A dental crown is a tooth-shaped ‘cap’ that is placed over a tooth to cover it and restore its shape and size. It strengthens and improves the appearance of a tooth. When a crown is cemented into place it fully encases the visible portion of a tooth that lies above the gum line. Crowns can be made of porcelain, gold or a combination of both, depending on personal choice and location in the mouth. Your dentist will advise you on what is best for you.
The procedure for a crown is done over two appointments. The first appointment is to shape the tooth and take impressions to be sent to the laboratory to make. This usually takes up to an hour. The second appointment is two weeks after the first and is to fit the crown, this usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Crowns are prepared under local anaesthesia.
A bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth by adjoining an artificial tooth to adjacent teeth or a dental implant. A bridge will span the area where teeth are missing and gets attached to natural healthy teeth.
There are three different types of bridge:
-Maryland bridge/resin-bonded bridge – made of a metal framework that contains the false tooth which is then bonded to your existing tooth.
-Cantilever bridge – this is anchored by crowns on only one side of the space caused by the missing teeth and fills the missing gap.
-Traditional bridge – this is made by placing crowns on the teeth either side of the missing tooth. The crowned teeth are then anchored on either side of the missing tooth.
The procedure for a bridge is done over two appointments. The first appointment is to shape the tooth ready to hold the bridge in place and the second is to then fit the bridge. Depending on which bridge your dentist thinks best suits your needs would depend on the length of the appointment.
Veneers are an effective way of repairing chipped or uneven front teeth. It helps to improve the colour, shape and position of teeth.
The procedure involves fitting a thin layer of tooth-coloured porcelain over the front facing surface of the tooth. It has been likened to false nails being stuck on top of real nails.
Veneers would only be justified on the NHS if they were needed for oral health reasons. Cosmetic reasons would be classed as a private treatment.