Crowns are a type of dental restoration used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.
Crowns are “caps” cemented onto an existing tooth that fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
Your prosthodontist may suggest a crown to:
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a tooth that is already broken or severely worn
- Stabilize a dental bridge
- Use in coordination with a dental implant
- Enhance the aesthetics of your smile
Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, which apply the restorative material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression that allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so that your bite and jaw function normally once the crown is placed.
A bridge is used to replace missing teeth, which helps to maintain the shape of your face and alleviate stress on your bite.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Your prosthodontist will suggest a bridge to:
- Restore the aesthetics of your smile
- Give you the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Discourage excess wear and tear of teeth because of uneven force distribution
- Prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of position
The success of any bridge depends on its foundation: the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it's very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.