Whether you’re looking to correct a few natural flaws, or need to reverse years of neglect to your teeth, modern dentists can do amazing things with porcelain and resin. You may consider dental crowns or veneers to help with aesthetic issues, structural problems, or both. Your dentist can help you decide if you might benefit from veneers or crowns, but here are a few points to consider before heading in for a consultation.
Veneers cover only the front surface and biting edge of the tooth. They are typically very thin- the thickness of a fingernail or less- and made of porcelain or resin. Veneers are ideal for those with structurally healthy teeth who wish to solve visual issues such as crowding, gaps, stains and chips. Each set of veneers is custom- made and color matched to the wearer for as natural a result as possible. Having veneers applied is a fairly non-invasive procedure requiring just a few trips to the dentist. Resin veneers can often be completed in one visit, while porcelain veneers will need two visits; one for taking molds of the teeth, and then a second visit to apply the veneers after they have been created. Before cementing in the new veneers, your dentist will shave or buff a small layer of enamel of off your teeth to make room for the added thickness. It may take a few weeks to get used to the new shape and/or size of your teeth, but make sure to brush and floss just as you would your regular teeth.
Dental Crowns cover the entirety of the tooth right down to the gum line, and in some cases even go below the gum line. Crowns are considered more appropriate when there is substantial structural damage to the teeth due to decay, injury, or wear. Crowns are sometimes needed after a large filling, to help the weakened tooth keep its shape and strength. Occasionally, a root canal can result in a weaker, more brittle tooth, and your dentist may recommend a crown after this procedure. Having crowns put on can be a more involved process than having veneers applied, depending on the reason you need the crowns. Generally they will require at least two dental visits; at the first, your dentist will take many impressions of your teeth to make sure your new crowns are a perfect fit for your mouth. Then, depending on the reason for the crowns, your teeth will either be drilled/filed down to make room for the crowns or built up to support them. You’ll get temporary crowns at this visit until your permanent ones are ready. At the next visit, the temporary crowns will be removed and the permanent ones will be cemented in to place with extremely strong dental glue. How well you take care of your teeth will have a large impact on how long your crowns last, but they have been known to stay in place for anywhere from 10-20 years.