Prosthodontics – veneers, crowns and bridges
Dental Practice at 40 Harley Street
Prosthodontics, also known as dental prosthetics or prosthetic dentistry, is the area of dentistry that focuses on dental prostheses. At 40 Harley Street, our highly-experienced dentists provide crown and bridgework, restoration with dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, partial/complete denture construction, full mouth reconstruction, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) therapy as well as routine dental treatment. They are responsible for planning and completing all complex restorative treatments and diagnosing causes of oral deterioration and developing treatment plans to minimise its impact.
Our prosthodontic work at 40 Harley Street is comprehensive and diverse. It includes:
- Veneers provide an aesthetically-pleasing facing for teeth that are discoloured or irregularly shaped or positioned. They also protect teeth from further damage.
- Crowns completely cover a tooth (rather than providing a facing like veneers). They strengthen the remaining tooth and restore functionality.
- Bridges are fixed prosthetic restorations which are used to replace one or more missing teeth by joining an artificial tooth to adjacent teeth or dental implants. It literally ‘bridges the gap’ where teeth are missing.
All of our prosthodontic procedures and outcomes share a common denominator – the artificial restoration (veneer, crown or bridge) must blend harmoniously with a patient’s teeth, gums and mouth. You can read more about this below.
Effectively combining form and function
At 40 Harley Street in London, our experienced dentists help to transform patients’ smiles while restoring function and comfort. This ability to address appearance and promote better dental health simultaneously is becoming increasingly important as more people retain their own teeth as they grow older and live longer.
Our dentists are experts in whitening and bonding techniques, colour matching, use of veneers to reshape teeth and enhance appearance, and the precise fabrication and placement of fixed prostheses such as crowns and bridges.
More about veneers
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, very much like a false fingernail fits over a nail. Sometimes a natural colour composite material is used instead of porcelain.
A precise shape and shade of porcelain can be chosen to lighten the upper front teeth or to reshape them. It can make a chipped tooth look intact again – the porcelain covers the whole of the front of the tooth replacing the broken part.
Veneers can improve the colours, shape and position of teeth, and protect teeth from further damage caused by acid in foods and drinks or from acids in the stomach. Without the protection of a veneer, the teeth can become thin and weak.
How veneer treatment works
Some of the outer enamel surface of the tooth will be removed to ensure that the veneer can be bonded to the tooth permanently. The amount of enamel to be removed is minimal and will be the thickness of the veneers to be fitted.
The tooth is prepared in two stages. The first stage will involve preparing the tooth and taking an impression of it. The impression is sent to the laboratory where a veneer will be reproduced to fit the tooth. We will place a temporary veneer on the tooth to protect it against sensitivity. The second stage will involve placing the veneers on the required teeth with a bonding material.
More about crowns
With a crown, the tooth gets a full coverage and not just a facing. Crowns strengthen the remaining tooth. This means reducing the tooth all the way around to allow for the thickness of the crown. These are usually made in porcelain, or porcelain bonded to precious metal and they have great strength and restore the functionality of the tooth. Crowns protect the remaining tooth structure and fillings against fractures.
More about bridges
Bridges are fixed prosthetic devices that are cemented onto existing teeth or dental implants to literally bridge gaps left by teeth that have been lost to gum disease, decay or fracture. Gaps left by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift, which can result in a bad bite. Bridges help prevent this from happening.
There are different types of bridges depending on the existing teeth:
- Traditional bridges are used when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by your missing tooth. Bridges are even strong enough to replace molars.
- Cantilever bridges are very similar to traditional bridges, but the missing tooth is supported by a tooth on only one side, rather than on both sides. So if there’s only one natural tooth next to the gap, a bridge can still be secured.
- Resin-bonded bridges (Maryland Bridges) consist of a porcelain tooth that is held in place by a metal or porcelain wing. This wing is bonded onto the backs of the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. Since this type of bridge isn’t held in place by crowns, the adjacent teeth don’t need to be filed.
- Implant-supported bridges can be used if there are more than two teeth missing with dental implants to support the bridge and fill the gap.