Both dental crowns and bridges are fixed dental restorations used for protecting damaged teeth or replacing missing teeth. However, the choice of using a bridge or crown as a dental restoration depends on the problem which is to be addressed.
What are dental crowns?
A dental crown is a tooth-like cap made of porcelain, resin, ceramic or gold and is used to cover a damaged tooth. Placing a crown over a damaged tooth restores its size, shape, functionality, and appearance. When placed over a damaged tooth the crown covers the entire visible portion of the teeth above the gum line.
When are Dental Crowns Required?Protecting a worn out tooth
Crowns are often placed over teeth to protect them from further wearing out and decay. The reasons behind the decay and damage are treated before the crown is placed over a tooth. Dentists may also recommend using a crown over discolored teeth to enhance the appearance of the smile.Replacement for repeated fillings
Repeated fillings of a tooth can increase the risk of fractures and de-bonding. Additionally, excess tooth structure maybe lost in the process which can irritate the nerves and cause inflammation. The dentist may recommend using a crown instead to protect the loss of teeth structure.Protection of teeth from cracking and fractures
In case a patient discovers cracks or fine lines on their teeth or experience sensitivity when chewing on hard, sticky food products then they may have developed deep cracks in their teeth. Crowns can be used to protect the cusps of the teeth from fracturing and splitting apart.
Crowns are also leveraged as anchors for a bridge and for covering teeth filled after a root canal.
How are crowns placed?
The preliminary steps of placing a crown involve the examination of the tooth on which it is to be placed. In case the cause of tooth deterioration is a fracture or severe tooth decay, a root canal is performed before placing a crown over the tooth. Post the examination, the tooth over which a crown is to be placed is filed from the top and sides. The dentist then uses dental putty to take an impression of the tooth that is to receive a crown. While the impression is sent to a dental lab for preparation of the permanent crown, a temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth. In the following visits to the dentist, the permanent crown is cemented into place if its shape, size, and color fit the requirements.
What is a dental bridge?
As the name suggests, dental bridges are used to bridge the gap between two teeth left due to one or more missing teeth. A false tooth is the main component of a dental bridge and is held in place by abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Abutments may be natural teeth or may be restorations put in place to anchor a bridge. Dental bridges are generally made using porcelain, resin or ceramics which have a color similar to that of natural teeth and can blend in naturally. The different types of dental bridges available include traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, and Maryland bonded bridges.
Why are dental bridges used?
Missing teeth can lead to the manifestation of an assortment of oral problems which can be avoided using dental bridges. Patients can encounter the following problems due to missing teeth:
- Missing teeth can give patients a distraught smile denting their self-confidence substantially.
- Chewing with missing teeth can be uncomfortable and problematic
- The gap created by missing teeth can cause other healthy teeth to drift from their position impacting the shape of the patient’s face.
- Gaps created by missing teeth are at an increased risk of developing gum problems.
How are dental bridges placed?
When using a bridge for restoration the dentist first prepares the abutment or supporting teeth. Generally, crowns are placed over natural teeth to serve as anchors for the bridge. The next step in the procedure involves taking an impression of the missing tooth or teeth which is sent to the dental laboratory for the preparation of the pontics. A temporary bridge is then placed to protect the abutment teeth. In the following visits to the dentist, the temporary bridge is removed and the permanent bridge is set in place. Multiple adjustments may be required to fit the bridge in place, adjust the bite, and check the stability of the overall restoration.
Our team at West Lake View Dental specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of a variety of dental ailments. This includes dental exams, professional dental cleanings, root canal treatments or cosmetic enhancements like teeth whitening, Botox treatment, and teeth contouring. We also utilize the latest technology like digital X-rays to devise the best treatment plan for you. If you are looking for a smile makeover or full mouth reconstruction, visit West Lake View Dental for the best dental experience.