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Dental Crowns and Dental Bridges FAQs


Answers to common questions about Dental Crowns and Dental Bridges


What is a dental crown?
A dental crown completely encases a damaged tooth within a custom-design, custom-fit cap that fits perfectly over the damaged tooth. The crown thereby restores full functionality to a tooth that may have been cracked, had excessive decay, or had root canal therapy.


What material is a dental crown made from?
There are three primary types of dental crown materials: All-ceramic (porcelain), porcelain-fused-to-metal, or gold.


What is a dental cap?
A dental cap is just another term for a dental crown.


What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a device used to replace a missing tooth by placing an artificial tooth between two adjacent teeth and permanently affixing it to the adjacent teeth. There are several types of dental bridges, but each is custom-made to fit the patient’s arch. Dental bridges require that the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth be shaped to accept the bridge. Crowns are placed on the shaped teeth and attached to the new artificial tooth, forming a bridge.


When are dental bridges used?
If a single tooth is missing between two other teeth, a dental bridge can be used. For years, the dental bridge was the most reliable way to replace a single missing tooth. Today, advances in dental implants make them a popular choice for replacing a single tooth because a dental implant doesn’t impact the adjacent teeth and preserves the bone in the area of the missing tooth.


What are dental bridges side effects?
Dental bridge side effects are generally rare. Like any procedure that involves your gums, there a risk of gum infection or inflammation, but that is rare. Your dentist will also consult with you prior to the procedure to assure you don’t have allergies to the materials being used.

The biggest issue isn’t a side effect, but the fact that with a dental bridge two healthy teeth need to be altered to replace one missing tooth. A dental bridge is a permanent device that requires two healthy teeth adjacent the missing tooth to be shaped to accept the crowns of the new dental bridge.


What are the alternatives to dental bridges?
Dental Implants are the standard of care for replacing missing teeth today. With dental implants, you can choose a single tooth implant, restore several missing teeth or restore all your teeth. While dental implants are more costly than dental bridges, the benefits are significantly greater, like not needing to modify nearby healthy teeth or replace the bridge years down the road.