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Crown or Bridge: Which is Right for Dental Restoration? | Blue Gum Dental

Coping with the functional and aesthetic hurdles accompanying missing and damaged teeth can be overwhelming, whether due to decay, trauma, or the natural passage of time. Missing teeth can impact oral function, smile appearance and emotional well-being. However, dental restorations like crowns and bridges offer an excellent solution. If you’re looking for tooth replacement options or procedures to strengthen damaged teeth or just want to learn more about these restorative procedures to make an informed decision, we’re here to help.

Keep reading to discover the differences between crowns and bridges, their pros and cons, and how you can determine which option is best suited for your specific needs.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over a damaged or decayed tooth to restore its shape, size, strength and appearance. It serves as a protective covering, encasing the entire visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. They can be made from various materials, including metal alloys, porcelain, and ceramic, providing durability and a natural-looking aesthetic.

When Do You Need a Dental Crown?

Dental crowns are recommended in various situations to address different dental issues. Here are some scenarios where a dental crown may be needed:

Severe Tooth Decay

Severe tooth decay is a common dental problem affecting people of all ages. It occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce acid that gradually erodes the tooth enamel, leading to cavities and, eventually, tooth decay. If left untreated, severe tooth decay can cause significant damage to the tooth structure, including the nerves and blood vessels, resulting in pain, infection, and even tooth loss. Dental crowns are recommended by dentists for teeth affected by decay or trauma, providing strength and protection. After treating decay, crowns are applied to shield the tooth, preventing further damage and ensuring long-term durability.

Fractured or Cracked Teeth

Fractured or cracked teeth can be very painful and uncomfortable and can impact the affected tooth’s ability to function properly. A dental crown is often necessary to protect the tooth from further damage and to restore its function. A crown covers the entire tooth, holding it together and preventing additional cracks or fractures.

Large Fillings

Large fillings can weaken a tooth and make it more susceptible to cracking or breaking. When a tooth has a large filling, it may not withstand the pressure of everyday chewing and biting. Over time, this pressure can cause the tooth to fracture or split, which can be both painful and dangerous for the patient. A dental crown can help protect the tooth from further damage by covering it entirely and distributing the force of biting and chewing more evenly.

Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment is typically recommended when the pulp, or soft tissue, inside the tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This can occur due to decay, trauma, or other factors. During a root canal treatment, the infected or inflamed pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed to prevent further damage. Once the root canal treatment is complete, a dentist may recommend a dental crown to be placed over the tooth. The tooth may be weakened or structurally compromised after the root canal treatment. By placing a dental crown, the tooth is strengthened and protected, allowing for normal chewing and biting function.

Cosmetic Reasons

A dental crown can be used for cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of a tooth that is discoloured, misshapen, or otherwise aesthetically unpleasing. Sometimes, a tooth may be too damaged or decayed to be restored using other methods, such as bonding or veneers. In these cases, a dental crown can cover the entire visible portion of the tooth, providing a new, natural-looking surface.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements surgically inserted into your jawbone to provide a stable foundation for dental restorations. They are used to replace one or multiple teeth, making them an excellent solution for those with missing or damaged teeth. A dental crown is placed over the implant to replace a missing tooth, providing a natural-looking and functional replacement. For multiple missing teeth, a dental bridge is placed over the implants, improving the appearance and chewing and speaking abilities.

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge replaces one or more missing teeth by bridging the gap between adjacent natural teeth or dental implants. Consisting of artificial teeth, known as pontics, the bridge is anchored to the neighbouring teeth on either side, often capped with crowns to provide stability and support.

When Do You Need a Dental Bridge?

Bridges are recommended when the gaps left by missing teeth could lead to various issues. Here are some common scenarios:

Missing Teeth

Beyond the cosmetic concerns, gaps in the teeth can cause problems with eating and speaking and even lead to the shifting of the remaining teeth. A dental bridge is a common solution to replace missing teeth, and it involves attaching a false tooth to the surrounding teeth using dental crowns. This restores the smile’s appearance and helps maintain the structure and alignment of the remaining teeth.

Chewing Difficulties

Chewing is an essential function of our daily life, and any difficulty in this process can significantly impact our overall health and well-being. Missing teeth can make it challenging to chew food and may even cause pain or discomfort while eating. Dental bridges can help fill the gap and restore the ability to chew and eat comfortably.

Speech Issues

When a person is missing one or more teeth, it can affect their ability to speak properly. This is because the tongue and lips rely on the teeth for support and proper positioning when forming certain sounds and words. Missing teeth can cause a person to lisp, slur, or mumble, which can be embarrassing. A dental bridge can help fill the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth, restoring the proper alignment of the tongue and lips when speaking. This helps improve the clarity and pronunciation of a person’s speech, improving clarity and communication.

Bite Issues and TMJ Problems

Dental bridges can help solve the problem of bite issues and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders caused by missing teeth. When teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can shift, causing an uneven bite that can put additional stress on the TMJ. A dental bridge can fill in the gap left by the missing teeth, restoring the proper alignment of the teeth. It distributes the bite forces evenly across surrounding teeth, eliminating the adverse effects on the bite and TMJ. Working closely with a dentist is essential to ensure the dental bridge fits properly and does not cause excessive force on the TMJ.

Enhancing aesthetics

Missing teeth can affect your smile’s appearance, causing discomfort and leading to social difficulties. A dental bridge is customised to fit the gaps and blend seamlessly with your existing teeth, providing a natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing result.

Types of Dental Crowns and Bridges

Porcelain Crowns and Bridges

Porcelain is one of the most widely used materials for crowns and bridges due to its natural and visually appealing appearance. It closely matches the colour and translucency of natural teeth, being sturdy and long-lasting, making it an excellent choice for restoring your smile.

Glass Ionomer Crowns and Bridges

Glass ionomer is mostly used dental for younger patients and adults with specific dental needs. It is a tooth-coloured material that can blend well with the surrounding teeth, providing a more natural appearance. This material is also biocompatible, making it an ideal choice for patients with gum sensitivity or other oral health issues.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) Crowns and Bridges

PFM restorations are utilised for complex cases involving crowns, bridges, and crown work over implants. They offer a harmonious blend of strength and natural aesthetics, making them an excellent choice for restoring function and appearance to your smile. PFM crowns and bridges have a metal substructure fused with porcelain, providing durability and a natural-looking appearance.

Zirconia Crowns and Bridges

Zirconia crowns and bridges are excellent for prosthetic teeth supported by dental implants. They offer exceptional durability and biocompatibility, making them an ideal choice for patients who need strong and long-lasting restorations. Zirconia is also tooth-coloured, blending in well with the surrounding teeth and providing a natural-looking appearance.

Preserve Your Smile with Custom Made Dental Restorations

Protect your natural teeth, prevent further damage or potential tooth extraction and enhance your smile’s aesthetics and function with our high-quality dental restorations. At Blue Gum Dental, we take a preventive approach to dental care, aiming to save your natural teeth and improve oral health. With treatments tailored to your specific needs, we provide precise diagnosis and treatment to help you maintain your oral health for a smile that looks as great as it feels. Schedule a consultation today.

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