What Are Veneers?
Veneers are thin shells of highly esthetic porcelain or composite material bonded to the front of your teeth. They significantly improve the appearance of misaligned and discolored teeth. Dental veneers only cover the front surface of the tooth. Unlike full coverage dental crowns, veneers are more conservative in nature as they require minimal to no teeth preparation. The thin shell-like layers of esthetic translucent dental veneers can often be used to correct the gaps between teeth and also in smile designing procedures. The translucency of veneers allows a certain amount of light to pass through the enamel giving it a bright and more natural looking appearance. Veneers, sometimes called laminates, are custom made mostly for your front teeth.
Types Of Dental Veneers
Dental veneers can be custom made from
• resin composite materials
Porcelain veneers are proven better than resin veneers. Porcelain veneers are esthetically more appealing and more durable than resin materials. Moreover porcelain veneers are better resistant to stains caused by food and beverages than resin composite veneers.
Preparing For Porcelain Veneers
First and foremost, esthetic goals are discussed with the dentist to figure out the treatment plan and the type of veneer best suited for you. Shape, translucency and color of your teeth are noted for your new veneers. After rubber dam isolation and local anesthesia, half a millimeter of enamel is buffed out from the teeth surface. After which a mold of your teeth is prepared which is sent to the lab for manufacturing of your dental veneers. The lab then crafts your veneers to create a spotless bright smile.
The dentist first places the veneers onto your teeth surface to ensure proper fit. At this time color matching and translucency with other teeth is also examined. During this time minor adjustments are made on your veneers to ensure proper fit. Once you are satisfied with your veneers, a special cementing material is used to permanently bond and fix the veneers on your teeth surface. The final step involves removing any excess cementing material and checking your bite.
What Are Dental Crowns
Dental crowns, or popularly known as tooth caps, are tooth shaped structures that cover the entire surface of the tooth. Unlike veneers which only cover the front surface of teeth, dental crowns cover the entire surface of a tooth structure. Crowns are much stronger than veneers and hence more resistant to biting forces.
Types Of Dental Crowns
Based on the material dental crowns can be manufactured from-
• stainless steel
• porcelain fused with metals or metal ceramic
• all ceramic full coverage crowns
• all resin full coverage crowns
Tooth preparation for dental crowns
Unlike dental veneers which require minimal or sometimes no teeth preparation, dental crowns often require more extensive tooth preparation. All the surfaces of the tooth including the chewing surface are reduced circumferentially 1.5mm to 2.0mm depending upon the type of dental crown to be manufactured. The dentist does so to create adequate space around the tooth for proper placement of the final crown.
Why Is A Dental Crown Needed?
A dental crown may be needed in any of the following situations
1. To protect a weak tooth that has lost most of its teeth structure due to decay
2. To restore a broken tooth due to trauma or other factors
3. To support a tooth with a large dental filling with less amount of tooth structure
4. In case of severely sensitive teeth
5. For cosmetic modifications
6. Used after a dental implant
7. Most often after root canal treatment.
What is the difference between veneers and crowns?
• Veneers are most often indicated for the front teeth region where the biting force is less. On the other hand, dental crowns are more resistant to biting force, hence indicated for posterior or chewing teeth.
• Veneers require minimal or sometimes no teeth modification or preparation whereas dental crowns require more of an invasive tooth preparation.
• Veneers are esthetically more appealing than dental crowns.
• Veneers only cover the front surface of your teeth and do not cover your entire tooth surface, whereas dental crowns cover your entire tooth surface.
• Thickness of veneers is less, around 1mm compared to crown, whose thickness is around 2 mm.
Pros and cons of veneers and crowns
• Esthetically more pleasing in the long run than full coverage crown
• Minimal to no teeth preparation
• Less chair side time
• Leaves more area of tooth exposed to decay
• Veneers once placed cannot be undone
• Technique sensitive
• Costly and may not be covered by dental insurance
• All the tooth surface is covered so more protection against tooth decay
• Stronger than dental veneers
• Cost effective and often covered by dental insurances
• Requires more tooth preparation, hence more natural tooth is lost
• More time consuming
• Porcelain fused with metal crowns show a black line between the crown and your natural teeth