Bridges and Crowns


Scott Kupetz DMD

Bridges and crowns are used when a person has seriously damaged or missing teeth. This can be caused by numerous factors such as disease or injury; nonetheless, missing teeth can make life difficult. If too many teeth are missing chewing becomes a harder task making a person’s diet become worse, they have more difficulty speaking, and may become very self-conscious about their appearance. Bridges and crowns are cemented onto your existing teeth/ implants but may need to be touched-up over time

Crowns are simply just “caps” which can be placed over a damaged tooth. A dentist may recommend a crown for several reasons:

  • Fix a cracked/ chipped tooth
  • Hold together a tooth which could potentially fall apart due to cavities
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a tooth that has been weakened by root canal therapy
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a tooth that is discolored or poorly shaped

Crowns are constructed to mimic the shape of your natural tooth so you won’t be able to tell they are even there. We will take impressions of your teeth and then send them to a lab where a crown is made to your specifications. In order to place the crown, we will have to strip the enamel from your teeth and grind the “dentin” into a peg-like shape which the crown will be cemented too. Because the procedure is so delicate and long, it will take more than one visit to place the final crown so in the meantime you will get a temporary crown.

Bridges are used when one or more teeth are missing. Gaps in teeth can lead to a bad bite due to shifting or rotating teeth. The missing teeth, known as “abutments” are covered with a crown which serves as the anchor for the bridge. Different materials are used to create the bridges based on where the teeth are missing. We will advise on which options would be best for you. Porcelain bridges are matched to the exact shade of your teeth to provide a natural looking implant. There are also three types of bridges, fixed partial dentures, cantilever (extension) bridges, and resin-bonded (Maryland) bridges.

Fixed partial dentures are implants fused to a metal frame which is then anchored to the abutments with cement. More teeth being replaced requires more abutments to support the pressure from chewing.

Cantilever bridges are only anchored at one end so a perfectly healthy tooth won’t have to be used as an abutment. These types of bridges carry a higher risk of failure as they cannot withstand as much pressure. Cantilever bridges are mainly used on the front teeth.

Resin-bonded bridges do not utilize crowns but instead, a metal strip is bonded to the back of the teeth with a resin adhesive. The tooth is carefully prepared with an acid so the adhesive binds to the tooth. Over time the bonding can loosen so it is important to keep up with regular visits and call us with any concerns.