Dental crowns and bridges are two popular procedures for restoring damaged or missing teeth. These treatments involve attaching dental devices made of different materials. While both restorations can improve your smile, there are distinct differences between them that may affect the outcome of your treatment.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns can be made of metal, porcelain fused to metal (PFM), all-porcelain, or zirconia materials. They cover the entire visible portion of your tooth and act as a cap to protect it from further damage. With proper care and regular dental checkups, crowns can last up to 15 years before needing to be replaced.
Pros and Cons of Dental Crowns
- They protect weakened, damaged teeth from further damage.
- They cover severely discolored teeth.
- They cover damaged, cracked, fractured, and misshapen teeth.
- They can help close minor teeth gaps.
- They can last up to 15 years or longer if properly maintained.
- They can be expensive
- A part of your healthy natural teeth will be removed for the crown to be fitted on.
- They may last longer but also be prone to breakage if not taken care of properly, requiring emergency dental care (go here for more info).
- You need 2 or 3 dental visits to complete the process.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are prosthetic devices that replace one or more missing teeth. They are typically made up of two crowns and a false tooth, a pontic, between them. The two crowns fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the gap created by the missing tooth/teeth, while the pontic is fused onto them to fill the gap. Bridges can be made from fused metal (PFM), all-porcelain, zirconia, or gold alloy.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
- They restore your smile and improve your ability to chew food properly.
- They help prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of place.
- They are less expensive than dental implants—another tooth replacement treatment.
- They don’t require too much grinding of a natural tooth.
- You can combine it with other procedures, like clear braces, to align teeth (see this orthodontist in Suwanee GA, to know more about how it works).
- They cannot last as long as dental implants.
- They require you to sacrifice the healthy teeth adjacent to the gap.
- The metal used in the bridge may be visible if not well-matched with your natural teeth color.
- You need two or more dental visits to complete the process.
- They are costly.
- Maryland bridges can damage the existing teeth because of the metal clasps that hold them in place.
Differences Between Dental Crowns and Bridges
The main difference between dental crowns and bridges is that while a crown covers an entire tooth to prevent further damage, a bridge replaces missing tooth/teeth with artificial ones (pontic) fused between two crowns. Also, crowns are more durable, lasting up to 15 years or more with the right maintenance. On the other hand, bridges need to be replaced more often, usually every 5 to 10 years.
Additionally, crowns require the removal of a portion of the healthy natural tooth to fit the crown, while bridges don’t need such an alteration. However, they rely on the adjacent teeth for support, so those teeth must be healthy enough to accommodate the bridge. In terms of cost, crowns may be slightly more expensive than bridges in some cases.
Whether you need quality bridges for your teeth or crowns, you must choose a reliable and experienced dental care provider to ensure your treatment is done safely and correctly.