A crown is a dental restoration that is designed to fit over an entire tooth, providing significant protection as well as additional strength while also correcting problems like cracks, chips, fractures or very large cavities. Crowns can also be used for cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of a tooth that has been badly discolored or misshapen or to hide dark metal fillings.
A bridge is a dental restoration that's used to replace one or more missing teeth. Bridges use a strong metal framework to support one or more artificial teeth or crowns. The framework attaches to the teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing teeth. The teeth are usually covered with crowns to help protect them from damage and increase their strength. Bridges can be permanently adhered to the supporting teeth or they may attach with special clips.
Bridges require two visits for placement. At the first visit, the teeth that will support the bridge are prepared for crowns. That means removing a small portion of the surface material to provide space for the crowns. Then an impression is made and sent to a lab where it serves as a model for the crowns and bridge. At the second visit, the crowns and bridge are placed in your mouth and adjusted for an ideal fit.
A bridge can last for many, many years – usually 10 or more – as long as you care for it properly. That means avoiding biting down on ice or very hard foods like hard candy, and also avoiding caramels or other sticky foods that can get caught in a bridge or loosen crowns. Seeing the dentist for regular checkups is also very important to ensure your bridge and the crowns and teeth that support it remain in good shape.
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