Dental crowns and bridges are restorative procedures that restore teeth damaged by decay or injury and missing teeth. While each procedure is distinct, they serve the same purpose: restoring your smile with a more youthful and aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Crowns and bridges are made by taking an impression of your mouth and sending it to a dental lab to create a custom-made piece that fits over your existing teeth perfectly.
Keep reading to learn more about dental crowns and bridges, what they are, their benefits, and how to care for them.
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a covering that fits over the surface of your tooth. It is cemented in place to protect and strengthen your tooth. It covers a tooth damaged by decay or trauma or restores its shape after a root canal procedure.
The purpose of a dental crown is to restore and strengthen teeth showing signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, chips, or fractures. They are also used to improve the appearance of a tooth discolored by decay or injury.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed dental prosthesis that fills the space of a missing tooth or teeth. It is held in place by surrounding teeth or implants. A dental bridge is made of porcelain, metal, or plastic.
It is held in place by neighboring teeth on either side of the gap left by your missing tooth or teeth. A bridge allows you to eat and speak normally without any noticeable difference in your smile.
Types of Dental Bridges
The main types of dental bridges include:
Traditional dental bridges are the common type. They are secured to healthy teeth on each side of a missing tooth. They have three parts: the pontic, abutment, and crown. The pontic is a false tooth that attaches to the two adjacent natural teeth. The abutment is a metal post attached to the back of your natural tooth and supports the pontic.
A crown covers the entire structure and looks like a normal tooth. You may need to have a traditional dental bridge if you have lost one or more teeth due to decay or injury.
Cantilever Dental Bridges
Cantilever dental bridges are similar to traditional bridges in appearance, but they’re held in place by one crown instead of two, as with traditional bridges. This type of bridge is used when there’s enough room for only one crown on each side without causing further damage or discomfort to nearby teeth.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
Bridges bonded to abutments using Maryland adhesives are similar to traditional metal-bonded bridges but use a different adhesive system for attaching crowns to the abutments. The Maryland bonding technology allows for better retention of the crowns than traditional metal bonds because it does not require drilling into the abutment teeth.
Benefits of Dental Crowns and Dental Bridges
Dental bridges and crowns are made from high-quality materials that last for years without needing replacement or repair. You won’t have to worry about losing them in an accident or having them fall out because they’re not properly attached.
A dental bridge or crown restores your confidence and makes it easier for you to eat, speak clearly, and laugh freely. Crowns improve your teeth’ strength, shape, and appearance, making them more resistant to chipping, and cracking. Dental therapeutic procedures also prevent further damage to existing teeth.
How Long Do Crown and Bridge Last?
The durability of a crown or bridge depends on several factors. The material used, the health of your mouth, and the care you give it. With proper care, they can last for over ten years.
Here are some of the things that affect crowns and bridge durability.
The Material Used
Crowns are made of different materials, including gold alloys, porcelain, and metal-ceramic composites. Each material has pros and cons: gold is durable but more expensive than other options. Ceramic is more brittle than other materials, and metal-ceramic composites offer a balance between the two.
Your Oral Hygiene
The health of your mouth and gums affects the longevity of your crown or bridge. As in:
- Inflammation in your gums could wear down the structure faster.
- The frequency with which you brush and floss your teeth. You should brush twice a day.
- The health of your gums and jawbone at the time of replacement.
How to Care for Your Crowns and Bridges
Brush and floss regularly; you should brush daily after eating or drinking anything sugary or acidic. This helps prevent staining and build-up between your gum line and the crown, which can lead to decay underneath. It would be best if you also visited your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning to remove plaque buildup in hard-to-reach areas around your crowns.
You should also avoid chewing hard foods, which can damage the tooth beneath the crown. If a crown comes loose or falls off, replace it with your dentist or dental technician. A loose crown can cause pain and infection.
Is Eating with Crowns and Bridges Difficult?
Eating with crowns and bridges is not difficult; you get used to it with a little practice.
A good way to begin eating with your crown or bridge is by practicing softer foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce, or yogurt. These foods are easy to bite and don’t require much chewing.
Avoid chewing on hard foods like apples or raw carrots.
Pros and Cons of Dental Crowns
- Improved appearance.
- Protection from further damage.
- Better function.
- They’re durable, lasting on average 10 to 15 years.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Crowns are not as strong as natural teeth.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
- Dental bridges are an easy solution for missing teeth.
- They improve your speech.
- Getting a dental bridge doesn’t require surgery.
- Dental bridges are expensive.
- Dental bridges have to be replaced eventually.
Dental crowns and bridges are the common ways to restore a smile. They’re both permanent solutions, so there may be better options than this if you’re looking for a quick fix. But if you want something that lasts, these two options can help restore your teeth to their former glory.