Crowns, Veneers & Bridges:
Crowns, also known as caps, are used to restore shape and function to badly damaged teeth. They completely encircle the remaining tooth, protecting it from further damage and restoring an aesthetic appearance. They are usually made of porcelain or ceramic, but many other options are available. Some crowns have a metal frame on the inside to improve their strength.
Veneers are similar to crowns in material and construction, but instead of covering the entire tooth, they only cover the front surface. They are usually done as a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the front teeth.
The procedures for getting crowns and veneers fitted are very similar. Your dentist may start with taking an impression of your teeth to allow planning ahead, especially if multiple crowns or veneers are planned. Otherwise, he or she may proceed directly to the next stage. The dentist will then shape the tooth to allow the crown or veneer to fit onto the tooth. Another impression will be taken to accurately record the shape of the adjusted tooth. This impression is sent to the lab for the construction of the crown/veneer. In the meantime, the tooth is covered by a temporary crown/veneer. When the crown/veneer is ready, you will return to the dentist to have it fitted to your tooth.
Dental bridges are a fixed option for replacing missing teeth. A dental bridge consists of two crowns on the teeth on either side of a missing tooth. Attached to the two crowns is an artificial tooth, ‘bridging’ the gap. Usually this is only done in a gap in your teeth where one or two teeth have been removed. A bridge that spans more than three consecutive missing teeth is usually too weak to withstand biting forces and is rarely done except in certain situations. The procedure for installing a bridge is similar to that of receiving two crowns.
Because crowns, veneers, and bridges are custom made by a skilled dental technician in a laboratory setting, they are generally stronger and more aesthetic than any kind of tooth restoration a dentist can construct directly in the mouth. They tend to be stronger and last longer than fillings of the same size, but still require constant maintenance. We recommend that your crowns, veneers, and the rest of your teeth be checked every six months to be able to catch any problems early on when they are more easily fixed.