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Update: May 23, 2024 | Author: Dr. Ronald Pham | Publish: May 20, 2024

What is the difference between dental crowns and dental bridgework?

Dental crowns and bridges are two standard solutions. They restore damaged or missing teeth. Both serve essential purposes.

However, the key differences between these prostheses are significant. Before making a decision, patients need to understand it.

What is better a bridge or a crown?

In this post, we’ll dive into what makes these restorations different. We’ll also guide you on when each may be the best choice for your smile.

Understanding Crown

A crown is a cap that covers a damaged or weakened tooth. Its purpose is to restore the affected tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns are used in the following situations:

  • To protect a weak tooth from breaking.
  • To restore a tooth that is already broken or worn down
  • To support and cover a tooth with a large filling.
  • To improve the appearance of a discolored or misshapen tooth.

This restoration involves a single cap. It covers the visible part of a tooth above the gum line. It relies on the existing tooth structure for support.

Understanding Crown

Placing a crown involves preparing the tooth. This means removing some enamel to make space for the crown.

Dental lab technicians take an impression of the prepared tooth. They use it to make a custom crown.

A temporary crown protects the prepared tooth. It stays until the final restoration is ready for permanent crown placement.

Understanding Dental Bridges

A bridge is a fixed prosthetic that replaces one or more absent teeth. It consists of two main components:


Dentists place two or more crowns over healthy teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing teeth. The abutments serve as anchors.

Understanding dental bridges


The artificial tooth or teeth that fill the space where natural teeth are missing. To form one solid unit, the pontic connects to the abutment crowns.

According to studies, the primary purposes of bridge teeth are:

  • To fill the space of absent teeth and restore your smile.
  • To prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of position.
  • To restore chewing and speaking functions.
  • To maintain the shape of your face by replacing missing teeth.

The procedure for placing a bridge is like that of crowns. Dentists prepare the abutment teeth by removing some enamel.

The dentist takes an impression of the prepared teeth and gaps. Then, they send it to a laboratory, where they make the custom bridge. We wear a temporary bridge until ready to place the final one.

Key Difference Between Crowns and Bridges

Fixed prosthetics are both options. They can improve the function and look of your teeth. However, they have distinct purposes, structures, and dental procedures.

Critical differences between dental crowns and bridge

When to Choose a Dental Crown

Evidence indicates that these restorations are an excellent solution in cases where:

  • Severe tooth decay that has damaged a significant part of the tooth.
  • Cracked, fractured, or broken teeth that need protection and support.
  • Many large fillings weaken teeth.
  • Discolored or misshapen teeth that detract from your smile.

Things to consider when choosing your dental crown

This restoration may be ideal if you have a tooth that is weak, nonfunctional, or ugly. But, the tooth still has a healthy root and enough structure.

When to Choose a Dental Bridge

Your dentist will likely recommend a dental bridge if:

  • You are missing one or more teeth and want a fixed, nonremovable replacement.
  • Healthy teeth are on either side of the gap to serve as abutments.
  • You have a dental implant to support one end of the bridge.

Bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth. They are perfect if you can’t get dental implants. They are also good if you want an alternative to removable dentures.

Between crowns and bridges you should choose the right solution

Bridges restore your ability to chew and speak by filling the gap. They also help maintain your facial shape and prevent remaining teeth from shifting.

Alternatives to These Restorations

In some cases, other dental treatments may be more suitable.

Dental Implants

If you are missing a tooth but have enough bone, a dental implant with a crown can replace it. It will not involve the adjacent teeth. Implants are a standalone solution that does not require support from surrounding teeth.

Dental Veneers

You may choose dental veneers for teeth if they are discolored, chipped, or misaligned. These thin porcelain shells stick to the front of the teeth. They improve their shape, color, and appearance. Veneers require less tooth preparation than crowns.

Choosing the Right Option

Many restorative and cosmetic dental treatments are available. It can take time to determine which one is right for you.

The best course of action is to consult with your dentist. They will check your oral health. They will discuss your goals and budget.

Then, they will recommend a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Some questions to discuss with your dentist include:

  • What materials do these restorations use? (Porcelain, zirconia, metal, etc.)
  • How long do they last?
  • Will the restoration look natural?
  • What is the procedure like? Is it painful?
  • What is the cost of treatment? Does insurance cover it?
  • How do I care for my restoration?
  • Are there any risks or potential complications?

Answering them will give you a clear idea. You’ll learn what to expect with these treatments. You’ll also be ready to make an informed decision about your treatment. You will do this in partnership with your dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials are crowns and bridges made of?

Dentists can make crowns and bridges from a variety of materials. These include porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, such as gold, or a mix. Each material has advantages in terms of aesthetics, durability, and cost.

Can I get crowns or a bridge if I have gum disease?

You must treat any gum disease before getting a dental crown or bridge. It can affect the success of the restoration and lead to further complications.

How do I dental care for my dental crown or bridge?

Brush and floss as you would with your natural teeth. Don’t chew on ice or other complex objects. Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.


Dental crowns and bridges are excellent solutions for restoring damaged or absent teeth. It caps and protects a single tooth. Bridges replace one or more absent teeth.

They do this by anchoring to adjacent teeth. Deciding between the two depends on your specific dental needs and goals.

We aim to help you understand the difference between these restorations. We want you to feel empowered to make the best choice for your smile.

We encourage you to schedule a consultation with the dentistry office Restoration Dental OC if you need one of these treatments. With Dr. Ronald Pham’s expertise and guidance, you’ll be on your way to a stronger, more beautiful smile.

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Dr. Ronald Pham

Dr. Ronald Pham, DDS, is a Doctor of Dental Surgery who graduated from the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry in 2015. With over 8 years of experience in general dentistry, he specializes in Dental restoration, Root canal treatment, and Dental implants…

Dr. Pham has restored the smiles of +2,000 patients and is committed to providing professional dental care focused on patient comfort. He achieves this by combining a welcoming space and state-of-the-art dental technology.

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