There are many options when it comes to taking care of your teeth and it can be confusing to keep it all straight. Here is some information to de-mystify the difference between a crown and a bridge.
What is a crown?
A crown is a covering for your entire tooth, think of a hat that covers the tooth and holds it together. Crowns are important so you can continue to use your teeth for biting and chewing even after they have been damaged. Crowns are permanently cemented, and you are able to brush and floss like normal after they are completed.
There are many scenarios when a tooth requires a crown and each situation is unique. Dr. Manzo and Dr. Cettie at Applewood Dental in Wheat Ridge will spend time discussing your individual situation, all treatment options, including the risks and benefits of each option.
Here are a few examples of when a tooth needs a crown:
- If the majority of the middle of the tooth missing, a crown may be the best treatment option to protect the tooth from fracture and prevent future damage.
- When a tooth is fractured, especially a vertical fracture, it requires the strength from a crown to prevent the flexure of the tooth when biting.
- If a fractured tooth continues to be used it risks a break below the gum line which could create a non-restorable situation and lead to an extraction being the only treatment option.
- When a tooth is missing a cusp (one of the pointy edges) a crown may be the only treatment option because there is not enough retention for a filling.
- Crowns are also used to change the shape and look of front teeth straightening slightly crooked teeth without orthodontics.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is like three (and sometimes more) connected crowns. If you are missing a tooth in between two other teeth, a bridge is an option to replace the missing tooth.
A bridge will be recommended when crowns are placed on the two adjacent teeth and a fake crown hangs in between. There is a space under the fake crown (pontic) but a bridge looks and acts like a real tooth.
How do you brush a bridge?
When brushing your teeth, you'd brush the bridge the same as you would for natural teeth, however flossing takes a little more energy. When flossing under a bridge a floss threader must be used to get the floss in to clean between the teeth and under the pontic.
What is a crown or bridge made out of?
Crowns and bridges can be made out of porcelain, gold, or a combination of porcelain and gold. There are pros and cons with each type of material, and the doctors at Applewood Dental in Wheat Ridge will spend ample time discussing your individual case and providing recommendations.
In general gold is the strongest and best for heavy grinders, but the esthetics stand out as it is generally a yellow gold that is used. There are multiple types of all porcelain crowns. There is a stronger zirconia for back teeth that has a more opaque appearance, or a beautiful hand designed feldspathic porcelain for front teeth that don’t require as much strength. The two types of porcelain, and porcelain to gold can be combined for a crown that allows for compromise between the benefits of strength and esthetics.
If you think you may need a crown or a bridge, schedule an appointment with Dr. Manzo or Dr. Cettie today to learn more about your options.