A tooth can only have so many fillings before it is significantly weakened. When this occurs the tooth becomes very fragile and can break quite easily with an increase in pressure e.g. biting into a hard piece of chocolate. In these cases, crowns are extremely useful to help protect the worn and fragile teeth as it is full coverage and will completely encase the tooth inside. Due to the strength of a crown, they have great longevity (10+ years) provided they are kept clean. It is commonly recommended for teeth that have been broken and repaired before, teeth that have had root canal treatment (which weakens the structural integrity of the tooth), and teeth which are cosmetically unsatisfactory due to large discoloured fillings.
Another common reason for a crown is to replace extensive loss of tooth structure due to trauma or wear and tear. They are very durable and aesthetic and can be made from metallic/gold to natural tooth-coloured porcelain to white/opaque zirconia. Traditionally crowns are made from metal on the inside with glazed porcelain layered on top to mimic the colour and shape of a natural tooth. With advances in porcelains over the years, crowns can now be made purely from porcelain to allow a more natural and transparent look much like the layers of a tooth.
Examples of Dental Crowns
Four completely porcelain crowns were made to protect and improve aesthetics of 4 upper anterior teeth. Preparations and removal of old fillings were done and impressions were taken for laboratory moulds to be made. The crowns are then custom made by dental technicians for a precise fit. The porcelain used are colour-matched and glazed for optimal aesthetics and a smooth finish. These crowns are then tried in the mouth and cemented onto the prepared teeth. They are very strong and long lasting without deteriorating in colour and are great ways to protect worn or broken teeth.
Two Porcelain and metal dental crowns were made to "cap" 2 heavily restored and broken teeth. Preparations were done and impressions were taken for laboratory moulds to be made. The crowns are then custom made by dental technicians for a precise fit. The porcelain used are colour-matched and glazed for optimal aesthetics and a smooth finish. These crowns are then tried in the mouth and cemented onto the prepared teeth. They are very strong and long lasting and are great ways to protect worn or broken teeth.
A dental bridge is a variation of a crown whereby multiple crowns are joint together to create a "bridge". Bridges are very useful for filling small gaps within the mouth (where a tooth has been lost/removed). It requires the support of natural teeth on either side of the gap as these teeth will be used as anchors for the bridge. Many different types of bridges are available, just like crowns, and can be made from metallic/gold to natural tooth-coloured porcelain to white/opaque zirconia. It is important to note that a successful bridge long term requires health anchor teeth thus it is important to assess these carefully prior to commencing. With the introduction of dental implants in recent years, bridges are becoming less common as missing teeth can be replaced without the need to prepare the adjacent teeth.
Example of a Dental Bridge:
A 5-unit bridge was placed on this patient to replace the missing lower incisors. The patient had an existing partial lower denture but was not happy with the fit and the constant food trapping underneath the denture. Using his natural teeth as anchors, the bridge was cemented into place with a very nice aesthetic outcome and excellent functional capabilities. It does not move, is not removable, and will not trap food underneath.
Example of a Maryland Bridge:
A single Maryland bridge was placed to replace a missing upper central incisor. These bridges are a cheaper alternative to replacing missing front teeth (a lot cheaper than implants or conventional bridges, similar to price to a metal denture) and is fixed in place with the use of strong dental glues/adhesives. They are especially useful for those with missing front teeth and a tight budget. These are NOT recommended on back molars (used for chewing purposes).
Veneers are thin porcelain or plastic facings bonded onto teeth to change their shape and colour. They are very conservative as there is minimal removal of tooth structure and usually painless even without anaesthesia. They can give extremely aesthetic results especially when placed on consecutive teeth to create that "hollywood smile" where teeth whitening alone cannot achieve. It is very popular amongst celebrities and often mistaken for results of "teeth whitening". They can also be a quick and conservative alternative to orthodontic treatment (braces) to re-align teeth without the risk of relapse.
This case is an example of a crown replacement on the upper lateral incisor on the left along with 3 porcelain veneers on the upper central insicors and upper right lateral incisor. The aesthetic result is a huge improvement from the original. It must be noted that this patient also had teeth whitening done prior to the crown and veneers.
This case is a similar example of 3 porcelain veneers and 1 porcelain crown to cover discolouration of the upper central incisor as well as to correct the misalignment of upper teeth. During the process the crown and veneers were purposely made 1 shade lighter in colour to give an "instant whitening" effect.
All of our laboratory work is done locally in Adelaide with a fast turn-around (generally within 1 week for small jobs and 2 weeks for larger jobs such as multiple veneers or crowns). We ensure the quality of our work and are happy to give a 12 month guarantee on our laboratory work.