Veneers, Crowns & Bridgework
Veneers are usually thin layers of porcelain that fit over the front surface of the tooth to alter the colour or shape of the tooth. Some preparation of the tooth is usually necessary but how much depends on the problem that is being addressed. For example a very dark tooth is likely to need a thicker veneer to disguise the colour although tooth whitening may minimise this.
Some veneers can also be made from composite and often these need little or no preparation.
Because veneers tend to be thin, unlike most crowns, they are bonded to the teeth in order to give them their strength. In the correct situation they are a very good restoration as they require less preparation than is needed for crowns.
Crowns are restorations that fit over all or most of the exposed surface of a prepared tooth.
These are placed over teeth where a filling or veneer is usually not enough to restore the tooth satisfactorily. Generally it takes a little while longer to prepare teeth for crowns and there are a number of different types of crowns available.
Modern materials mean that better aesthetics can be achieved by using metal free or all ceramic crowns. These allow light to pass through, as does natural tooth and so can give a more natural appearance, especially in the front teeth.
Bridges can be likened to crowns that are joined together to ‘Bridge’ or fill the Gap created by a missing tooth.
Preparation usually involves altering one or more teeth adjacent to the gap in the same manner as for crowns and the laboratory technician then makes the bridge as one unit. In order for a bridge to be successful the tooth or teeth used to support it must be strong enough.
In certain circumstances, where the space is small it may be possible to place an adhesive bridge which may mean little or no preparation to the supporting tooth.