Bridges and crowns are fixed prosthetic devices that are cemented onto existing teeth or implants by a dentist or prosthodontist. Crowns are used most commonly to entirely cover or ""cap"" a damaged tooth or cover an implant. Bridges are commonly used to cover a space if you're missing one or more teeth. They are cemented to natural teeth or implants surrounding the space where the tooth once stood. Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.
A crown is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They take the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are embedded to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge.
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