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What’s the Difference? Crowns vs. Bridges

What’s the Difference? Crowns vs. Bridges

Posted by Kennedy Heights on Jul 6 2021, 07:46 PM

Many patients seeking dental restoration ask us about the difference between crowns and bridges. As both devices make use of prosthetics to restore a patient’s smile, each appliance is used for a different case and applied differently.

Wondering what the difference is between crowns and bridges? Or are you unsure about which dental appliance is right for you?

In this blog, we’ll provide a rundown on both dental crowns and dental bridges, highlighting the definition and special needs for each device. We’ll also review how each product is applied when you visit our dental team. Keep reading to learn more!

What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that are fitted overtop of a damaged tooth, helping to restore its size and shape. When placed, a dental crown will fully encase the visible portion of a tooth that can be seen at and above the gumline. In all cases, crowns are manufactured in a lab and are designed from impressions made from a patient’s jaw and bite.

Crowns are typically made from either porcelain, metal, or a combination of the two materials. It’s more common to find crowns made from porcelain, as it’s the material that is most durable and that most closely resembles the colour and appearance of natural teeth. It is critical that crowns are made from durable and strong materials, as they must be built to withstand the daily strains of biting and chewing and function exactly as a natural tooth would.

How Do I Know if I Need a Crown?

Dental crowns are effective for reshaping, resizing, and strengthening teeth that have been worn down or broken as a result of decay. They also help patients avoid more serious procedures, such as root canals or extractions.

One of the most common indicators that a patient might require a dental crown is when they experience pain while biting down or chewing. If this is happening as a result of a cracked tooth, this is a serious condition that will require a crown. Unlike broken bones, fractures in cracked teeth do not heal.

Many patients also opt for dental crowns when looking to replace worn-down silver fillings. A dental crown is a great way to proactively prevent the filling composite from further wearing away or causing the tooth to crack.

How Are Dental Crowns Applied?

If you’ve decided to have a dental crown applied, your dentist will begin the procedure by giving you a local anaesthetic. Next, to make room for the crown, they’ll file down the tooth that needs restoration as much as necessary.

Your dentist will then create an impression of your filed-down tooth, as well as the rest of your nearby teeth to customize your final crown. Your dental crown will be built using restorative material and will be tailored so that it is the right shape for your mouth.

While you wait for your final crown to be ready, your dentist will place a temporary crown over the filed-down tooth. This will keep your tooth protected until the final product is ready.

Once it has reached completion, your dentist will ensure your crown is the right shape, colour, and fit for your mouth. If all boxes are checked, they’ll cement it into place.

What Are Dental Bridges?

As its name describes, a dental bridge is an appliance that literally creates a bridge between an area where any teeth are missing. Essentially, it is a false tooth (called a pontic) that is held in place by abutment teeth located on either side of the gap. Like crowns, bridges are usually made from porcelain, the most durable and lifelike material.

There are four types of dental bridges commonly found in dental practices. They are:

  • Traditional dental bridge: This consists of a false tooth held in place by dental crowns that have been applied to each of the abutment teeth. This is the most popular type of dental bridge.
  • Cantilever dental bridge: The Cantilever dental bridge is quite similar to the traditional bridge, with the main difference being that the pontic is held in place by a dental crown that is adhered to only one abutment tooth. This means that for this bridge to be applied, only one natural tooth is needed to be next to a missing tooth gap.
  • Maryland dental bridge: Maryland dental bridges are applied with two natural abutment teeth on each side of the missing tooth gap. Often, a Maryland bridge is applied when porcelain or metal is bonded to the backs of the abutment teeth.
  • Implant-supported dental bridge: These types of bridges use dental implants instead of frameworks or crowns. This type of dental bridge requires two surgeries: one to embed the implants and the other to place the bridge.

How Do I Know if I Need a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges are the preferred choice for patients who have a missing tooth or teeth, usually as a result of gum disease, injury, or tooth decay. Some patients are also born without teeth as a result of a congenital condition. Missing teeth can cause a range of conditions, such as chewing difficulties, bite problems, and jaw pain.

In all cases, dental bridges require either healthy or implanted teeth to be in the mouth, as these are needed to support the bridge.

How Are Dental Bridges Applied?

During the first steps, your dentist will prepare the teeth neighbouring the gap for the procedure. This includes removing part of the enamel on each tooth, as well as recontouring them to allow room for the appliance. They will then take impressions of each tooth, as this will allow a technician to create any crowns, bridges, and pontics in the lab.

Your dentist will give you a temporary bridge to use while you wait for the final product to be completed. During your second visit, they will adjust the bridge to ensure a proper fit for your bite. Once all boxes are checked, they'll permanently cement it to your abutment teeth.

Schedule Your Next Appointment at Kennedy Heights Today

After reading this article, we hope you’ve learned more about some of the key differences between dental crowns and dental bridges! If you’re seeking proper dental care to restore your smile, our team at Kennedy Heights Dental are here to help. Our reputable, state-of-the-art clinic has helped hundreds of patients in and around Delta, BC regain their confidence through our premium dental restoration services.

To book an appointment with our team, call us at 778-438-2084 or visit our contact page to fill out our quick and easy form. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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