Dental bonding lies at the core of modern dentistry. It enables tooth coloured materials such as composite resins, as well as porcelains to be used as filling, veneers, crowns and bridges. These materials can be bonded, or glued, to the natural surfaces of the tooth improving overall appearance and function of the tooth. Apart from restoring carious lesions, tooth coloured material can be bonded to the tooth to repair broken, chipped, stained teeth.
A dental veneer is a thin layer of dental material that placed over front, visible surface of teeth. It is usually done to enhance the aesthetics of chipped, stained and discoloured front teeth. It can also be used to improve shape of teeth and correct very slight malalignment of front teeth.
Generally, there are two materials that are used for dental veneers – composite resin and porcelain. Composite resin is a type of synthetic resin, plastic which are used in dentistry as a filling material, where porcelain is a hard ceramic material made in a dental laboratory that closely mimics the aesthetic characteristics of tooth enamel. Both materials have its own advantages and disadvantages.
Composite resin veneers can be placed directly on the tooth without the need of a dental laboratory. They usually require very minimal preparation (shaving) of the natural tooth structure. If they chip and break, can be easily repaired. Porcelain veneers tend to last longer, usually longer than 10+ years, and provide superior aesthetics. However, even though they are considered conservative restorations, porcelain veneers require more preparation of natural tooth surface and are more difficult to repair than composite resin veneers.
Crowns and Bridges
Although teeth are extremely strong and difficult to break, trauma may chip and fracture them. Dental decay may also weaken a tooth, with a risk that the tooth may fall apart. Root filled teeth are generally weaker than their healthy counterparts. In these cases, crown is often a way to save a tooth and strengthen it. A crown fits over the existing natural tooth structure and replaces the natural crown of the tooth.
Bridges replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of an artificial tooth permanently anchored to the natural teeth on each side of the gap.