If any of your teeth are missing, damaged or decayed, you have plenty of options for restoring a healthier, whiter smile.

If you want something more permanent than teeth whitening treatments, you might be suitable for dental crowns, bridges or veneers. Each of these treatment options has its pros and cons, and your dentist will help you decide the right choice for you.

What are crowns?

Crowns and bridges are fixed permanently in the mouth to restore the natural appearance and function of teeth. The difference is that crowns strengthen, repair or improve the look of existing teeth, while bridges close gaps where teeth are missing.

Your dentist may recommend crowns for teeth that are:

  • discoloured
  • weak
  • fractured
  • misshapen.

Crowns are sometimes used after root canal treatment to improve the strength of the treated tooth, and they can also be fitted over dental implants. Your tooth will need to be reduced in size before a crown can be fitted over the top.

What are bridges?

If you have gaps in your mouth where a tooth has been extracted or lost, your dentist can fill in the empty space using a dental bridge. Not only will you enjoy a smile free from unsightly gaps, you can also avoid problems caused by nearby teeth shifting into these spaces.

The bridge itself is a false tooth (or several teeth for larger gaps) that's supported on each side by crowns fitted over the neighbouring teeth.

Bridges and crowns are usually made from tooth-coloured porcelain or ceramic. They look and feel just like your real teeth, and will last a lifetime as long as you follow good oral hygiene.

What are veneers?

If your teeth are only slightly damaged, or if you want to improve their appearance, dental veneers could be a better option than crowns. Veneers are thin layers of porcelain or composite resin bonded to the front of your teeth.

Your dentist may recommend veneers if your teeth are:

  • chipped or cracked
  • misaligned or misshapen
  • stained or discoloured.

Custom-made porcelain veneers are stronger and more natural looking than resin, however composite veneers are more affordable and can be fitted in a single visit to your dental clinic. As long as you take proper care of your teeth and avoid certain hard foods that can cause damage, your veneers can last up to 10 years.

What are my other options?

If you prefer a less invasive option, your dentist can supply teeth whitening kits that reduce the appearance of stains and whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home. Teeth whitening kits are easy to use, but they only improve the appearance of teeth and can't correct damage or alignment problems.

If you have missing teeth, you may be suitable for dentures. Your dentist can provide you with custom-fitted dentures to replace as many teeth as needed. If you still have some healthy teeth remaining, these can be used to support partial dentures. However, if you prefer complete dentures to replace a whole arch, these teeth will need to be extracted.

Find out more about cosmetic dentistry

Talk to our dentists at Ocean Reef Dental Surgery about crowns and bridges, porcelain veneers and other options to restore a naturally whiter and healthier smile. Contact our dental clinic today at 08 9307 6700.