Crowns (sometimes called caps) are used to cover broken, discoloured or damaged teeth and restore them to their natural shape and colour. They are matched to the shape and colour of your other teeth to restore your smile to its full glory. They can be made of porcelain, glass or even metal (remember Jaws in the James Bond films?).
Your dentist will shape the tooth to which the crown is being fitted, take a mould of it so that the crown can be made and, at a second appointment, fix the crown to the shaped tooth. The result should last many years so long as you ensure you clean it properly, especially where the edge of the crown meets your original tooth. Generally a crown will last 5-10 years, however it can last much longer.
Bridges fill gaps left by one or more missing teeth. They are permanently attached to the teeth either side of the gap so that the replacement tooth or teeth is supported, strengthening all the teeth included in the bridge and giving you back a complete set.
It can take up to six months for your gums to heal after an extraction, so you may need to use a temporary denture before the final bridge is fitted. Once it’s in place you’ll need to clean underneath it every day to avoid gum disease.
Veneers are used to cover chipped or discoloured teeth and can also be fitted so that they make teeth look straighter and cover up small gaps between teeth. They are matched to your tooth colour and bonded onto your own teeth – like fitting false nails, but more permanent.