If a tooth is damaged but the root and main body of the tooth are healthy, a crown can be used to restore the tooth. A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers the whole of the natural tooth. It reinforces and protects the tooth and can be coloured to match the surrounding teeth. If one or more teeth are missing, there are various types of artificial teeth that may be used to replace them. The type used depends on the number of teeth lost and the individual’s oral health.
Up to two or three visits to your dentist may be necessary for a crown to be fitted. White porcelain is usually used for crowns at the front of the mouth. Materials used for crowns at the back of the mouth include reinforced porcelain, composite, and various metal alloys.
If one or more teeth have to be extracted, or if they are lost, they can be replaced by one of three different types of artificial teeth: a bridge, a dental implant, or dentures. Bridges and dental implants are permanent and fixed and are used to replace only one or two teeth at a time. Dentures can be removed and are used when many teeth need to be replaced.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.