If you have a less-than-stellar smile, you may need a bridge or crown. Both cover up a variety of dental issues but are used for different reasons. Here’s what dentist Silva A. Arejian in Los Angeles, California, wants you to know.
What’s the difference between a crown and a bridge?
Crowns and bridges are dental prosthetics used to restore cracked, damaged, or missing teeth. Crowns cover a damaged tooth and help maintain the tooth’s shape and size. Bridges are made of two crowns that sit on top of other teeth and have a fake tooth in the middle. If you have a missing tooth, especially in the front of your mouth, you’ll probably need a bridge.
Both crowns and bridges are essential to your long-term oral health. By keeping your teeth the right size and shape, or by using a bridge to provide a false tooth, your teeth will stay aligned, and you’ll have fewer dental issues down the road. They also help prevent bone loss and gum recession.
What are crowns made of?
Crowns can be made of metal or porcelain. If you have a damaged tooth near the front of your mouth, you’ll probably get a porcelain crown. The color is matched to your teeth, so it looks real. Metal can be used for damaged teeth in the back. Sometimes, a combination of metal and porcelain are used to make the crowns stronger while still looking good.
While your permanent crown is being made in a dental laboratory, you’ll wear a temporary crown made of acrylic or stainless steel.
Reasons to get a crown:
- To protect a weak or damaged tooth
- To hide discoloration
- To restore a chipped or broken tooth
- To anchor a bridge to the adjacent teeth
- To cover dental implants
Benefits of a dental bridge
Bridges maintain the integrity of your teeth, gums, and jaw.
Bridges are used to:
- Keep teeth in place
- Help you speak
- Hide missing teeth
- Lessen the stress and pressure on your bite
- Aid in chewing food
They could cause pain or sensitivity at first, but these sensations will usually subside as you get used to the bridge or crown. Sometimes, a crown can fall off. If this happens, bring it in, and we’ll cement it back in place. In general, crowns and bridges last for up to 15 years.
How to care for a crown or a bridge
A crown or bridge doesn’t need special care, but you must stay on top of your oral hygiene. Otherwise, your teeth can decay. So, eat healthy, brush and floss daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your mouth healthy.