A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth – covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Crowns are placed on the teeth on both sides of the missing tooth. These two crowns are called abutments and will serve as an anchor to support the replacement tooth called a pontic.
To repair damage to a tooth rather than using a simple filling a dentist will often use an inlay, onlay, or crown depending on the extent of damage to the tooth.
An inlay is similar to a filling and lies inside the cusp tips of the tooth. They are custom-made to fit the prepared cavity and are then cemented or bonded into place.
An onlay is a more extensive reconstruction that covers one or more cusps of a tooth. Onlays are indicated in situations where a substantial reconstruction is required. However, more of the tooth structure can be conserved compared to the placement of a crown.