Maine Dentistry > Blog > Dental Crowns vs. Dental Bridges

Dental Crowns vs. Dental Bridges

Dental crowns and dental bridges are both an important part of restorative dental care. Let’s take a look at what each of these important restorative and cosmetic dental tools are and how they are used.


What is a Dental Crown?

Crowns are used for a variety of different reasons, including for cosmetic issues such as cracked or worn teeth, restoration purposes following a root canal, or as support for dental bridges and replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. They’re also easily attached to dental implants. Porcelain is the most common type of dental crown, as it is natural in color to match your own teeth, as well as durable and strong. 


We offer same-day porcelain crowns, which can be placed in some cases in as little as two hours for an easy, stress-free repair to a broken or decaying tooth, one that leaves you with a stronger and healthier smile.


What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge helps restore your bite, smile, and overall oral health, filling in the gap created by a missing tooth or teeth.


Long-lasting and very comfortable, a dental bridge is a great solution for both restorative and cosmetic dental issues, making your smile more confident as well as preventing jaw bone loss and other dental issues that affect oral health due to missing teeth.


Serving as a fixed, long-lasting restoration, a dental bridge replaces one or more missing teeth in your mouth, fitting comfortably but firmly in your mouth to look and function just like your natural teeth. Bridges are custom created by your dentist. Some can be permanently attached through the use of one or more implants serving as an anchor.


In basic terms, a bridge consists of two crowns and a replacement tooth or teeth. The crowns are typically placed on the teeth that are on either side of the space where a tooth or teeth are missing, with the fabricated tooth or teeth attached between them.


Rather than relying on your own teeth, the most secure and permanent way to place a dental bridge in your mouth is by using dental implants. This way your natural teeth are not subjected to increased stress that can be damaging if the existing tooth, roots, or surrounding bone structure are compromised already.

Using dental implants to support the dental bridge instead provides stable, permanent placement that helps to support the teeth around the bridge, and helps the continued health of your gum and bones.


The Importance of Dental Hygiene for Crowns and Bridges

Regardless of the type of crown or bridge you choose, extending the life of either means caring for it just like you do your own natural teeth. That means brushing and flossing twice a day. Be sure to also pay attention to the area around and under a crown, especially at the gum line, to help protect the area under the crown from decay. 


With proper care, crowns last between 15 and 25 years. The length of time they last depends both on your dental health overall, daily wear, and hygiene, as well as the type of crown material that is used. 


With good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings from your dentist, dental bridges can last more than 10 years. Certain types of bridges, such as implant supported bridges, will last longer than that. Implant supported bridges can last a lifetime. But, it’s important not to bite on your nails or use your teeth as tools to open things when you are wearing a bridge, just as it is important not to do so with your own teeth, risking chips or cracks.


Keeping your teeth healthy and providing longevity for crowns and bridges also means limiting or avoiding some things that can be tough on them and your natural teeth. That includes avoiding chewing on ice or your fingernails and limiting those sugary snack products like sodas and hard candy. And, you also shouldn’t use any teeth to open a package or envelope.


What else should you avoid? Teeth grinding can cause cracks or wear on bridges and crowns as well as your own teeth. So, if you grind your teeth at night, your dentist can fit you with a nightguard. A mouthguard worn at night can prevent any tooth damage. During the day, if you play a sport, you can consider wearing a mouthguard for safety when you play.


Ready to Learn More About Crowns and Bridges?

If you’re ready to learn about a crown or bridge, and how these treatments can help you, or to schedule an appointment, just reach out to us today. We’re here to help!

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