inlays, crowns, bridges.
all the above are ‘indirect restorations’. meaning that while the teeth are prepared and measured in the dental chair, impressions of the prepared teeth are sent to the dental technician who will prepare moulds and make the desired restoration in his laboratory. Typically the restorations are cast or fired in a kiln. They are much stronger than ‘direct’ restorations and therefore last a lot longer.
‘a filling shaped to fit a tooth cavity’
inlays provide an alternative to fillings, replacing part of a tooth that has been lost because of decay, wear or accidental damage. they are especially suitable for the chewing surfaces on back teeth. because of their increased strength they are particularly suited for larger cavities and for those who grind their teeth
ceramics are perfect for restoration of the larger cavity. constructed in the lab, the porcelain is baked in a furnace. they are harder and stronger than the direct composite filling above, yet just as cosmetic.
again, made in the lab. gold is still the material of choice in restorative dentistry. extremely hard wearing and strong in thin section it has excellent finishing lines. it is a noble metal and therefore does not corrode when in saliva all day. a very wise and long-term choice. however, all dentists are ware that aesthetically it lets us down, especially when in the smile line.
‘an artificial substitute for the natural crown of the tooth’
essentially a ‘jacket’ for the tooth.
used to protect teeth that have been mechanically weakened by large fillings and root canal therapy, or by accidental fracture. they can also be used to correct smile lines and abrasion/erosion eg. from acidic overdose or grinding (bruxism). the crown serves to hold the remainder of the tooth and filling together, or replaces the fractured/worn tooth structure providing a durable, long-term restoration.
‘a fixed replacement for one or several absent teeth’
a bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth (or several teeth) by joining an artificial tooth permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants. they literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. it is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap i.e. the abutment teeth, with a false tooth spanning the gap in-between.