In general, crowns or “caps” are indicated when teeth are too compromised to place fillings or onlays. Crowns can prevent further breakdown and more extensive treatment in situations where teeth have:
- heavy wear
- large fillings that are in need of replacement
With current materials, crowns can be both esthetic and durable. Most are made out of high strength dental porcelain or a combination of dental porcelain and metal.
A bridge or “fixed bridgework” is often an option to replace missing teeth.
When there is a missing tooth that is between two teeth, a fixed bridge may be helpful to replace the missing tooth. A conventional bridge in this example is like having a crown on the abutment teeth adjacent to the space with the missing tooth (pontic) attached to the two crowns. With the advent and predictability of implants, the implant restoration is often another option for these situations.
A “Maryland” bridge differs from the conventional bridge in that it is much more conservative in the design and preparation.
The Maryland Bridge’s application is much more limited and less predictable in relation to durability and stress under biting forces. That being said, under appropriate conditions it may prove to be very durable.