Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants.
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 bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges span the space where the teeth are missing. They are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth.