What Are Crowns & Bridges?

When bonding is not enough to repair a broken, crooked, or stained tooth, the next step is the use of crowns and bridges. Crowns and bridges may also be used to replace one or more missing teeth. A crown, often called a cap, will completely cover a tooth that needs to be restored. A crown can produce several benefits:

When a damaged tooth has little tooth structure remaining, a crown may replace a large filling

  • It may strengthen a weak tooth and keep it from fracturing
  • It may restore a tooth that has already been cracked or fractured
  • It may cover a stained, crooked, or misshaped tooth
  • It may protect a tooth upon which a root canal has been performed
  • It can help align a crooked tooth
  • It can greatly improve the appearance of a tooth

When multiple teeth have been lost to an accident or decay, a bridge can help fill in the space left by those multiple missing teeth. These artificial teeth are cemented into place using natural teeth as a means of support. This bridge replaces missing teeth for both practical and aesthetic purposes. There are several options for material depending on the requirements for that particular tooth or area. What material is chosen may be influenced by the need for strength, durability, and aesthetics.

The following options are the ones you will want to discuss with your dentist as you choose your material:

There are numerous metals to consider. The biggest benefit of metal is its strength and durability. The biggest disadvantage is the metallic look in your mouth. Metal is a common choice for children’s baby teeth and for adult teeth that are not visible.

For visible teeth, you may want to choose a crown that is porcelain-fused-to-metal. This combination includes the strength of metal underneath the superior look of porcelain.

For those on a stricter budget, all-resin crowns are another solid possibility. However, in the long run they do wear down more quickly and carry more possibility of fracturing.