Simply stated, both crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic appliances that are used to restore damaged teeth or fill spaces created by missing teeth. Unlike removable appliances like dentures, crowns and bridges are permanently affixed onto natural teeth or dental implants and can only be removed by a dental professional.
A bridge functions exactly as it sounds, by bridging the gap left by missing teeth. The bridge works to keep remaining teeth from shifting into the open space. Once placed, a bridge functions very much like your natural teeth.
A crown is a tooth-shaped cover that gets placed over a damaged or decayed tooth. The goal of a crown is to provide stability and protect the structure of the natural tooth. With current dental technology, most crowns are made with tooth-colored materials, so they appear natural and blend with your original teeth. Crowns can also be made from a variety of metals.
To place a crown or bridge, your tooth will first be prepared by your dentist to ensure the device will fit properly. An impression is then taken of your teeth to get an accurate mold, and the mold is sent to a dental lab to be created using the materials specified by your dentist. While your appliance is being made, your dentist will place a temporary crown or bridge until your permanent device is ready to be installed.
Most crowns and bridges can be expected to last 5-7 years, but with proper oral care, could last for decades. The greatest threat to the failure of crowns and bridges is additional decay or gum disease. Therefore, it is critical to maintain a vigilant oral hygiene routine, as well as maintaining regular dental examinations and professional cleanings. Consult with your dentist to found out if crowns or bridges are a viable solution for your missing or damaged teeth.