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Crowns Vs. Bridges: What’s the Difference and Which Option Is Best for You?

Nov 10, 2022
 Crowns Vs. Bridges: What’s the Difference and Which Option Is Best for You?
As two of the most versatile dental restorations available, crowns and bridges can resolve many dental problems and smile concerns. Learn more about the kinds of issues each one addresses to determine which option is best for you.

Crowns and bridges are two of the most common and versatile dental restorations available — most adults get one, the other, or both at some point in life. Designed to repair damaged teeth or fill gaps left by missing teeth, crowns and bridges help preserve proper bite alignment, maintain oral function and health, and restore your beautiful smile. 

Whether you have a damaged tooth that makes chewing difficult or you’ve lost one or more teeth, our expert team at Hazel Dell Dentistry offers a full scope of restorative solutions and cosmetic dentistry options to meet every possible need. 

Here, smile makeover specialists Dr. Suzette Nikas and Dr. Chelsea Laucher discuss what kinds of tooth-related problems crowns and bridges can address and explain which might be the best restorative solution for your smile.

All about dental crowns

Every year, millions of Americans get a dental crown to fix problematic molars, restore their smile, and protect their oral health. But what’s a crown, and what dental issues can it solve? 

A restorative “cap”

A crown is a custom tooth-shaped cap made to fit over a tooth — usually a molar — that’s weak, worn, damaged, misshapen, or permanently discolored. By concealing and protecting a damaged tooth, a crown restores normal function and appearance to your smile. 

Dental crowns require two office visits: During the first appointment, we prepare your natural tooth and take an impression to send to the dental lab; during the second, we fit the crown to your tooth. You wear a temporary crown between visits.

Conceal and restore

In many cases, a crown is the best way to extend the life of an impaired tooth — one that’s not damaged to the point of requiring an extraction. A simple crown can restore normal strength, structure, function, and appearance to a tooth that’s:

  • Chipped, cracked, or broken 
  • Severely worn down (abraded)
  • Decayed by a very large cavity 
  • Compromised by a root canal

A custom dental crown is also the restoration that’s used to finish off a dental implant (artificial tooth root). 

All about dental bridges

Each year, millions of Americans get bridges to replace missing teeth, restore their smile, and safeguard their oral health. So, what’s a dental bridge, and how is it different from a crown?

“Bridging” the gap

As its name implies, a dental bridge replaces one or more lost teeth to “bridge” the gaps in your smile. A bridge is made up of two or more custom teeth that are connected to form a single restorative unit.  

When fitted into place, this row of artificial teeth fills the space between the supporting abutment teeth on either side. There are two basic bridge types:

Tooth-supported bridge

This type of bridge uses your natural teeth as support anchors: It has a crown on either end of the unit that fits over your natural teeth and artificial replacement teeth (pontics). A tooth-supported bridge can be a great solution if you’re missing one or two teeth.

Implant-supported bridge

Fixed in place and supported on either side by dental implants, an implant-supported bridge is an excellent restorative solution for multiple missing teeth. Like natural tooth roots, dental implants stimulate the underlying jawbone tissue to preserve and protect your oral health.  

Crown or bridge: Which is best for you?

If you have an impaired tooth that’s healthy enough to keep but not healthy enough to function well, a dental crown can restore its full shape, strength, function, and appearance. Or if you’ve lost a tooth, a dental bridge can fill the gap and restore your smile. 

While a tooth-supported bridge includes crowns on either end of the restorative unit, there’s only one dental situation that may require you to choose between a crown or a bridge. If you’ve lost a tooth — or if you have a severely damaged tooth that requires extraction — you may be given the option to restore the gap with either:

  • A tooth-supported bridge 
  • A crown-capped implant

Our team can help you weigh the pros and cons of each choice as they pertain to you so that you can find the best solution for your smile needs. To learn more about the restorative dental solutions at Hazel Hill Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana, call 317-706-1111 today, or use our online booking feature to schedule a visit any time.