Dental crowns and bridges are both prosthetic devices which are cemented to existing teeth by your dental professional. Crowns and bridges are used for different purposes, but both are permanently fixed to your teeth and can only be removed by a dentist (unlike dentures which can be removed for cleaning).
Dental crowns are used to entirely cover a tooth for a variety of reasons. Crowns can be used to improve the appearance of broken or misshapen teeth, but also have the added benefit of protecting and adding strength to weakened or damaged teeth. Crowns come in a variety of colours, ranging from stainless steel and gold, all the way to porcelain which can perfectly match your teeth’s natural colour.
Dental bridges on the other hand are used in combination with crowns to bridge the gap between an area where a tooth has been extracted or fallen out. When there is a gap between your teeth, overtime your surrounding teeth will begin to shift into that gap. As they shift a host of other problems can come along such as an imbalanced bite or a condition known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder which is essentially a disorder of how the jaw moves. Bridges work by capping the surrounding teeth of the gap and creating a bridge between the two crowns with a prosthetic tooth. As with crowns, bridges can be made from a variety of substances which all will have different colour and strength. Your dentist can help you decide which material is best depending on the location of the bridge as well as cosmetic considerations.
Crowns and bridges are meant to be permanent solutions and can last a lifetime with the proper oral care. They should be treated the same way as your natural teeth and fit into your regular oral care routine.