A bridge is a way to replace a missing tooth (or teeth).
Like a bridge is suspended at both ends, the fake tooth is suspended by part of the prosthesis that connects to the adjacent teeth. Unlike a denture, you do not remove bridges; they are meant to be cemented onto the teeth. Bridges can be made out of gold, alloys, zirconia, porcelain, or a combination of these.
Generally, it takes two to three appointments to complete a bridge, over several weeks. For many years, a bridge was the closest way we could replace a missing tooth that felt the most like a natural tooth. Nowadays, dental implants are the gold standard, though bridges still provide a good tooth replacement option in many cases.
Crowns and Onlays (Partial Crowns)
Crowns are dental restorations that are usually made in a dental laboratory, and their purpose is to protect your tooth from future fracture, or improve your tooth’s shape and colour.
Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have large portions destroyed by tooth decay. Teeth that have had root canal treatment should be crowned to protect teeth from breaking, since after root canal treatment your teeth have less tooth structure, and what remains may get brittle over time.
A crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that fully covers the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both, or even acrylic. Porcelain or mixed porcelain/metal crowns are most often preferred because they look more like a natural tooth than metal crowns. Nevertheless, gold crowns are still preferred by some patients at the back of the mouth because of their well known strength and longevity, especially in cases where the patient grinds their teeth heavily.
Your dentist will explain all material options and what is best for your case. Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, whereby the dentist applies the restorative material directly into your tooth, a crown is usually fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression, which allows a dental laboratory technician to work on a detailed stone replica of your teeth and be able to make the crown fit “like a glove.”