PUBLISHED IN TCI WEEKLY NEWS
13th December 2014
In this, the second column looking at how your smile can be improved, I look at the use of veneers, crowns, bridges, dental implants and orthodontics.
If teeth are more heavily restored (have a lot of fillings), are discoloured or out of place then one possible solution is the option of veneers and/or crowns. A veneer is a thin porcelain cover designed to go on the outside surface of a tooth. Veneers are only used on front teeth and are generally used for cosmetic purposes, for example to restore chipped or broken teeth, or to change the colour, size or shape of teeth. The teeth generally require a small amount of preparation.
A more robust solution than a veneer is a crown, sometimes called a cap. Crowns are often used for clinical reasons although they can be used as a cosmetic treatment too. A crown covers the whole tooth above the gum and is suitable for both front and back teeth. Crowns involve a greater reduction of the natural tooth’s surface than a veneer but the result is greater strength. Crowns are used both for cosmetic and clinical reasons, for example when a tooth is badly decayed but the root is still intact.
If crowns are indicated but there are also missing teeth then a bridge may be a good option. A bridge is used to replace one or more missing teeth, for example after an extraction, and, unlike a denture, is permanently fixed in place. A bridge is attached to adjacent teeth (either natural teeth or implants) and carries one or more artificial crowns to fill the gap of the missing teeth. If several or lots of teeth are missing more than one bridge maybe the solution.
As an alternative to bridges, implants can be used to replace missing teeth and can be used in combination with natural teeth or crowns to recreate your smile. A dental implant is a titanium fixture that is implanted into your jaw to act as the root of the tooth. A crown or bridge is then screwed to the fixture. Titanium has a unique quality in that bone will attach to it, so that once the implant is placed it becomes firmly secured naturally by the bone growing around it.
Orthodontics is the area of dentistry that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth. Orthodontic treatment may be performed for clinical (medical) reasons such as to improve how the teeth meet and therefore function, or for cosmetic purposes such as straightening teeth or closing gaps. Orthodontics can be done with the use of braces- brackets and wires- or Invisalign Orthodontics.