damaged or decaying tooth. It’s placed over a dental implant – a metal fixture that has been surgically fastened to your jawbone. The bone fuses to the metal during a process called osseointegration.
A bridge is much more commonly used to replace multiple missing teeth. The two may be used together sometimes; crowns can be placed at each end of the bridge for extra support and strength. The bridge will then cover the gap, protecting the gum tissue below.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CROWN OR BRIDGE LAST
The materials used for your crown or bridge won’t decay like natural teeth, however, plaque and tartar can still build up, causing gum disease or decay on other natural teeth. Be sure to brush and floss daily and attend all your routine dental exams so they can be cleaned and examined. Both crowns and bridges have the potential to last the rest of your life, as long as you care for them properly.