Crown, Bridge and Veneers
Crowns are usually fabricated with ceramic or metal and are the strongest way to restore a tooth. The simplest way to imagine a crown is that it is a helmet for the remaining tooth structure.
Crowns are routinely constructed over a tooth that is weakened due to a large cavity, extensive fillings, or a tooth with root canal treatment. For aesthetic purposes, crowns are fabricated to improve the appearance of worn and discoloured teeth. A crown restores a tooth to its normal anatomical contour and improves its strength significantly. A properly designed crown should also seal the tooth margin from any leakage.
Crowns are normally constructed with ceramic, or a combination of metal and ceramic, or fully metal. A tooth that needs a crown is first prepared and an impression is recorded by the dentist. The positive replica of the precise impression is used to fabricate the crown. If the crown is done in two visits, a temporary acrylic crown is placed as an interim restoration. The permanent crown is cemented to the natural tooth with strong cement and it is hard to remove once it is placed. After cementation of a crown, the dentist verifies the bite, contour, contact to the adjacent teeth and the aesthetics.
A bridge is constructed to replace a missing tooth or teeth using the adjacent teeth for support. This procedure is similar to the crown procedure except that on many occasions multiple teeth must be prepared to construct a bridge. Ideally, an implant is preferred over a bridge for replacing a missing tooth, but in cases where an implant is contraindicated, a bridge works well and is more economical than an implant.
Veneers are thin ceramic aesthetic restorations that are fitted to the front surface of the teeth to improve appearance and smile. Veneers can also be done chair side with composite material. Veneer is useful to close small gaps between the front teeth, to restore discoloured and chipped teeth and for various other aesthetic reasons. A veneer is fabricated with or without tooth preparation and the procedure is very conservative.