Crowns – Full coverage restorations of the teeth.
Typically porcelain crowns are placed when a significant amount of tooth structure is lost and when placing a filling would jeopardize the integrity of the tooth or compromise the aesthetics or strength of the tooth.
Bridges – Replacement of a missing tooth or teeth
Bridges are placed when there are one or more teeth missing and the objective is to stabilize the bite, prevent the adjacent teeth from tilting, and the opposing teeth from dropping down into the space that has been lost.
Dentures – Replacement of a missing teeth
Dentures generally refers to the replacement of an entire arch of teeth with a removable appliance with either plastic or porcelain teeth on it. If there are a few teeth left, then it is referred to as a partial denture. This will either have acrylic base holding it in place or it will have metal clasps to secure it to the adjacent teeth.
Implants – Replacement of one or more missing teeth
An implant is typically a titanium screw that is placed into the jaw bone in the area that a tooth is lost. It is left in the bone for a period of approximately 4-6 months to “fuse” with the adjacent bone. At this point, a metal top is placed on the screw post to create a hole in the gum for the crown to emerge from. After that has been in the tissue for a short while, the a crown can be placed over that post. It is either cemented or screwed in, depending upon the type of implant system.
Advantages of implants are that they don’t involve the adjacent teeth and therefore are more conservative in that respect. In addition, should something happen to the implant, (porcelain chip, adjacent teeth turn darker over time( the crown can usually be easily removed and sent back to the lab for a touch-up or correction.