Crowns, bridges and veneers...

Crowns, bridges and veneers are artificial devices used to protect existing teeth, replace those missing or to repair damage or trauma. Often used in conjunction with other treatments, they allow for careful, aesthetically pleasing restoration of your smile and longevity for your teeth.

We've included some details on what these devices are and to expect during treatment if they are recommended to you.

Crowns

A crown is a essentially a "cap" or "cover" which is placed over the tooth to restore or improve its natural look, shape and size. They are typically required when a tooth has suffered some sort of trauma, requires protection from further damage or becomes severely weakened.

A crown is recommended and intended to ensure your existing tooth does not break apart in the mouth. In these cases, a crown is typically your best chance and saving the tooth.

During examination, if it is identified there is too much destruction of the tooth substance, a crown may be indicated to you, as composite resin fillings simply do not give adequate support.

Worse still, when the tooth has had root canal therapy, more of the tooth has had to been removed to gain straightline access to the root canal system. This makes the remaining tooth structure more fragile.

Sometimes a "post and core" may have to be placed before the crown preparation, you will be told of the need for this.

The procedure for a crown involves removal of undermined parts of the tooth, careful shaping of the tooth to remove undercuts, exquisite gum margins which gives the ceramist an even chance at producing the invisible restoration.

To capture these margins, there is a need to condition the gums somewhat... using a laser... this will be explained to you as we go. We will take impressions of both your upper and lower jaws, take a bite registration... we like to make a crown that actually fits you..... take a carefully considered shade selection by using several methods, and make a provisional restoration that will cover the remaining tooth preparation.

After approximately 2 weeks your definitive restoration will be placed... we are after accuracy here, so if it doesn't fit, it will be remade.... it's easier to do this than to make excuses... mind you, the number of remakes we've had to do, for whatever reason, has been in the tens over 30 years. Mind you, everything we put in the mouth has to be adjusted.

Bridges

Bridges are devices intended to replace one or more teeth. However, unlike dentures or partial dentures, they are permanently affixed to surrounding teeth and cannot be removed.

Bridges are an ideal candidate to replace teeth lost through accident or trauma, or when other treatments, such as a crown, will not readily provide the necessary results.

There are two forms of bridges:

  • A traditional bridge, which is similar to a crown. If the teeth either side of those missing are deemed healthy, a bridge can be placed over those teeth. The traditional bridge has one or more prosthetic teeth to fill any gaps.
  • A bonded bridge, which similarly will replace one or more missing teeth, however is glued or bonded to surrounding teeth rather than overlaid with a crown.

Bridges typically take two appointments to complete and with proper care, last between five and seven years.

Veneers

Veneers are a thin piece of porcelain bonded to an existing tooth to enhance the look, feel and strength where natural enamel cannot. They can also be used as a cosmetic treatment to correct small gaps and enhance the brightness of your smile.

Lab fabricated porcelain veneers may be recommended when a single or multiple anterior teeth are chipped or broken.

The procedure for applying veneers is typically as follows:

  • Teeth are prepared with a handpiece.
  • To receive the veneers, an impression is made and the teeth are temporarily filled whilst waiting for the veneers to arrive from the lab.
  • An etching gel is placed, conditioning the teeth for the bonding procedure.
  • The etching gel is then thoroughly rinsed and an adhesive bonding agent is placed.
  • The lab fabricated porcelain veneers are then bonded in place aesthetically restoring the teeth to proper form and function.

With proper care, you can expect your veneers to last for around 10 to 20 years.

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