A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a ‘cap’. Crowns are an ideal restoration for teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. They can be made of porcelain or gold or a combination of these materials. A dental crown could be used for a number of other reasons, for instance: you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth, you may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect it it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
If only one or two teeth are missing, a bridge may be used to replace them. If there are suitable teeth on either side of a gap, it may be possible to use them to support one, or sometimes two, artificial teeth. There are many bridge designs. Bridges are cemented in place, so they cannot be removed for cleaning. To keep the teeth healthy, the gap under a bridge must be cleaned daily using special dental floss – an ordinary toothbrush will not do the job. Your dentist or hygienist can demonstrate how to use floss under your bridge.
- More permanent and less bulky than dentures.
- They are fixed and thus provide stability .
- The look of the false tooth in a fixed bridge is similar to a real tooth.
- A small amount of the teeth adjacent to the gap usually needs to be removed. This means you are voluntarily damaging teeth which are causing no pain and are otherwise perfectly healthy. Unfortunately 1 in every 5 teeth prepared for a bridge may require further treatment such as Root Canal Treatment.
- More expensive than dentures
- If your front teeth are stained, chipped, or malaligned, veneers will give you a good life-like appearance with minimum tooth adjustment. A veneer is a porcelain facing on the front of your teeth usually your top teeth, it is just like a false finger nail.
- Veneers are made out of porcelain and are used mainly for aesthetic reasons. Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, and because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue) very little preparation of the tooth is needed.
- Porcelain veneers can improve the colour, shape and position of teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the right colour to improve a single discoloured or stained tooth or to lighten front teeth (usually the upper ones) generally.
- Veneers can also be used to close small gaps, when orthodontics (braces) are not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.