Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if we need a dental crown or bridge to suit our needs. Though many use these terms interchangeably, a crown and bridge differ in both definition and functionality. It’s important to know the difference between the two so that you can discuss with your healthcare professional which option is best for you.

First, let’s talk about dental crowns. A crown is used to cover a damaged tooth. It functions as a “cap” to completely cover the tooth in question. Basically, a crown is cemented onto an already existing and damaged tooth to improve the appearance of the tooth and help it align more correctly in the mouth. Crowns are permanent, unless a dentist removes them. How are they made? Your dentist will reduce your tooth’s size so that your crown can fit on top properly. Then, your dentist will make an impression of the tooth so that the crown can be formed correctly and personalized to your teeth.

But when will your dentist recommend a dental crown? Dentists will call for a crown to:

– Protect teeth from chipping

– Cover a discolored tooth or badly shaped tooth

– Restore a tooth after a root canal

– Replace a filling

There are many types of dental crowns, but the type your dentist chooses will be personally based on your needs. Temporary dental crowns are used as placeholders until your permanent dental crown is finalized in a lab. Stainless steel dental crowns can be finished in one visit to your dentist, and usually used for children. Metal dental crowns rarely break or become damaged because they are made from cast silver or gold alloys. Porcelain fused to metal dental crowns are made to look and blend in with the teeth in your mouth, but these crowns can sometimes become damaged and show through if not structured properly.

Now that we have covered dental crowns, let’s talk about dental bridges. Bridges are not used to cover existing teeth, but to replace missing ones. Bridges are put in place by being cemented to the surrounding teeth they are between, hence, why it is called a “bridge.” The teeth the bridge is attached to are called “abutments.” Then, the missing tooth is replaced by what is called a pontic, the replacement tooth that sits between the bridge.

Dental bridges can be made of the same materials used in making a dental crown, but their function clearly differs. Always consult your Tampa dentist to ensure you are being given the correct treatment for your teeth. In short, should you be missing teeth, a dentist will most likely recommend a bridge. If you have damaged teeth, a dentist will recommend a crown.

Both crowns and bridges are made by taking a mold of your existing teeth to make sure they fit properly into your mouth. If you’re looking to use porcelain for a more natural work, the shade of porcelain will also be chosen at the point of molding. These bridges and crowns can last your entire life, but there is always a risk of them coming loose.