If you’ve had significant dental work done to correct a problem with your teeth in the past, your dentist may have brought up the idea of crowns or bridges to you as a way to continue correcting the problem. So what’s the difference between a crown and a bridge, and when do you actually need them?
Dental crowns are permanent, essential items that your dentist will craft for you after a root canal procedure if a cavity is too large for a traditional filling, or if the tooth has become weakened and cracked over time. Crowns help to protect the core of the tooth from further damage while also giving your bite and smile its usual form and shape. Your dentist can also craft a crown for a tooth that has yellowed with age or blackened from damage.
Do you need a crown? More than likely, if your dentist suggests it, then the answer is yes. A crown is the final part of the root canal procedure, so you will receive a crown then, but your dentist will also strongly recommend one if they are concerned over the strength of a tooth. An overly large cavity may be another inciting incident for a crown recommendation, in order to protect the filling and core tooth. Crowns are designed to look like a real tooth, so there won’t be any gaps or irregularities in your smile.
A dental bridge is a false tooth that can be inserted to fill gaps in your smile. There are four kinds of dental bridges:
- Traditional: These bridges attach to the natural teeth on each side of the gap via crowns.
- Cantilever: Cantilever bridges are used if there is only one natural tooth to attach to.
- Maryland: Like Traditional, bridges attach to natural teeth on either side of the gap, but it stays in place by a metal or porcelain framework bonded to the back of the abutment teeth.
- Implant-Supported: Finally, implant-supported bridges involve surgically placing implants into the jaw bone wherever there are gaps, should more than one missing tooth need to be replaced.
Do you need dental bridges? While this procedure seems merely cosmetic on the surface, wide gaps between your teeth can cause the rest of your teeth to shift over time, misalign your bite, and create even more gaps between teeth. Wide gaps between teeth make it easier for food to become trapped during meals, leading to a greater potential for cavities and gum disease.
If you have questions about crowns or dental bridges, or if you already have them and are concerned about their health and longevity, please call Dr. Bruce Silva’s office for more information.