Maintaining good oral health is essential for your diet, self-confidence, and overall well-being. But sometimes, even with proper care, we can encounter issues that require major restorative dental treatments. At our Princeton, NJ, dental practice, two common procedures that help restore damaged or missing teeth are dental bridges and crowns.
Both are effective solutions, but which one is best for you?
What is a Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed dental prosthesis that replaces one or more missing teeth. The bridges we use in Princeton are anchored to the adjacent healthy teeth, called abutment teeth, using dental crowns.
We can also place bridges on top of dental implants. The crowns are placed over the abutment teeth or implants to hold the bridge in place, while the false tooth or teeth (called pontics) fill in the gap created by missing teeth. The end result is a multi-tooth restoration anchored on top of two teeth or implants.
What are Dental Bridges Used For?
Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth. However, to get a dental bridge, you must have healthy teeth on either side or plan to have a pair of implants placed. Bridges help restore a natural-looking smile, improve chewing ability, and prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of place by maintaining proper tooth spacing. Bridges can often replace the need for a removable partial denture.
If the bridge is anchored on top of natural teeth, the ends of the bridge also serve as functional crowns for the abutment teeth. This means those teeth have added reinforcement if they’re already in need of a crown. A traditional tooth-supported bridge can replace 1-2 teeth at a time, while an implant-supported bridge can replace 3-4 teeth at a time.
What is a Crown?
A dental crown (sometimes called a “cap”) is a tooth-shaped cover that goes over and around the entire visible portion of a tooth. They’re used when a tooth is severely damaged or decayed when it can’t withstand normal biting pressure anymore. Crowns are custom-made to fit over the tooth and restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. At Canal Vista Family Dental, our crowns can be made of various materials such as porcelain, metal, or a combination of both.
When Does Someone Need a Crown?
Dr. Bestandji may recommend a crown if you have a tooth that we need to:
- Restore because it is severely decayed or damaged
- Protect after a root canal procedure
- Replace with a single dental implant
- Improve the appearance or shape of
- Provide additional support to a tooth because of a large filling or extensive dental procedures
In essence, if the tooth can’t hold up to everyday chewing and biting pressure, a crown will distribute that pressure over the restoration. This protective cover allows you to continue using your tooth as you normally would.
Cost of Dental Bridge vs. Crown
The cost of dental bridges and crowns varies depending on several factors, such as the materials used, the complexity of the procedure, the geographic location of your dentist’s office, and other circumstances. In general, dental bridges cost more than crowns because they require additional materials and planning to prepare the adjacent teeth for the placement of the dental restoration.
On average, the cost of a dental bridge ranges from $500 to $1,200 per tooth, while a crown can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,500 per tooth. Costs vary because of other things like dental insurance coverage.
At Canal Vista Family Dental, we will provide you with a detailed treatment plan with costs for your crown or bridge based on your circumstances, insurance coverage, and the type of restoration you choose. We also offer flexible payment options and financing to supplement your insurance coverage or if you do not have dental benefits.
Treatment Process: Bridge vs. Crown
The treatment process for dental bridges and crowns is nearly identical. Both require a two-step process to fit and place the restoration.
During the first visit, the abutment teeth are prepared by removing any damaged portions of the tooth or reshaping the tooth so that the restoration will fit over it. Next, we will take impressions of the teeth to create a mold, which is sent to a dental lab where the bridge or crown is custom-made per Dr. Bestandji’s specifications. Then we fit you with a temporary restoration until the permanent one is ready to place. During the second visit, the permanent crown or bridge is tried in and adjusted for proper fit and comfort, then permanently cemented in place.
During your treatment experience, Dr. Bestandji will take careful measures to ensure your comfort at all times. In most cases, only local anesthetic (numbing medication) is used, so you won’t feel anything more than a little pressure. For the placement visit, numbing typically isn’t required but can be used if needed.
Can I Use Crowns or Bridges on Dental Implants?
Yes, dental crowns and bridges can be used to restore missing teeth with dental implants. Implants are small titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to replace the missing tooth root. Once the implant fuses with the bone, a crown or bridge can be attached to the implant to restore the missing tooth or teeth.
Dr. Bestandji offers a wide range of dental implant options, including multi-tooth and full-arch implant designs.
Which Lasts Longer: Crowns or Bridges?
Both dental crowns and bridges can last for several years. By practicing good oral hygiene—including daily flossing and brushing along the gums—and scheduling regular checkups, most of these restorations can last at least ten years or longer. Implant-supported designs can last even longer than that!
Book an Exam Today
If you have broken or missing teeth, Dr. Bestandji and the team at Canal Vista Family can help. Contact our dentist in Princeton, NJ, today to reserve an exam. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and discuss the treatment in further detail. That way, you can make an educated decision about the best restorative treatment for your smile’s needs. Call us today to get started.