Dental crowns vs bridges: which one is best for you?
Crowns and bridges are both dental restorations that we use when your teeth need work to improve their strength and structure. The good thing is that they can also make your teeth look and last better, too. At Shepherds Hill Dental Centre, we want to see you go home with a big smile on your face!
What are crowns?
Crowns are routine in dental work and are known by most of us as ‘caps’ but, actually, a crown is more like a jacket or helmet! It’s a tooth-shaped restoration (made from porcelain or gold) that’s slipped over the problem tooth to completely cover it.
The main reason we use a crown is to strengthen a tooth– holding it together so it won’t break. But a crown can also be used to alter a tooth’s size, shape or appearance.
It takes two visits to do this procedure:
- During the first visit,the tooth or teeth are carefully reshaped so the ‘cap’ can be put over it. Then an impression is taken and a temporary crown(to protect your prepared teeth) is made for you in the chair – all up, about an hour. The impression is sent to our dental technician, with whom we have a longstanding relationship, for construction of the crown or bridge.
- A week or so later, when the dentist has received the permanent crown from the lab, you go back and have it placed.
Why opt for crowns?
- Prevent a weak tooth from fracturing.Crowns combine function and strength with aesthetics, however we use them more for functional reasons – if you need to keep a tooth strong, hold it together and stop it from cracking.
- As part of a bridge.
- To strengthen a tooth that is an anchor for a partial denture.
- When you’re having dental implants.
What are bridges?
Dental bridges are exactly that – they bridge the gap left by a missing tooth. There are several types, but the most common, traditional bridge consists of a false filler tooth (pontic) that’s held in place by two crowns – one on either side of it – creating a three-tooth ‘bridge’. These crowns are called abutments.
As with crowns, we’ll be seeing you twice to put in a bridge:
- Your natural teeth on either side of the gap will be reshaped, so the crowns can fit over them. After an impression is taken of your teeth and a temporary bridge is put in to protect your exposed teeth, our technician makes the new bridge to be the right fit and colour for you (usually out of porcelain).
- When the permanent bridge is ready, it’s mounted on to the prepared teeth and bonded into position.
Why opt for bridges?
A bridge is one of the restorative choices for one to three missing teeth. It can:
- Help stop other teeth from shifting into the gap.
- Help you chew and speak properly again.
- Be a possible alternative to dental implants. Some patients don’t have enough healthy jawbone to allow a dental implant to be placed, so a bridge might be an option.Other patients may not be eligible for an implant because of their age. A bridge is a great way to replace missing teeth in these circumstances.
Looking after your crowns or bridges
With any kind of dental restoration, you really need to be on to your brushing and flossing, keeping your mouth healthy – that means removing trapped food and bacteria that can more easily get in and around your crowns or bridges.
You also need to check in with us regularly, so we can give your crowns or bridges a professional clean and make sure everything’s going well. Look after them and you should get a good few decades or more out of them.
There are several options to fixing a problem tooth and we’re happy to discuss the pros and cons, affordability and anything to do with your particular situation. Contact us to request an appointment on 08 8278 6858