Inlays, Crowns and Bridge
These are fillings/restorations that are made outside of the mouth made by a dental laboratory. It is made from a solid substance fitted to a cavity and cemented in place rather than placing soft material to the prepared tooth and wait for the material to set hard. These fillings are suitable where there is a particularly heavy bite and where both strength and aesthetics are required and usually requires two visits.
Porcelain – lifelike material to replace and restore teeth. It is strong and last well. It can be colour matched to be indistinguishable from the tooth but the cost is high.
Gold – has worked well for many years and is strong and seals well. The down side though is the cost and some people just don’t like gold in their teeth. Still for back teeth it is an option. Composite resins – good option but not as durable as the first two
Crowns and Bridges
A tooth is meant to last a life time. The “six year old molar” – the one we chew on most – comes through at the age of six. Many of us had it filled when we were seven, then again at eleven. Another cavity formed and a second filling was needed at fifteen. Then one corner broke off at 35 and so it goes. Each time the tooth gets filled it becomes weaker and the less tooth the less for fillings to hold on to. Think of a tooth as a shopping bag. We fill it and fill it and eventually the bag breaks. A tooth is the same. This is when a crown is needed.
A crown is like a helmet that sits all around the tooth and holds on to the root. This strengthens the tooth and will usually last a long time. Crowns are made of gold and/or porcelain. Porcelain is getting better and better metal free options are coming on the market and it probably won’t be long until that is all we do.
A bridge usually involves the preparation of teeth either side of a gap to provide support for an artificial tooth. A bridge is just one option to replace a missing tooth.