Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-coloured materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their colour, shape, size or length and resulting in an improved appearance.
Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. Resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement. You will need to discuss the best choice of veneer material for you with your dentist.
Crowns are a type of dental restoration which, when cemented into place, fully cup over the portion of a tooth which lies at and above the gum line. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that are used to fill in or cover over just a portion of a tooth. Since dental crowns encase the entire visible aspect of a tooth, a dental crown in effect becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.
Crowns can be made out of porcelain (or some other ceramic material), gold (or metal alloys), or a combination of both. Dental crowns are often referred to as “dental caps” or “tooth caps”.
Crowns are used to repair badly decayed, broken, discoloured, or misaligned teeth.
Crowns completely cover teeth, restoring them to their natural size, shape, and function. The location of the crown in the mouth usually dictates the type of material used. The tooth under the crown is reduced in size.
The crown will be permanently cemented over the reduced tooth. While you are waiting for the permanent crown to be fabricated, your dentist will provide you with a temporary one to wear.
Crowns have a much longer life span than bonding, resist stains better, hold their colour and resist chipping and cracking.
Crowns, however, take longer to prepare than bonding and are not reversible. Your dentist can recommend which type of restoration is best for your particular situation.
If the tooth is severely decayed, or little tooth structure remains, it may be necessary to place a metal post into the tooth to support the crown. If this is the case, root canal therapy will be performed.
A dental bridge is a device used to fill the space where a tooth has fallen out or been removed. A typical dental bridge consists of a pontic (a filler tooth) that is attached to two surrounding crowns (abutments).
Once complete, this bridge structure is bonded or cemented into the mouth. Without the use of a bridge, spaces in the mouth from missing teeth can cause multiple teeth to shift, lead to malocclusion (bad bite) and/or jaw problems, and may spur periodontal (gum) disease.
Dental bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.