Imagine you’re eating a snack, happily chewing away, when all of a sudden you hear a crunch and get an odd feeling in your mouth. You explore with your finger and realize that what you’re afraid of has actually happened: You’ve damaged a tooth.
Terms like crowns and bridges and even dental implants start filling your mind, and you’re not sure what to expect when you head to the dentist the next day.
At A Caring Dental Group, we know this feeling all too well — we’ve seen many patients come in worried about their tooth and not sure what happens next. Here’s a quick primer on what you can expect and how to determine whether you need a crown or a bridge:
What is a crown?
A crown is a dental prosthetic used as a cap to cover a broken, chipped, or damaged tooth. The goal is to protect and preserve your original tooth in a natural way so that it’s strong and so that no one can tell the difference between your crown and your natural teeth.
Fillings can sometimes be used to strengthen teeth, but if the problem area is too large or too damaged, a crown is the best option. Each crown is custom-made for each particular tooth. They’re usually made of porcelain, ceramic, or metal alloys shaded to match the tone of your natural teeth.
Crowns do a great job of protecting a weak tooth, restoring a broken tooth, and covering a dental implant or a poorly shaped tooth.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is similar to a crown and may be the best option if you’re missing one or more teeth. It includes a replacement tooth, called a pontic, fused to crowns on either side of the opening that attach to your natural teeth or implants.
Bridges can also be made from porcelain or ceramic and are custom-made for each patient. They’re shaded to match your natural teeth as well.
Both crowns and bridges are installed in your mouth with cement — the process usually takes at least two visits — and can only be removed by a dentist. Most crowns and bridges last 10-15 years, and some last even longer. Depending on when you have them put in, you may need replacements at some point.
The circumstances of every patient’s case are different, so your dentist can recommend exactly what you need to get your mouth back to its normal functioning state. If you need advice or help with a crown or a bridge, Benedict Kim, DDS and his expert team at A Caring Dental Group are happy to help. Just call the office or schedule an appointment online to begin your treatment!