If a tooth has been lost, crowns can be prepared on either side of the gap and a bridge manufactured by the laboratory. The bridge consists of two crowns with the replacement tooth attached to them and suspended in the gap. This is cemented into the mouth eliminating the need for a plate (denture).
In some cases, the cavity that needs filling is quite large, but the surrounding tooth is healthy. A composite filling may not be strong enough, but it would seem pointless to remove more of the healthy tooth in order to make a crown. In these cases an inlay may be the answer.
The dentist can make an inlay by preparing the cavity in much the same way as they would for a filling. But instead of putting in a filling, the dentist takes an impression of the tooth. The impression is then sent to the laboratory where the technician makes an 'inlay' using porcelain, resin-material or gold. The dentist then bonds this into place. .