Crown or Bridge? A Cosmetic Dentist Answers

Dental Crowns and Dental Bridges Milwaukee, WI

There are many options available when it comes to dental care — including crowns and bridges. Below is some information to demystify the similarities and differences between dental crowns and bridges.

What is a dental crown?

Think of a dental crown as a hat that protects your head against the sun. It covers the entire tooth and protects it against damage and deterioration. Crowns are essential for restoring functionality to the tooth, ensuring that you can still bite and chew after suffering tooth damage. The dentist bonds crown permanently on the tooth to ensure regular brushing and flossing after the placement procedure.

There are different situations when a crown is necessary, and each is unique to the patient. The dentist will examine your condition and recommend suitable restoration options, including any advantages and disadvantages.

The following are situations where a dental crown is necessary:

  • If a large portion of the tooth’s midriff is lost, a crown may be the alternative to avert possible fracture or future impairment.
  • When a tooth suffers breakage or fracture, the crown can fortify the tooth structure during chewing and biting.
  • If the fractured tooth breaks beneath the jawline from neglect and overuse, the tooth is irreparable and will need to be extracted.
  • When the cusp (pointy edge) of the tooth is missing, a dental crown may be the only suitable alternative, since a filling is nearly impossible.

Crowns can also be used to improve the shape and appearance of crooked teeth without orthodontic treatment.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is three or more fused crowns. If one tooth between two other teeth gets lost, a bridge is the best restoration option for the lost tooth.

Dentists may recommend a bridge when the two adjacent teeth already have crowns and a prosthetic tooth lies in between. There is a gap beneath the pontic (false crown), but the bridge has a similar appearance and function as a healthy tooth.

Materials for dental crowns and bridges

Porcelain, gold alloy, metals or a combination of these materials can be used for manufacturing crowns and bridges. Each of the materials has its pros and cons. Factors to consider when choosing the material include strength, appearance, cost and durability. The dentist will discuss options with you during your appointment.

Gold is considered the strongest and most appropriate for heavy grinders, but the appearance is a significant drawback because it stands out. Porcelain crowns are of different types and usually have the best performance. The zirconia type is stronger and preferred for the back teeth. Feldspathic porcelain is usually used for front teeth.

Sometimes, porcelain can be infused with gold to make a crown that has the strength of gold and the aesthetics of porcelain.

How to care for bridges and crowns

Brushing a bridge is similar to brushing your normal teeth. Flossing is a tad more difficult. When flossing, a floss threader must be used to access the teeth crevices and under the pontic.

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