Crowns, bridges and 'post and core' fillings

Crowns:

A crown usually accompanies some other treatment, such as a root canal filling, when it may need extra strength to compensate for the slight weakening effect of tooth material being replaced with synthetic filling material. The most common type of crown is a white, tooth-coloured coat over a gold alloy, to match your individual tooth colour, but also available are gold and silver coloured crowns- it depends on what you prefer.

To make a crown, the dentist will have to take off about one millimeter off the outside of the tooth, then take rubber moulds and usually send them off to a dental laboratory for manufacturing. In the meantime he will make a temporary crown to protect the tooth from further damage and to disguise the fact that you are having dental work done, since it may take several days to produce the crown itself. When produced, the crown takes a matter of a few minutes to fit and fix into place.

Bridges:

Bridges are closely related to crowns, but they are contructed to 'bridge' the gap where there is a single missing tooth. In some places in the mouth they can be very effective, and in others- for example replacing a tooth that would do a lot of heavy work- they are less recommended. They consist of two crowns, either side of the gap, joined to a false tooth in the middle that sits on top of the gum. Production time is similar to that of crowns, although preparation may take a little longer as the dentist will be working on two teeth rather than just one.

Post and Core:

This proceedure is usually carried out when a patient has lost much of the tooth but what remains is still healthy, or strong enough to bear weight. Since this procedure is used on root-filled teeth, the dentist may not even need to numb the area but will simply be able to drill into the root, or roots if the tooth has more than one. Then a metal post will be inserted, cemented in place, and filling material used to recontruct the tooth on top.