Veneers are fixed porcelain restorations that mainly cover the front surface of the anterior teeth. They can help improve dental aesthetics by fixing discoloured, stained or crooked teeth. Veneers may also sometimes be used to close the gaps between teeth. Dental Crowns
Crowns are restorations that cover or cap teeth, restoring them to their natural size, shape, and colour. Crowns are indicated when there is a need to strengthen teeth that are mechanically weakened.
Crowns not only help appearance but can also save a tooth that might otherwise be lost. Dental Bridges
Unlike traditional removable dentures, a dental bridge is a fixed option for the replacement of 1 - 2 missing teeth. The adjacent teeth on either or both sides of the missing space are prepared in the same way a crown preparation. Similarly, impressions are taken and the bridge is fabricated in a dental laboratory. The bridge is then cemented on the adjacent teeth at the next appointment. If well cared for, a dental bridge can last for 10 to 15 years.
There are three main types of dental bridges: Conventional fixed, resin-bonded (Maryland), and cantilever. The type of bridge used will depend on the quality of the teeth on either side of the gap, as well as the position or size of the gap:
i) Conventional Fixed Bridges
With a fixed bridge, the false tooth (also knowns as the pontic), is anchored to new crowns attached to the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap. These crowns are usually made from porcelain with the replacement tooth made from either ceramic or porcelain. This forms a very strong bridge that can be used anywhere in the mouth.
ii) Resin-Bonded Bridges
Sometimes called Maryland bridge, these dental bridges involve less invasive tooth preparation as it relies mainly on the resin cement for bridge retention. The replacement tooth is generally made from plastic and is fixed in place via metal tags bonded to the adjacent teeth using resin. This type of bridge is particularly suitable for front teeth (e.g. replacing lateral incisors) where the loading forces are generally less than the posterior teeth. Due to the more conservative preparation and reliance on the micromechanical retentive properties of the composite resin, the longevity of this type of bridge is typically lesser than a conventional fixed bridge.
iii) Cantilever Bridges
These dental bridges are used in clinical situations where only one side of the teeth on the missing space can be prepared to receive a bridge. The bridge is anchored to one or more teeth on just one side of the missing space.
- When, for aesthetic reasons, it is not desirable to prepare the teeth on both sides of the missing space
- When the missing space is located behind (posterior to) the adjacent abutment tooth
- When one of the adjacent abutment teeth is already supporting another prosthetic restoration that, for various reasons, cannot be replaced