Crowns and Veneers
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted with tooth-coloured materials that cover the front of teeth. Veneers can improve the appearance of teeth by changing their shape and colour, masking stains and replacing fractured pieces of teeth. They can also artificially make teeth appear straighter. Veneers are usually made from porcelain which keeps its appearance far longer than tooth coloured resins that wear away more quickly. Porcelain can be brittle however and chip. If you have porcelain veneers, the ADA recommends ditching habits like biting fingernails, chewing pens/pencils, and taking care when biting into stone fruits or using teeth to open packets (which should really be avoided regardless of veneers or not).
To fit a veneer, the tooth will need a very small amount of enamel removed from its surface. This is usually completely pain free. A mould (impression) will be made of the tooth and the dentist will also record the colour that the new veneer will need to be in order to match the neighbouring teeth. This information will be sent to a dental laboratory who will make the veneer.
Until the veneer has been made the tooth may be more sensitive to hot and cold. A temporary veneer is not usually necessary.
At a later appointment the veneer will be bonded to the teeth.
Compared with a crown (cap), less of the tooth needs to be drilled away. Veneers are relatively quick and simple, although they require as much planning and attention to detail as any other treatment.
Dental crowns cover or encase the tooth on which they are cemented. Dentists use crowns when rebuilding broken or decayed teeth to strengthen teeth, and as a method to improve appearance. Crowns are made in a dental laboratory by a dental technician who uses moulds of your teeth made by your dentist.
The type of crown your dentist recommends will depend on the tooth involved and sometimes on your preference. They include porcelain crowns, porcelain-bonded-to-metal crowns, which combine the appearance of tooth coloured material with the strength of metal, gold alloy crowns and acrylic crowns.
Tooth location, the position of the gum tissue, the amount of tooth that shows in the smile, the colour and shade of the tooth, and the function of the tooth are all taken into consideration when choosing which material to use.
Having a crown fitted may require two or three dental visits. At the first appointment, the tooth to be crowned will be numbed and reduced in size to accommodate the crown, and then a mould of your tooth will be taken for the laboratory to use in the manufacture of the crown. A temporary crown will be placed over the tooth until the custom (final) crown is available.
Crowns are permanent fixtures, but they can occasionally come loose and need to be replaced. Caring for a crown requires proper dental and gum care as instructed by a dentist or hygienist.