What is a Veneer, Crown and bridge?
Veneer is a thin shell of ceramic or composite which is bonded to a front tooth/teeth to improve patient’s smile and restore broken and discolored teeth. A 'composite veneer' is made directly on the patient's tooth by the dentist. On the other hand, the 'Ceramic veneer' (or Porcelain veneer, as called by some) is fabricated in a dental lab, and later bonded to patient’s tooth with resin cement glue, by the dentist. Ceramic veneers look excellent, but are very expensive (compared to composites), and known to fall-out sometimes. This normally happens because of patient’s carelessness with brushing and grinding.
Crown (or a Cap, as called by some) is used to cover a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. crowns can be made from 4 different materials - Acrylic, Metal, Ceramic (porcelain) and PFM.
Bridge is commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth by spannig the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants on either side of the empty space (missing teeth).
Before making a crown or a bridge, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist takes an 'impression' to get the mold for the crown or bridge. Using this impression (mold), the Dental Laboratory manufactures the veneer, crown or bridge. In the meantime, a 'temporary crown/bridge' is put to cover the prepared tooth. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, this 'temporary' is removed, and a new 'permanent' crown or bridge is cemented.
While crowns and bridges are known to last for many years, they do become loose and fall out sometimes. This is NOT because of the dentist, but because of the 'poor care' taken by the patient. To avoid this problem, patient needs to practice good oral hygiene and avoid eating hard and sticky foods. On some occasions, the natural tooth inside the crown/bridge breaks down because of the 'hard foods' eaten by the patient.