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Veneers, crowns and bridges: which solution is best for you?

August 10, 2017

 Many people are born with problematic teeth or experience dental difficulties as they age. This doesn’t only affect their dental health but could result in an unattractive smile that can have a huge impact on their confidence and self-esteem. If you are unfortunate enough to have issues with your teeth, our team here at Elmsleigh House Dental Clinic can help you craft a beautiful smile and improve your dental health so you can approach each day feeling your best.

Veneers, crowns and bridges are three common dental treatments that can be misunderstood and we frequently get questions about. Should you get a crown or a veneer? Is a bridge suitable for your problem? Each of these options is used for particular problems, and offers different advantages and disadvantages.


When to use veneers

Veneers are specifically designed to cover the front of an individual tooth. They are useful for concealing chipped, crooked or stained teeth, and can also be used to close any gaps between your teeth. If you have misaligned teeth or if they have an irregular shape, veneers can also be used to correct the problem.

What are veneers made out of?

Veneers are made from porcelain or resin composite materials. Porcelain is usually used because of the similar appearance it has to enamel.

Advantages of veneers

There are many advantages to veneers. They feel and look completely natural, with dentists able to customise the colour each veneer so that it matches your other teeth, preventing it from standing out. The shape and size of veneers can also be customised to lengthen or bring your teeth closer together, and can be bonded to as many teeth as necessary. They are also stain resistant and stronger than natural enamel.

Disadvantages of veneers

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to veneers. In the event of one breaking or getting damaged, you may not be able to repair it and might need to get it replaced. They are also a permanent decision, since the veneer can’t be removed due to the way it’s bonded to your tooth. Veneers can also increase the sensitivity of a tooth, affecting your ability to eat and drink certain foods.


When to get a crown

Crowns completely cover the visible area of your tooth, and are used to fix broken, cracked or misshapen teeth, teeth that have been affected by decay or teeth with large fillings. They can also be used to strengthen a tooth that's been restored in order to return it to full functionality. If you need a bridge or dentures, crowns can be used as an anchor to prevent the bridge or denture from shifting.

What is a crown made out of?

A crown can be made from a variety of materials including stainless steel, gold, porcelain fused to metal, resin and ceramic. At Elmsleigh House Dental Clinics, we use porcelain crowns.

Advantages of crowns

Porcelain crowns have many benefits, including being able to handle tough chewing and biting while feeling and looking natural, and are usually covered by insurance. They are custom designed to match the shape and colour of your natural teeth and can last for many years. Porcelain crowns are also highly stain resistant.

Disadvantages of crowns

However, crowns also come with a number of downsides. You risk infection if a tooth is not properly cleaned and sealed, or tooth decay if the crown is not correctly fitted. You may also experience temporary sensitivity, discomfort when chewing, or gum tenderness after getting a crown. Over time the crown can shift in position and will need to be replaced.


When to get a bridge

A bridge is most commonly used when one or more teeth are missing, or if more work is required for a tooth than a crown can provide.

What is a bridge made out of?

A bridge has two crowns on either side of a false tooth or teeth that act as anchors for the false teeth between them. There are various different materials used to create the different parts of the bridge including porcelain, metal and ceramics.

Advantages of bridges

Bridges can have multiple benefits. They can fix your smile and improve your ability to chew and speak by replacing missing teeth. By replacing the missing teeth, the bridge helps maintain the shape of your face, as well as preventing remaining teeth in your gums from drifting. The new teeth in the bridge help properly distribute the work onto all your teeth when chewing.

Unlike some orthodontic solutions which may require multiple appointments, a bridge can be fit in a single visit to your orthodontist. If you need to replace a tooth, no bone grafting is required if bone recession has occurred when using a bridge. Bridges are also cheaper than implants.

Disadvantages of bridges

Unfortunately, there can be disadvantages to using a dental bridge. The supporting teeth in the bridge may experience degradation over time due to the stress caused by the bridge. Since the bridge doesn’t actually replace any missing teeth, the gums and bone can recede over time due to lack of root in the bone and support for the gums. A bridge is also not a permanent solution and should be replaced every 10 to 15 years.

If you want more information about your dental difficulties and want to improve your confidence and self esteem, be sure to read our guide Would You Like to Improve Your Smile. You can also contact our Welcome Team at 01252 713797 for more information or to book an appointment at our clinics in Farnham, Surrey.


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