What’s the Difference Between a Dental Crown and a Bridge?

Maintaining your dental health is one of the most important things you can do. You only have one set of teeth and they should last your whole lifetime! When you have issues with your teeth, it can affect everything else that you’re doing until they’re fixed. Trust in your dentist, as well as routine dental care, is necessary to maintain proper dental health.

However, there may be times when dental treatments are somewhat complicated and understanding the differences can make a big difference. A good example would be the difference between a crown and a bridge.

What is a Crown?
A crown is a type of dental application that is used to cover or cap a damaged or badly broken tooth. The goal is not to remove a permanent tooth if possible. To save a tooth, sometimes the dentist will cap the tooth with a synthetic cap called a crown. A crown can serve many purposes, but the main ones are to strengthen the compromised tooth, protect it from any further damage or decay, and restore the tooth’s appearance.

The dentist might recommend a crown whenever the integrity of the tooth has been compromised. A tooth can become compromised in many ways. A crown can help protect a weak tooth from cracking or to cover a dental implant or root canal procedure.

The dentist will drill the existing tooth down to a small peg, then the crown, which is shaped and colored exactly like a tooth, is fit snuggly over the prepared tooth and sealed with an adhesive. This restores the alignment of the adjacent teeth and protects the existing tooth from further damage. Crowns are extremely strong because they are made of durable materials such as ceramic, acrylic, porcelain, and metal alloys.

What is a Bridge?
Another type of treatment is called a bridge. A bridge is usually recommended when one or more teeth is missing. The gap left by missing teeth can cause a wide variety of problems including a bad bite and shifting teeth. In more extreme cases, the missing teeth can lead to gum disease and even TMJ disorders. A prosthetic tooth (a pontic) is anchored in the space between two adjacent teeth (abutments) to create a natural looking appearance. Bridges are cemented to natural teeth or implants. There is no root or remaining tooth with a bridge. It is simply a false tooth that is anchored to other teeth.

Concerning durability, both the bridge and the crown are basically equal. Each serves a different purpose. Mainly there must be at least a part of a tooth available for you to get a crown. With no tooth, the bridge would be the obvious choice. The price of each is about the same as the other, as well. Bridges and crowns both add strength to the teeth, as well as improve appearance. A dentist can make the best recommendation about which treatment is appropriate.

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