Planning and making crown and bridges requires an objective analysis of a number of factors. The advantages and disadvantages of fixed prosthodontic provision need to be considered, communicated to the patient in addition to the need for long term maintenance. There are, more than ever, numerous crown materials that can be utilised. From non-precious alloys to all-ceramic and their different derivatives.
Personally I can never see past gold being the ‘gold standard’ for posterior restorations. This material tarnishes minimally, never chips and maintains its lustre for years if not decades. Aesthetics can make this material a lesser option in the eyes of the patient.
Bridges require measurably more planning and assessment than crowns. Restoring a tooth unit in this way can be very satisfying when all the factors are taken into account. Unfortunately the risk factors increase and the avenues for failure are greater than for single units.
The British Society for Restorative Dentistry have published some comprehensive and useful guidelines on Crown, Bridge and Implant provision linked below.