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What is the Difference Between Dental Crowns and Bridges?

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A 3D image of gums and teeth and dental crown replacement.

From your teeth to your child’s smile, there’s no replacement for good oral health. Unfortunately, some of us may experience dental issues in our lifetime that may affect your teeth’s appearance or functionality. Regular exams and cleanings help, but sometimes you need an extra step.

Dental crowns and bridges are common dental solutions for restoring tooth structure and function. Crowns can replace a large filling or protect a weak tooth, while bridges can fill gaps left by missing teeth. Each has its purpose, and your dentist can help determine which will work best for your dental needs.

What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns, also known as “tooth caps,” are used for dental restoration to cover a damaged, broken, or misshapen tooth. A crown can also protect a tooth after a root canal or provide extra support for a dental bridge.

Crowns are made of various materials, such as porcelain or ceramic, and can be made to match the colour of your natural teeth. Some people prefer crowns made from gold or metal alloys and may choose these materials for their appearance or strength, especially on the back molars, which must withstand substantial pressure while biting. If you require a crown that’s durable but still blends in with the rest of your smile, your dentist can use porcelain fused to metal. These are less likely to break or chip.

A crown functions just like a natural tooth, and you need to care for it in the same way by brushing and flossing every day. With proper care, your crown can last for about 10 years or longer.

Some of the benefits of getting a dental crown include:

  • Preserving a tooth’s structure
  • Helping prevent further damage
  • Providing natural-looking aesthetics
  • Improving your bite

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges replace one or more missing teeth. A bridge consists of artificial teeth placed between 2 crowns located on the adjacent teeth or by using dental implants. It “bridges” the gap where the teeth are missing, restoring your smile’s natural look and structure.

While bridges may be considered cosmetic, missing teeth can do more than change how your smile looks. Gaps can cause your remaining teeth to shift and affect your bite. Missing teeth can also increase your risk of oral health problems, such as gum disease or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Which One Do You Need?

If you have a severely damaged, broken, or decayed tooth, a dental crown may be your best option to protect and strengthen its structure. However, a dental bridge may be more suitable if you have one or more missing teeth.

You don’t have to make this decision alone! Your dentist can recommend a procedure after examining your surrounding teeth and jaw.

Long-term Benefits

Dental crowns and bridges can provide long-term benefits in terms of functionality and aesthetics. Hence, the difference depends on which best suits your health needs. They can both give you a restored smile and improved bite and reduce the risk of other dental problems

Same-Day Restoration with CEREC Technology

CEREC stands for chairside economical restoration of esthetic ceramics and is an innovative technology that empowers dentists to create custom restorations right in their office.

Traditionally, crowns and bridges require multiple steps and visits and involve taking impressions of your teeth and sending them off to a lab to get made. The whole process can take up to 2 weeks, but with CEREC, it can all be done in a single appointment.

Using an intraoral scanner to take digital impressions of the teeth, your dentist will create a 3D model of the tooth using CAD/CAM technology, which is then sent to a milling machine that crafts the crown or bridge from a ceramic block.

CEREC technology eliminates the need for messy and uncomfortable impressions that often take longer than the actual procedure. Because the mill fabricates the crown or bridge from a solid ceramic block, the final product is durable and can be a more natural match for your natural tooth colour.

Even if you prefer a replacement tooth made of a different material, CEREC can make a well-fitting temporary cap while you wait for the permanent crown.

Restore Your Smile Today

While dental crowns and bridges serve slightly different purposes, they both have the same goal: to restore your bite’s natural structure and function. At Newton Smiles Dental, we’ve helped many people achieve the smile they always wanted with our eye on new technology and straightforward approach. So if you have damaged or missing teeth, book an appointment with us and ask if a crown or bridge is right for you!

Written by Dr. Anilkumar Madivalar Gopi

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