Crowns and bridges play two very different roles. When you have a tooth that is heavily decayed or damaged you may require a crown or bridge to cover and strengthen the tooth. A crown is placed over an existing tooth or implant and can also be used to improve the aesthetic appearance of your teeth, whereas a bridge is used when you are missing more than one tooth.
Crowns are made from gold, ceramic or porcelain. Ceramic or porcelain will most likely be used for front teeth as they can be made to match the colour of your existing teeth. Gold is very strong and is therefore still being used for back teeth even with advances in dental treatments.
Crowns will be recommended by your dentist for the following reasons:
• To replace a large filling
• To prevent further fracturing
• To restore a severely fractured tooth
• To cover a dental implant
• To cover a stained or misshaped tooth
• As the final step to a root canal treatment
Bridges are affixed to neighbouring teeth or onto an implant. “Wings” are used to affix a bridge to neighbouring teeth. Implants are used in the case where the tooth and root cannot be saved. Bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth, as the gaps left behind can lead to serious dental issues such as causing the remaining teeth to rotate and shift. This can cause your bite to be “off” which can cause further damage including temporal mandibular joint pain.
The procedure to make crowns and bridges is the same. Impressions of your teeth must be made to provide a mould. As well, for crowns, the existing tooth must be reduced by grinding to allow for the crown to fit over the tooth comfortably.