A crown is a cap that is cemented onto your existing teeth to restore its strength, size and appearance. In most cases, a dental crown is necessary after completing root canal treatment, or when the tooth is so badly broken down that a normal filling may not be strong enough to hold the tooth.
There are different materials that a crown can be made of. The common ones include full metal, zirconia, porcelain fused to metal (PFM) and full ceramic.
A bridge is like 3 or more crowns joined together, but with the purpose of replacing one to two missing teeth by gaining support from the adjacent teeth.
To prepare your tooth for the crown or bridge, your dentist will first trim and reshape your tooth to make room for the crown to be capped over. Once the trimming is done, an impression of the teeth will be taken to fabricate the crown, which usually takes 1-2 weeks to be ready. Meanwhile, a temporary crown will be place around your teeth to protect it from any damage until the next appointment. In your next visit, the temporary crown will be removed and the actual crown will be cemented over your teeth permanently.
Crown and bridge may be strong and able to last a long time, but they can chip as well. The best way to avoid this from happening is to avoid chewing on hard food. However, if it happens, it can sometimes be repaired in your mouth. However, if there is a lot of chipping, you may need a new replacement instead.
It is also crucial to brush and floss crowned/bridged teeth well and to seek regular dental maintenance with a dental professional to prevent new decays from occurring.