If you require a more extensive restoration than a crown or have more than one tooth that needs to be repaired, a good solution is a bridge. Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base which gives them a solid structure and makes them hard-wearing. If you need a bridge in your smile line, porcelain is usually added to the base to make it look more like real teeth. A bridge helps to strengthen the prepared teeth and makes chewing and eating easier because they are fixed and can't come out.
Some bridges can also be fixed to your jaw with dental implants, if you have several teeth next to each other that are missing.
Once you have a bridge fitted, you will have to take extra care of your daily hygiene regime to ensure it stays plaque free and that you can prevent bad breath.
Inlays and onlays are two types of restorations that your dentist can suggest if you have a cavity in your tooth that needs to be filled. An inlay is a small filling that fits into the biting surface of a tooth while an onlay covers a larger area of the tooth and is better suited to bigger cavities. For many years, gold has been used to make inlays and onlays because it is a hard material and lasts for a long time. Nowadays, tooth-coloured porcelain is also used and gives the restored tooth a more natural look, which many patients prefer.
Inlays and onlays can be made in a dental laboratory by a technician, with the help of impressions taken of your teeth. While these are being made, you will wear a temporary filling. When your inlay or onlay is ready your dentist will glue it into place using a special adhesive, after removing the temporary filling.
Thanks to advances in digital technology (called CAD/CAM) porcelain inlays can be made at the dental clinic using a special milling machine known as CEREC. This means you will need less visits to the dentist to have your tooth restored.
If you have a few or all of your teeth missing, one solution is to have a denture. A denture is made from hard-wearing material that mimics the look of teeth and gums to give you mouth a natural appearance. Your denture will be made to fit snugly on your gums and you will be able to remove it for cleaning.
When you wear a denture for the first time it may get some getting used to when speaking or eating and chewing. It is important that you take extra care in your hygiene regime so that you can avoid bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. The hygienist will be able to show you how to best take care of your denture and gums and will tell you about specialised brushes you can use to do this.