Did you know that the outer layer of your teeth is the hardest substance in your body? In fact, it’s even harder than your bones! Unfortunately, however, that doesn’t mean teeth are indestructible. While your teeth are incredibly strong, they’re still subject to varying degrees of damage from tooth decay and fractures. Thankfully, there are reliable dental procedures that can restore a tooth, regardless of how badly it’s been damaged. Two of these procedures are a dental crown and bridge. If you have a tooth that’s either missing or badly damaged, you may have been told that you need one of these treatments. Below, you’ll find answers to two of the most common questions about them!
When Does Someone Need a Crown or Bridge – and What’s the Difference?
The difference between a crown and bridge is simple. A dental crown restores an existing tooth, while a bridge replaces a missing tooth.
A crown (also called a “cap”) is a restoration that completely covers a tooth to restore its size, shape and strength. They can be made from gold, other metals, porcelain or ceramic. A dentist will recommend a crown when a cavity or fracture is so large that the tooth can’t be restored with a filling.
In some cases, the damage is so extensive that a tooth must be taken out. In these cases, a bridge is used to fill the space. Bridges use the two teeth on either side of the missing space as anchors or support. These two teeth will each get dental crowns that will be attached to the middle replacement crown.
How Long Will My Crown or Bridge Last?
There are many factors involved when it comes to how long a crown or bridge will last. But, like all dental work, both will last much longer with basic care and maintenance (e.g., good hygiene habits and regular checkups).
Having said that, both a crown and bridge will last an average of 15 years – although it’s not unheard of for them to last much longer with great care.
Remember, while crowns and bridges can’t get cavities themselves, the natural tooth structure underneath them still can. If that happens, the restoration must be taken off to repair the decay – and then completely re-done.
That’s why it’s so important to care for them the same way you would care for the rest of your teeth! The better you can maintain your crown or bridge, the longer you’re likely to keep it.
Dental crowns and bridges are an excellent way to restore damaged or missing teeth. With these guidelines, you’ll have a better understanding of these procedures can benefit you!
About the Author
Dr. Chris Long is a general, restorative and cosmetic dentist who knows that every patient has unique needs and goals. He always carefully evaluates each case so he can recommend the best treatment plan for each situation. If you need a crown or bridge and have any additional questions, he can be reached via his website or at (972) 775-3192.