Crowns, Bridges and Veneers
Crowns can be used to repair very broken down teeth and also used to change the size, shape and colour of teeth. A crown can be made of various materials and most commonly porcelain is used. Crowns can be all porcelain or fused to an underlying metal structure.
In order to construct a crown the tooth needs to be 'prepared'. This involves trimming the tooth down so it is essentially a smaller version of itself with a delicate shelf running around the gum margin for the new crown to sit on. Impressions are taken and sent to the laboratory where the crown is constructed from models and sent back to be fitted approximately a week later. In the meantime a temporary crown is constructed. When the crown returns from the laboratory it is tried in to check the fit, the bite and the aesthetics. If all is good it is cemented and provides a good long term solution.
Sometimes a very broken down tooth may require a post to make the crown secure. This can only be carried out on teeth which have previously had root canal treatment. Post crowns generally have a poorer long term survival rate than crowns without a post.
Veneers are a popular choice to change the shape and colour of teeth. They can also be used to modify the position of a tooth or teeth in a patients' smile. A veneer is not as destructive as a crown and only involves trimming a small amount of tooth tissue away and the veneer sits over the front of the tooth a bit like a false finger nail. Veneers are a nice option in some cases but sometimes less invasive techniques to alter the position of teeth such as using Invisalign® may be appropriate. Veneers can last up to around 10 years.
Bridges can be used to replace a missing tooth. There are various types of bridges available. A bridge is essentially a false tooth attached to the tooth next door or uses a tooth either side. Sometimes bridges can not be used if the gap is too big or if the teeth either side are not suitable. Bridges can be more destructive to adjacent teeth than when placing a crown on a tooth. There are other solutions to missing teeth including Dentures or an Implant.
You can find out more about crowns HERE.
You can find out more about bridges HERE.