Cosmetic dentistry is concerned with improving the appearance of your smile. Two restorations we use to restore the looks and functionality of your teeth are crowns and bridges. Bridges usually contain crowns, but crowns can be used without bridges. Confused? Let’s clear that up by finding out the similarities and differences in a crown and a bridge and how each is used.
What Is a Crown?
Basically, a crown is a “cap” that encloses a tooth to restore its shape and size after it has been damaged or had decay removed. Crowns strengthen, improve the appearance, and restore functionality to the affected tooth.
During preparation for the crown, any decay is removed and the shape of the tooth is modified to accept the crown. Damaged or misshapen teeth are modified in the same manner. Then an impression is made and sent to a lab for the crown to be made. A temporary crown may be placed on the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is returned. Once it is back from the lab, the crown is fitted to the prepared tooth structure and cemented into place.
What Is a Bridge?
A bridge fills the gap that is created by missing teeth. The most common bridge is made of a pontic, or false tooth, connected to two crowns that are placed on the adjoining teeth to hold the false tooth in place.
This too, is a two-step process. The adjoining teeth are prepared for the crown and an impression is made for the bridge. The impression is used to create the bridge, which is then permanently anchored by cementing the crowns in place.
Similarities and Differences
Both the crown and bridge improve the appearance of your smile. When composite crowns are used, either by themselves or in a bridge, the attractive natural look often makes the prosthetic invisible to others. Both the crown and bridge are long lasting treatments that are cemented in place and not removable. With proper care, both can last decades.
The difference between the two is in when they are used. A crown is used when there is a tooth left to save. It can correct misshapen teeth, repair extensive decay, and provide a cosmetic solution to cracked, chipped, or stained teeth. When one or more teeth are missing, a bridge is used, because in addition to using crowns for stability, it contains one or more pontics to fill in the space left by missing teeth.
If you have any questions about how a bridge or dental crown can help improve your smile or you are ready to get the smile you’ve always dreamed about, contact us today at Marcus Dental Practice to schedule an appointment! We are conveniently located in The Loop in Downtown Chicago, Illinois.