Crowns vs. Bridges: Deciding on Your Dental Restoration Needs

Crowns vs. Bridges: Deciding on Your Dental Restoration Needs

Deciding between a dental crown and a bridge is an important choice for those looking to improve their oral health and restore their smile. Both options offer unique benefits and are tailored to address different dental issues. This article provides an in-depth comparison of dental crowns and bridges, including their benefits and key considerations to help you make an informed decision.

What is a Dental Crown?

The dental crown procedure involves creating a custom-made cap that is placed over a damaged or decayed tooth to restore its size, shape, strength, and appearance. Crowns are used to protect weak teeth, restore broken teeth, cover teeth with large fillings, hold a dental bridge in place, cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth, and cover a dental implant. They can be made from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, resin, and metal. This procedure is essential for preserving the functionality and aesthetics of a tooth that has been compromised, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of daily use while blending seamlessly with the rest of the teeth.

Benefits of Dental Crown

Dental crown covers damaged tooth

Dental crowns offer several benefits:

  • Restoration of Function

Preparing a tooth for a crown is a crucial step in the process of restoring the function of damaged teeth. This preparation involves reshaping the tooth to ensure a proper fit for the crown, providing strength to teeth that are weakened by decay, cracks, or large fillings, and ensuring the longevity of the tooth’s usability.

  • Protection

Crowns act as a protective cover for vulnerable teeth, shielding them from further damage or decay. They are particularly beneficial for teeth that have undergone root canal therapy, as these teeth are more susceptible to breakage.

  • Aesthetic Improvement

Dental crowns offer significant cosmetic enhancements, especially for teeth that are discoloured, poorly shaped, or misaligned. They can be crafted to match the colour, shape, and size of the surrounding teeth, resulting in a natural and improved appearance.

  • Durability

Made from materials like porcelain, ceramic, or metal alloys, dental crowns are durable and long-lasting. With proper care, they can last for many years, making them a cost-effective solution for repairing damaged teeth.

  • Comfort and Confidence

They eliminate discomfort and sensitivity associated with damaged teeth, and by enhancing the smile’s appearance, they can boost self-esteem and overall quality of life.

What is a Dental Bridge?

The dental bridge procedure involves creating a fixed prosthetic device used to replace one or more missing teeth. It consists of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap (the anchoring teeth) and a false tooth/teeth in between. Bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants and can be made from a variety of materials, similar to crowns.

Benefits of Dental Bridge

Dental bridge covers one or more missing teeth

Dental bridges also come with their own set of benefits:

  • Restored Functionality

Dental bridges effectively restore the ability to chew and speak properly by replacing missing teeth, thereby improving overall oral function.

  • Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal

They offer a cosmetic benefit by filling gaps in the smile with natural-looking artificial teeth. Particularly, dental bridge in front teeth can enhance the appearance of one’s smile and boosting self-confidence.

  • Prevention of Teeth Shifting

By filling the space left by missing teeth, dental bridges prevent the remaining natural teeth from drifting out of position, which could lead to misalignment and bite issues.

  • Maintained Facial Structure

Bridges help in maintaining the shape of the face, preventing the sunken appearance that can occur with tooth loss.

  • Longevity and Reliability

With proper care, dental bridges can last many years. They provide a durable and reliable solution to tooth loss, offering a semi-permanent alternative that does not require the regular removal or special cleaning that dentures might.

Choosing between Dental Crown and Bridge

When choosing between a crown and a bridge, consider the following:

  • Extent of Tooth Damage

Dental crowns are ideally suited for teeth that have sustained significant damage or decay but remain in the mouth, providing a way to preserve the natural tooth’s structure and integrity. They act as a cap, covering the entire visible part of the tooth, which restores its shape, size, strength, and appearance.

On the other hand, dental bridges are recommended when one or more teeth are missing entirely. Bridges use adjacent teeth as anchors to hold a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) in the place of the missing one(s), effectively bridging the gap and restoring dental functionality and aesthetics.

  • Overall Oral Health

The decision between a dental crown and a bridge significantly depends on the health of the surrounding teeth and gums. For a crown, the underlying tooth must be healthy enough to support the crown, requiring a stable foundation.

In the case of a bridge, the adjacent teeth must be strong and healthy, as they will serve as support for the bridge, bearing the additional load. Gum health is also crucial, as both options require a healthy periodontal environment to prevent further dental issues. An assessment of oral health can determine the most suitable option, ensuring the long-term success of the treatment.

  • Aesthetic and Functional Needs

Both crowns and bridges offer aesthetic and functional restoration, but their suitability varies with individual needs. Crowns are perfect for restoring a single tooth, ensuring it matches the surrounding teeth in colour and shape, thus maintaining the natural appearance of your smile. They also restore the tooth’s functionality for biting and chewing.

Bridges not only fill the gap left by missing teeth, enhancing the smile’s appearance, but also restore the ability to chew properly and prevent remaining teeth from shifting.

  • Cost and Insurance Coverage

The cost of a bridge versus a crown plays a significant role in choosing between a dental crown and bridge. Crowns may be less expensive than bridges in the short term, considering they involve only one tooth. However, the cost can vary based on the materials used (such as porcelain, metal, or a combination).

Bridges, while potentially more costly due to their complexity and the need to prepare adjacent teeth, might be the only option for replacing missing teeth. Insurance coverage can significantly influence this decision; some policies may cover more of the cost for one option over the other.

  • Longevity and Durability

Both options, when made from high-quality materials and properly cared for, can last many years — often a decade or more. Crowns are designed to protect and strengthen a single tooth, potentially extending its life indefinitely with proper hygiene and regular dental check-ups.

Bridges replace missing teeth and require healthy supporting teeth for longevity, emphasizing the importance of overall oral care to prevent decay or damage to these supporting teeth. The longevity of both crowns and bridges can be significantly affected by factors such as material choice, the precision of fit, and diligent oral hygiene practices.

Choosing between a dental crown and bridge depends on your specific dental needs, including the extent of tooth damage, aesthetic goals, and overall oral health. Both options offer reliable solutions for restoring your smile and dental functionality. For personalized advice and to explore your options further, consider visiting a trusted dental office in Langley.

Contact Township Dental Centre at (604) 533-8475 for more information on how we can help restore your smile with the right dental solution for you.