Believe it or not, there is actual proof that having a nice smile contributes greatly to a person’s overall quality of life and good health. In fact, many studies conducted over the past few years have shown that people with attractive smiles feel more self-confident and enjoy a higher sense of self-esteem. But it goes beyond that. When you smile, your brain releases endorphins that elevate your mood and contribute to your overall good health. So it makes all the sense in the world to improve your smile, so you feel comfortable smiling more often and, in turn, can reap all the benefits from doing so.
For many people, that means finding a way to repair or replace one or more of their front teeth. If you’re either missing a front tooth, or have a front tooth that has been damaged in some way and is ruining your smile, we have good news. Modern dental technology provides a variety of ways to fix your front teeth and give you a brighter, more attractive smile. Now, it’s just a matter of deciding which dental treatment is right for you. In this article, we explore which is best – crowns or bridges for front teeth.
What You Should Know about Crowns
A crown is a tooth-shaped dental restoration that covers the entire surface of a tooth. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, porcelain, ceramic, resin, and metal fused to another material. These remarkably strong restorations are durable, highly reliable ways to repair a tooth that has been badly damaged by a crack, a chip, tooth decay, or one that has undergone a root canal. In addition, crowns can be used to close a gap between teeth.
But crowns serve other purposes as well. These restorations are commonly used in dental treatments that are designed to replace missing teeth, including dental bridges and dental implants. So whether you have a front tooth that is damaged, have wide gaps in between your front teeth, or are missing a tooth in the front of your mouth, a dental crown may provide the solution to the problem.
What You Should Know about Bridges
For many dental patients, a dental bridge is an excellent way to replace one or more missing teeth. These tried-and-true appliances are a relatively inexpensive, attractive, fast, and durable solution to the problem. Consisting of one or more artificial teeth mounted into a metal frame, a dental bridge is permanently bonded to adjoining teeth and cannot be removed by the patient. There are three types of bridges available:
- Fixed bridge – This style of bridge includes a crown on each end of the appliance. Those crowns fit over the adjoining natural teeth (also called the “abutment” teeth) and are held in place on those teeth with dental cement.
- Maryland bridge — Instead of having a crown on either end, a Maryland bridge includes tooth-colored brackets that are bonded onto adjacent natural teeth.
- Cantilever bridge – Typically used when only one abutment tooth is available, a cantilever dental bridge includes two crowns located next to each other on the same side as the missing tooth space.
Front Tooth Problems Resolved by Crowns
If you have any of the following issues, a crown may be an excellent way to repair your front teeth:
- Damaged tooth – Whether you have a front tooth that is chipped, cracked, decayed, or badly stained, a crown is often a great way to repair the tooth and restore your beautiful smile. Although crowns come in a variety of materials, certain of those are usually more desirable choices for front teeth. Both all-porcelain and all-ceramic crowns work well in the front of the mouth because they can be made to perfectly match the patient’s other natural teeth and are generally more natural-looking than some other choices. On the other hand, crowns made with metal and metal fused to another material, although quite strong, would be very visible when the patient smiles and might not be the best choices. Even crowns made from metal fused to another material eventually develop a dark line around the gum line and would not be the best choice for front teeth.
- Wide gaps in between teeth – Crowns can also be used to close gaps between teeth, a problem that is quite common. Once again, both porcelain and ceramic are good choices for crowns in the front of the mouth since they are not only more aesthetically pleasing but are also relatively durable. Composite resin crowns are also available, but you should know that although resin crowns may look like natural teeth and cost less than other types of crowns, they are much more likely to crack and chip than other materials.
Replacing Missing Front Teeth
Patients who are missing their front teeth have a variety of solutions from which to choose. These include the following:
- Dental bridge – A bridge is often an attractive option because it’s less expensive and less time-consuming than some other tooth-replacement options. Modern dental bridges can look quite natural as well. But the drawback with a dental bridge is that it puts a lot of strain on adjoining natural teeth since those abutment teeth need to serve as anchors for the appliance. And, although bridges do last for several years, they eventually need to be replaced.
- Dental implant – It’s easy to see why dental implants are becoming such a popular way to replace missing teeth. They are attractive, permanent solutions for missing teeth. Still, getting an implant is a time-consuming process. It begins when the dentist or oral surgeon implants a tiny metal rod into the jawbone at the exact location of the missing tooth. Then, after a few months, the metal fuses with the bone tissue, creating what is essentially an artificial tooth root. Once that process is complete, the dentist affixes a crown to the post on top of the implant. The end result is a permanent solution to a missing tooth, complete with a crown that is perfectly matched to the shade of the other existing natural teeth. The obvious downside to implants is that they’re time-consuming. They’re also a more expensive option. But the advantages are their beautiful appearance, the fact that they feel just like natural teeth, and they can last for a lifetime!
To find out more about which is best, crowns or bridges for front teeth, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment today. Your brand new beautiful smile could be just a phone call away!