Typically porcelain crowns are placed when a significant amount of tooth structure is lost and when placing a filling would jeopardize the integrity of the tooth or compromise the aesthetics or strength of the tooth.
Bridges are placed when there are one or more teeth missing and the objective is to stabilize the bite, prevent the adjacent teeth from tilting, and the opposing teeth from dropping down into the space that has been lost.
Dentures generally refers to the replacement of an entire arch of teeth with a removable appliance with either plastic or porcelain teeth on it. If there are a few teeth left, then it is referred to as a partial denture. This will either have acrylic base holding it in place or it will have metal clasps to secure it to the adjacent teeth.
An implant is typically a titanium screw that is placed into the jaw bone in the area that a tooth is lost. It is left in the bone for a period of approximately 4-6 months to the it “fuse” with the adjacent bone. At this point, a metal top is placed on the scre post to create a hole in the gun for the grown to emerge from. After that has been in the tissue for a short while, the a crow can be placed over that post. It is either cemented or scred in, depending upon the type of implant system.
Advantages of implants are that they don’t involve the adjacent teeth and therefore are more conservative in that respect. In addition, should something happen to the implant, (porcelain chip, adjacent teeth turn darker over time( the crown can usually be easily removed and dent back to the lab for a touch-up or correction.