Crowns vs. Bridges: What's the Difference and Which Option is Best For You?

Jun 10, 2024
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Crowns vs. Bridges: What's the Difference and Which Option is Best For You?

The average adult American has 25.5 teeth, 6.5 less than a full complement, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. That means there’s a huge demand for teeth replacement.

Two common approaches are dental bridges and crowns. Though each has its own ideal application, the technologies overlap, providing both tooth replacement and reinforcement. Which is right for you? 

A visit to Affordable Dental Associates in El Paso and Socorro, Texas, can help you pinpoint the right solution. Dr. Mehrnoosh Darj and her team feature a wide range of dental services, including bridges and crowns.

What is a crown?

We refer to the visible portion of a tooth above the gumline as a crown. When a natural tooth suffers from damage, it can often be reinforced with an artificial dental crown. 

Made from a variety of materials, crowns are often topped with porcelain, a material that closely resembles natural tooth enamel. It’s also easy to match porcelain to your remaining natural teeth for a seamless appearance. 

The compromised tooth is typically reshaped to support the dental crown, grinding down the natural enamel to make room. Once manufactured, Dr. Darj cements the crown in place permanently. Metal and composite resins may also form the structure of a dental crown. 

Crowns also top dental implant systems, where an artificial “root” is placed in the bone of your jaw, to which a crown is added. 

Dental crowns are durable and strong and they last for years. There’s no special care needed beyond regular brushing and flossing, as well as regular six-month checkups.

What is a bridge? 

When you’ve lost one or more teeth, your oral health may benefit from replacement of these missing teeth. There are many ways to fill the spaces, including dentures, partial plates, and dental implants

Dental bridges are another replacement solution, and these incorporate dental crown technology to both replace the natural crown and support it with adjacent teeth.

The word “bridge” is literal, since this dental appliance bridges the gap left by missing teeth. While there are many types of bridges including hybrids that work with dental implants, the concept of a bridge is simple.

If you’ve lost a tooth and need a replacement crown, a bridge system uses natural teeth on each side of the gap. These natural teeth are then prepared to receive dental crowns that will be manufactured together with the missing crown between them.

These outer crowns support the replacement crown, giving it reinforcement and strength. It’s a permanent replacement with the potential for a long-lasting repair.

There are other styles of bridge too, such as cantilever bridges, used when there’s a natural tooth on only one side of the gap, or Maryland bridges which use a metal framework to support front teeth without visible signs.

You’ve got plenty of treatment options for damaged or missing teeth. Consult with Dr. Darj to learn more about the solution that’s right for you. Call or click to contact our nearest location today.