A crown is commonly referred to as a cap and is a type of restoration that completely covers the tooth. By covering the tooth a crown provides protection to the structure underneath, and it is for this reason that there are often recommended in teeth that are heavily filled, cracked or have had root canal therapy.
Crowns can be made of a number of materials, among these porcelain and metal (including gold). Porcelain crowns provide a very natural finish and can be matched to adjacent teeth. The true advantage of gold is it’s longevity and that it’s wear pattern is very similar to natural tooth structure
A bridge is a similar concept but is used to replace one or more teeth. The success of a bridge is often dependant on the strength of the teeth that support it. It is therefore important that a thorough assessment is done prior to any treatment.
There are essentially 2 stages in having a crown or bridge done following consultation and assessment. In the first visit the tooth/teeth is prepared in a similar way to having a filling done. A number of impressions are taken and the colour of the tooth is assessed. A temporary crown is made in order to cover and protect the tooth while the crown is being made. The second visit involves fitting, adjusting and cementing the crown in place.
Like any treatment there are pros and cons to crowns and bridges. Perhaps the most significant risk is that a tooth can die as the result of having a crown. It is important to note that this is only a small risk of about 1 in 100, and your dentist can advise on whether they feel this risk is relevant in your situation. On the up-side a crown can dramatically transform the appearance of a tooth/teeth and a bridge is one of the most comfortable methods of replacing a missing tooth/teeth.
A veneer is a facing that is placed over the front surface of a tooth and is generally used for cosmetic purposes. They can be classified as direct or indirect. A direct veneer is completed in one visit and involves placement of white filling material. The process of an indirect veneer is similar to a crown as they are made of porcelain in a laboratory. The advantage of porcelain is that it has a much smoother and shinier finish than white filling material.