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What’s the difference between a crown, a bridge, and a dental implant?

Date: 27 March 2015 Category:

I was happily chomping away on some dry roasted peanuts the other day, ironically writing a feature about how to care for your teeth, when I heard an almighty crunch!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t just an overly roasted peanut in the mix — a piece of my back molar had broken off and I’d just swallowed most of it. Eww.

I went to see the dentist who told me that because I had a clean break my tooth could be filled on this occassion, but that I could end up needing a crown if the filling doesn’t last…

What’s a crown I asked?

“Crowns are a lot stronger and more permanent than fillings”, he told me.

In layman’s terms, a crown is like a protective cover that fits over a broken or decayed tooth, which is why a crown can also be called a cap.

First, the existing tooth gets drilled down to a peg and then the tooth shaped crown simply slots snuggly over the top of the prepared tooth, restoring alignment, strength and shape.

I’ve since learned that crowns are strong because of what they are made out of: durable materials like porcelain, ceramic, acrylic, gold, or metal alloys.

I’ve spent a lot on orthodontics, so I want to keep my smile looking good and I was reassured that porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the colour of my existing teeth.

“Just go careful with those peanuts,” my dentist half jokingly told me as I left with my new filling.

I told him that I’d carry on eating peanuts even if my tooth had fallen out.

And if it had, there are still some options…

Bridges and dental implants

Bridges are exactly that: a bridge. They cover a gap between existing natural teeth or implants and these adjacent teeth are prepared as crowns with a replacement tooth in the middle attached to cover the gap. You have the same advantages as crowns regarding aesthetics and matching tooth colour.

Implants are metal posts that are surgically placed below your gums, into the jawbone and replacement teeth are then fixed to the top of the posts. It’s worth noting that you need adequate bone and healthy gums to support implants.

Dental implants are more expensive, but they come with many advantages like offering a more natural feel compared to bridges and dentures that can sometimes shift or slip in your mouth. Implants don’t usually hamper eating or speaking like some other options can.

Implants do not require that other healthy teeth be drilled and prepared like they do for a bridge.

This is a very basic rundown of some of the differences between crowns, bridges and implants and everybody’s needs are different, so please call or visit your local Centre for Dentistry practice for more detailed information on specific dental treatments. Ask about Centre for Dentistry’s dental plan and offers, which can help make dental treatments more affordable…


1 Comment

  • Thanks for sharing the differences between the two. I’m beginning to accept that a bit of discomfort in the beginning is worth it to get a new tooth. Dental Bridges