Dr. C J Illingworth BChD

Tel: 01244 351 755

Veneers, Crowns and Bridges


A dental veneer is a thin plate of tooth-coloured material that is custom-made and permanently attached to cover the front side of a tooth to correct damage, discolouration or a bad shape. They can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth.

Different types of dental veneers are available but all dental veneers have the following in common:

At Vicars Cross Dental our highly skilled dental professionals will be delighted to discuss veneers with you as part of your personal treatment plan.

Porcelain Veneers

For many years porcelain veneers have been the most commonly provided type of veneer in the UK. Veneers made from porcelain can be used to change the shade, shape, position or size of teeth and also to close or reduce gaps between teeth. Traditional porcelain veneers are constructed in a dental laboratory from precision models of your teeth made from impressions taken as part of your treatment.

For traditional porcelain veneers it is very common to require some preparation of the underlying tooth to create space to place the veneer. In certain cases such as where a tooth is being brought forward into the line of the arch or where a small tooth is being made bigger, no preparation may be required.

Composite Veneers

Composite veneers are made using the same type of materials that are used for many white fillings. Composite veneers are most often provided directly by your dentist at a single visit where the composite is applied to your tooth surface and polished to create the veneer surface.

Occasionally composite can be used by your dental laboratory to make veneers which are then fitted by your dentist at a second visit.

Composite is not as hard wearing in the longer term as porcelain and so you can expect to require your composite veneers replacing after five or six years on average. Many porcelain veneers are still serviceable after 14 or 15 years.

No Preparation Veneers

One of the very latest techniques to emerge has been the no preparation veneer. Advances in porcelain technology allow dental technicians to make extremely thin porcelain veneers that can be bonded to teeth without any tooth removal being required.

Obviously it is a good thing not to have to remove tooth tissue, however as this is a very new technique there is not any longer term scientific evidence to show what the long term survival of these veneers is.

At Vicars Cross Dental we offer no preparation veneers as part of our comprehensive range of treatments. Our highly trained dentists can discuss these with you as part of your custom treatment plan.


A crown is fitted on top of a damaged tooth and functions and looks like a healthy tooth. A crown can cover a tooth that is discoloured or badly shaped, restore a broken tooth, protect a weak tooth from breaking, and can be used to attach a bridge. A crown is also used to cover a dental implant. You can choose between a full-ceramic crown or a metal-ceramic crown. The crown will last for many years, depending on the health of the underlying tooth.

Crowns can be made of:

  • alloys (mix of metals) containing not less than a third of fine gold, platinum or palladium
  • alloys containing stainless steel, cobalt chromium or nickel chromium
  • porcelain
  • porcelain bonded to precious metals
  • alloys bonded to wrought platinum coping

Please not that not all materials are available under NHS arrangements.


A bridge replaces a missing tooth with an artificial tooth and is attached to existing teeth for support on either side. Replacing missing teeth will help maintain the shape of the face and alleviating the stress in the bite caused by missing teeth. A bridge is another option to an implant to permanently replace a missing tooth. The artificial tooth of the bridge is made of the same material as a crown, and may be full-ceramic or metal-ceramic.

There are different types of bridges:

  1. Conventional bridge
    This involves preparing the neighbouring teeth (abutments) so that they can support the missing tooth (pontic).This type of bridge can be made in gold, ceramic, or gold/ceramic combination. This type of bridge is strong with a lifespan of around 15 years, however, preparation of the neighbouring teeth is required and good oral hygiene is needed for maintenance.
  2. Cantilever bridge
    This type of bridge involves preparing just one neighbouring tooth (abutment) and the missing tooth (pontic) bonds to this one neighbouring tooth. This type of bridge can also be made in gold, ceramic or gold/ceramic combination. This type of bridge helps maintain tooth tissue and is easier to maintain than a conventional bridge, however, less load can be applied to this bridge and is not suitable for all situations.
  3. Adhesive bridge
    This involves very little preparation of the inside of one or two neighbouring teeth (abutments) and the missing tooth (pontic) is then bonded using wings to the inside wall of the neighbouring teeth. The advantage of this type of bridge is that very little preparation is required to neighbouring teeth, thus preserving tooth tissue, however, the lifespan of this bridge is less than a conventional bridge and it can de-bond. This type of bridge is unsuitable for back teeth.

A consultation with your dentist will enable you to decide which type of bridge is best for you.

Onlays and Inlays

Onlays and inlays are similar to fillings in that they fill cavities and gaps in the tooth. However, like crowns, they are custom made in a laboratory and then attached to the tooth with special adhesive. Onlays and inlays are very strong and are suitable for the grinding surfaces of molar teeth. They can be made out of gold, porcelain or composite material.

Call us on 01244 351755, or click here for Appointments. With some basic contact details and an indication of your preferred days and times, our receptionist will be happy to arrange an appointment for you.

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