Crowns, Veneers and Bridges
A crown is a tooth-shaped “covering” that is placed over a tooth to cover the tooth for the purpose of restoring the natural tooth’s shape, size, strength, function and/or to improve a tooth’s appearance. Crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of the tooth that lies at and above the gum line. Crowns can be used for a number of reasons, including:
- Protecting a weak tooth ex: from decay or root canal procedure
- Prevent teeth from breaking
- Holding together parts of a cracked tooth
- Restoring broken teeth or severely worn teeth
- Cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t sufficient enough tooth left
- Holding a dental bridge in place
- Covering misshapen teeth
- Other cosmetic modification
Crowns require recontouring the tooth’s enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over the prepared area while maintaining the same size and shape of the natural tooth. Crowns can be made of gold, porcelain, and porcelain fused to precious metal.
Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surfaces of teeth to improve one’s appearance. These custom shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. Dental veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape; veneers generally do not require as much of the tooth structure to be affected as is with the case of dental crowns, yet may offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative. 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.
A bridge is a dental procedure to literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Bridges are made up of two or more crowns from the teeth on either side of the gap and the false tooth or teeth that are missing. The two or more anchoring teeth are called the abutment teeth, and the false tooth/teeth in between the anchor teeth are called pontics. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and are a great way to restore your smile and to prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position. Dental bridges are fixed appliances, which means they cannot be taken in and out of the mouth, and are supported by natural teeth and/or dental implants.