If your tooth is damaged but not lost, a crown can be used to restore its shape, appearance and function. You may need a crown if you have a root canal, a large filling in a tooth or a broken tooth.
A crown (also called a “cap”) is a hollow, artificial tooth used to cover a damaged or restored tooth. The crown restores the tooth and protects it from further damage. Crowns can also be used to cover a discoloured or misshapen tooth, or even to effectively reposition a tooth. A tooth that has been fixed with a crown looks and works very much like a natural tooth.
Crowns are strong and generally last for about 10 years or longer if you take good care of them. Brush and floss your crown, just like you clean your natural teeth.
A bridge, also called a “fixed bridge” or a “fixed dental prosthesis,” is a dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. It extends across an area that has no teeth and is typically made up of an artificial tooth fused between 2 crowns. (A crown is a hollow, artificial tooth that fits over a natural tooth or a dental implant). The bridge is held firmly in place by your own teeth on each side of the missing one(s) or by dental implants. A bridge is permanent and cannot be removed. Since the missing tooth is attached to the adjacent teeth or implants, you cannot floss directly but rather underneath; this is important to keep the tissues and teeth healthy.
Types of Bridges
There are different types of dental bridges. Your dentist will recommend the most appropriate one depending on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth) and the condition of your teeth, mouth and gums.
Traditional bridges are used if there are natural teeth on each side of the gap where the tooth is missing.
As an alternative to a bridge, your dentist may suggest a single implant to replace a missing tooth between 2 healthy teeth. An implant will eliminate involving the neighbouring teeth involved in preparation for the bridge. Implant bridges are used if you don’t have healthy teeth or enough teeth to support a bridge, or when several teeth are missing. A custom-made bridge is anchored to the dental implants. Your dentist will first determine if dental implants are right for you.