Crowns and bridges are both teeth restoration solutions but they are different in their functions. What are their differences? When and how can each be used to restore your smile?
A dental crown is a manufactured tooth used when an existing tooth is damaged, fractured, or weakened. The crown acts as a cap that covers the damaged tooth. The tooth in question is filed down and reshaped into a smaller size and then the dentist fits the crown over it. Crowns are meant to restore teeth to their normal shape, size, and function. Porcelain or ceramic are the two common materials used to make crowns. They are moulded to match the colour and texture of your teeth. To provide strength for a back tooth, a crown can be made using gold alloys then bonded with porcelain for a natural look.
Some scenarios when your dentist may prescribe a crown include:
- Severe tooth decay
- A fractured tooth
- To cover a severely discoloured tooth
- As a replacement for a large filling
- When a dental bridge needs an anchor
- After root canal treatment
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a ceramic structure used to replace missing teeth. The dentist fuses a ceramic tooth (pontic) between two or more porcelain crowns to serve as anchors. These are placed on either side of the missing tooth. Once the anchor teeth have been shaped to accommodate the crowns, a bridge is then bonded over these teeth. Apart from a replacement for missing teeth, bridges can be used when dentures are uncomfortable or aesthetically displeasing. Dental bridges help in the maintenance of the shape of the face, restoration of the ability to chew properly, and they also prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
What is the lifespan of a dental crown?
A well-maintained dental crown can last for approximately 15 years although factors like the quality of the crown and a person’s oral hygiene practices can affect longevity. Habits like clenching and teeth grinding can also cause a crown to chip and crack. To prolong the life of your crown, you need to maintain great oral hygiene and this includes brushing twice daily and flossing regularly. You should also avoid chewing on hard foods like hard candy. It’s also important that you don’t miss your dental appointments. A dentist can spot signs of decay, trauma, or gaping before it’s too late.
How long do dental bridges last?
With good care, dental bridges can last a full decade. Depending on quality, some can even go longer than a decade. Just like with crowns, oral hygiene can determine how long bridges last. Another reason why a bridge might fail sooner than anticipated is if the supporting teeth fail. Maintaining bridges calls for a healthy diet as well as maintaining proper dental hygiene. To avoid decay, patients should avoid consuming too much sugary and starchy food. Instead, eating lots of vegetables and food rich in fibre will ensure great health for the supporting teeth and this will, in turn, help preserve the bridge.
If you require a tooth and/or teeth restoration or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our dental specialists, please contact our experienced dental clinic in Winnipeg.