A crown, sometimes referred to as a cap, covers a tooth and restores the tooth to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving its appearance. A crown may be recommended to cover and support a tooth with a large filling. It can be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking, or restore one that is already broken. Crowns are also needed for back teeth (molars and pre-molars) that have had root canal treatment.
A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby “bridging” the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented onto the teeth on either side of the space. Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient.
Who should get a bridge?
If you are missing any teeth and are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you may be a good candidate for a bridge. If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause further tooth loss. Fixed bridges not only correct an altered bite, improve your chewing ability and speech, but they also safeguard your appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
How do I care for a bridge?
With a bridge, it is more important than ever to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. If you do not control the buildup of food debris and plaque–the sticky film of bacteria formed from food acids–your teeth and gums can become infected, requiring further treatment and resulting in possible loss of the bridge. Your dentist may also recommend using floss threaders that help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums. If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last as many as 8-10 years, or even longer.