Both crowns and most 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.
When a tooth has broken or fractured, it becomes weakened due to the loss of tooth structure. To protect that tooth from further fracturing, some kind of full coverage restoration is necessary. Teeth that have large fillings, typically silver fillings, can break teeth from chewing forces over time and may also be a good candidate for a crown. Crown restorations have been used for many years with a proven track record of protection. There are many different types of materials used to make crowns. Most often all ceramic or tooth colored crowns are used, although some teeth may be better with an all metal or gold crown. The tooth being crowned will be prepared with 1 mm of removal of tooth structure around the perimeter of the tooth and 1.5-2 mm on the biting surface of the tooth. This is necessary to get a crown to fit over the tooth. We are so fortunate to have Digital Solutions for this, called CEREC, that allows for many same day crowns. So convenient to avoid a second appointment and comfortable due to no temporary crown! See us sometime
In some circumstances, a missing tooth can be replaced with a bridge. A bridge is one option with a missing tooth, the other options are an implant or a removable partial denture. Bridges are only possible when there are no more than 1-2 missing teeth in a row. There also much be a tooth on either side of the space in order to accommodate for the bridge. An advantage of bridges are that they are cemented in place and do not come out, like a removable partial denture does. A bridge is similar to a crown but it is 3-4 units all fabricated together as a single unit, the fake tooth is usually the middle tooth. This is a very nice alternative when implants are not an option.