Both crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment.
A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth.
Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth.They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.
As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. A dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost.