A crown fits over the existing natural tooth (which will have been pre-prepared) and replaces the natural crown (the portion of the tooth seen above the gums. Crowns become necessary for a number of reasons; General wearing down of the teeth; a trauma which has chipped or broken the enamel or in cases where decay has severely weakened a tooth to the point that there is a high risk that it may fall apart.
Bridges replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of an artificial tooth anchored to the natural teeth on each side of the gap. If a tooth is lost due to an accident, or is too badly decayed to save with a crown, a bridge may be the treatment of choice.
Both crown and bridges are normally made of porcelain or gold alloy. Porcelain is advantageous as it is both strong and can be matched as close as possible to the colour of the existing surrounding teeth. It is generally resistant to staining and can be cleaned if this does occur. Gold alloy is most commonly used in the back area of the mouth, used for its strength, hardness and durability.
Veneers are usually used to change the appearance of the teeth which are shown when you smile. These are thin, tooth-coloured porcelain shells carefully crafted to bond to and cover the front of unsightly teeth. They are a more conservative treatment than a crown and can often be used as an alternative if the underlying tooth is strong and healthy. Veneers are excellent for treating chipped, discoloured, slightly misaligned or misshapen teeth or gaps between the teeth.
Inlays are fillings that were traditionally made of gold but are now often made of porcelain, ceramic or composite material. They are used to repair moderately damaged back molars.
Onlays are a more extensive repair to the tooth involving the outer cusps of the tooth but usually made of the same materials as inlays. An onlay is much stronger than any other type of filling and actually increases the strength of the tooth.
Bonding is useful for improving the image of very small irregularities but as a long term solution may not be as successful as veneers. It involves the bonding of a tooth coloured putty-like resin to the surface of the tooth which is then set and hardened.
^Insured patients should contact their health insurer to discuss their health fund rebates for proposed dental treatment.
*Please note that due to legal obligations all new patients must have an initial examination with their first scale and clean.