Did you know that more than 120 million people in the United States alone are missing at least one tooth? If you find that hard to believe, you should also know that more than 36 million people in the United States don’t have any teeth at all. As it happens, tooth loss is one of the most common dental problems around, but fortunately, there are options you can choose to make it still look like you have all your teeth.
Your Boise dentist can help you make the best choice, but the top two options for improving your smile (whether you have missing or damaged teeth) are dental veneers and crowns. But is there really any difference between these two options? How can you know if you’re making the right choice for your teeth?
To start off, let’s take a look at one of the most common as well as popular dental procedures: dental veneers.
What Are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers are shell-like structures that are usually made out of porcelain or composite resin. They are a common cosmetic dental treatment designed to cover an existing tooth. Because of this, they are not a good choice if you need functional teeth such as in the case when you are missing teeth.
If you have teeth that are dead, chipped, cracked, discolored, or otherwise damaged in some way, veneers might be a good choice for you. They can immediately make your smile appear better and most people can’t even tell that you have veneers covering your real teeth. Even if you don’t like the shape, size, or spacing of your teeth, veneers can be the solution.
Most people who get veneers usually get between six and eight of them. This range is enough to cover the teeth that people might see when you speak or smile. There is no reason or use for getting veneers on your molars since they can’t help you chew and they can’t be seen from the front anyway.
Dental veneers generally require a lot of tooth preparation before you can get them. There are also special types of veneers that don’t require as much preparation, but the process for these veneers is different than the process for typical veneers.
Veneer preparation typically requires resurfacing your teeth so the veneers bond tightly. The resurfacing creates a rougher surface on the front of the tooth. The major downside to resurfacing your teeth is that the process is irreversible. Once teeth have been prepared for veneers they will not have a pleasing enough appearance to allow you to ever have the veneers removed and let your teeth “go bare” again.
The Details of Dental Veneers
When you get veneers from a cosmetic dentist, depending on how many you choose to get, you might need to get all of your front teeth resurfaced. Additionally, your teeth might not all be resurfaced to the same degree. How much preparation is necessary will depend on the specific issues related to your specific teeth.
For example, if the first two teeth on the upper and lower parts of your jaw are chipped, or otherwise damaged, but the rest of your front teeth are fine, you might not need to get veneers for all of them. Instead, you can just get veneers for the teeth that are damaged and leave your other teeth alone to save time and money.
More often than not, if you want to get veneers for several teeth, your dentist will create a wax cast. This cast will help you visualize the final result and appearance of your dental veneers. If you don’t like the final look, you can discuss the results with your dentist to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for from your veneers.
As for no-prep veneers, you should still expect some level of preparation. But the preparation will not be as extensive as ordinary veneers. For example, your dentist will not usually resurface your teeth as much as they would with normal veneers.
Before you get veneers, you should know that there are two main types: porcelain and composite resin veneers. These two different materials for veneers require slightly different processes of the application. For that reason, it’s important to know the difference before choosing one over the other.
Porcelain is one of the most beloved materials in the dental industry because of how durable it is. Another reason why it is such a popular material is that it can resemble real tooth color very closely. When it comes to porcelain veneers, your dentist will need to resurface your teeth.
Once this is done, your dentist will then take molds of your teeth. These molds are important because they help determine the shape and size of your future veneers. Your dentist will send your dental molds to a lab where specialists will make the veneers specifically for you.
Alternatively, some dentists with the latest dental technology are able to take a digital mold of your teeth, and create your dental veneers on site at their office during your same appointment. If this is the case you should be able to leave the office that same day with your new dental veneers. Boise dentist, Dr. Steve Crump has this technology and can do same day crowns and same day veneers.
If you choose a dentist without this equipment then waiting for the veneers to be sent back to your dentist is one of the longest portions of your dental veneer journey. It may take several weeks before your dentist finally receives the veneers from the dental labs who creates them. While you wait for your final veneers, your dentist will provide you with temporary veneers to cover your prepared teeth.
Once the final veneers are complete, you will be able to return to your dentist to have them applied to your teeth. A special type of bonding agent is necessary to apply the veneers to your prepared teeth.
Composite Resin Veneers and No-prep Veneers
Composite resin veneers are a popular alternative to porcelain veneers. The unique thing about composite resin veneers is that your dentist has the ability to mold the veneers to your teeth as they set. This is because composite resin is a liquid material that eventually hardens when placed under ultraviolet light.
Composite veneers require less tooth preparation and roughening and shaping of the underlying tooth surfaces. Your dentist will work in layers when applying the composite resin until the veneers reach the desired thickness and appearance. Once your dentist uses ultraviolet light to cure the resin veneers, they should harden quickly and you will be able to go on with your day after your appointment.
As for no-prep veneers, these are a special type of veneers made of porcelain. As the name suggests, there is very little preparation for these veneers compared to other types. Instead of removing the deeper tissues of your teeth beyond the enamel, no-prep veneers only involve the enamel.
For that reason, no-prep veneers don’t take very long for your dentist to apply. More than that, your dentist most likely won’t need to use a local anesthetic because the process will not be especially uncomfortable.
Choosing the right kind of veneer for you will depend on a variety of factors such as the cost and the amount of time you are willing to spend getting the veneers.
For example, some types of veneers may last a long time, but maybe very expensive. On the other hand, some veneers may be cheaper but may not be as durable or look as natural. On average, you should expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 per tooth for veneers.
How to Care For Your Veneers
Once you have your veneers, you shouldn’t expect them to stay looking great forever with minimal upkeep. Just as you must take care of your real teeth, you will also need to take care of your veneers if you want to get your money’s worth out of them.
So, once you leave the dental office, you will be able to speak, chew, and smile as you usually would. As long as you take care of them as you should, porcelain veneers can last up to 10 years, although some people may be able to keep them in good shape for as long as 20 years. No-prep veneers tend to last the shortest amount of time. If you keep them in good shape you can potentially keep them for approximately 7 years.
There are certain things you can do to improve the lifespan of your veneers no matter what kind you have. For example, you should avoid eating hard foods like nuts with your veneers. These hard foods are more easily able to chip or crack your veneers. For the same reason, you also shouldn’t chew on ice, pencils, or your fingernails. Repeated strain on your veneers over time can eventually cause them to break down and chip. You should also avoid clenching or grinding your teeth.
If you grind your teeth while you sleep, it’s important to wear a nightguard. This will prevent damage to your veneers as well as your real teeth. And, as always, remember to brush and floss your veneers to keep them bright and in good condition.
So, how do dental crowns compare?
What Are Dental Crowns?
The first thing you should know about dental crowns is that instead of acting like a shell for your teeth, dental crowns are more like caps. Dental crowns are not only cosmetic, but can be functional as well. They may be the ideal choice if your teeth are too damaged to be good candidates for veneers.
Dental crowns can protect damaged teeth from further damage, and are useful if your teeth are too damaged for fillings or other types of dental treatments.
Crowns are also used in connection with dental implants for people who need to replace missing teeth. However, in this case, your dentist would need to install a metal post (the dental implant) into your jaw to attach the crown over the implant.
For people who still have a substantial amount of healthy tooth structure remaining, the dentist can place the crown over the remainder of your tooth. As with veneers, there are several different materials you can choose for your dental crowns.
These materials can make a difference in the appearance and lifespan of your crowns. Unlike veneers that are usually only applied to your front teeth, crowns can be used for any kind of tooth, including molars. Crowns, much like veneers, are designed in a way that allows them to complement the shape and appearance of your natural teeth.
This way, the result of your crowns will make your smile natural-looking. Some of the most common types of crowns are porcelain, composite resin, ceramic, and even metal. When you get a crown, you will need to consider more than the color alone.
The location of your tooth, the amount of your real tooth you have left, the color of your other teeth, and the location of your gums are all important factors to consider. If you ignore these aspects, you’ll find that your crowns won’t look ideal.
Types of Crowns You Should Know About
Because there are so many different options when it comes to dental crowns, you need to make sure you make the right decision to get the best results. A one-day crown is a popular type of crown since, as the name suggests, it only takes one day to get it. This is a big improvement from the weeks of waiting as with dental veneers.
One-day crowns are usually made from ceramic. A computer will design the crown and then mill out the custom shape of your crown from a block of ceramic. Then, your dentist will be able to fit the crown to your tooth.
By the end of the procedure, you should be able to leave the dental office and go on about your day.
If you don’t want a full crown to encompass your entire tooth, you can always opt for an onlay crown. Instead of covering an entire tooth, it will only cover a part of it.
Usually, an onlay crown will cover the front of the tooth to improve its appearance much in the same way as a veneer.
Metal and Porcelain Crowns
Metal crowns have distinct pros and cons. On the good side, they are very durable, unfortunately, they are not realistic in appearance. If you are self-conscious about your teeth already, you may not want to opt for metal crowns because their shine or color will only attract more attention to your teeth. On the other hand, if you want to show off your teeth and if you want to make sure that your crowns will last a long time, metal crowns can be ideal.
The most popular metal crowns are made of gold, or alloys including palladium, or nickel. Crowns of this type almost never chip and they are resistant to most types of damage such as damage you might usually sustain when chewing on hard foods. Most people who get metal crowns tend to get them for their molars since they are less visible.
If you don’t like the thought of metal crowns, you can opt for porcelain which is still very durable, but much more life-like in color. However, while they are durable, they are not as strong as metal crowns. For that reason, you should avoid chewing on hard foods or objects.
However, porcelain crowns are versatile in the sense that they are good options for your back teeth as well as front teeth.
Zirconia and Porcelain Crowns
Zirconia crowns tend to be slightly more popular than porcelain crowns because they are more durable, although they are still less durable than metal crowns. Another benefit that goes beyond their durability is that they are usually covered with a layer of porcelain which makes them more natural in appearance compared to metal crowns..
The Dental Crown Procedure
As with veneers, you will usually need to make two visits to your dentist to get your crowns. During the first visit, your dentist will take an X-ray of your tooth and also a mold to send to a lab. Also during your first visit, your dentist will take the opportunity to sand down your tooth.
Sanding down your tooth is important because the remainder of your tooth needs to fit safely under the crown. Once this is done, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to protect the remainder of your tooth until you can return for your second visit. Once it’s time for your second appointment, your dentist will be able to apply cement to your tooth to attach the crown.
As soon as the crown sets, you should be ready to go to continue your life as usual. Directly after getting your crown, your tooth may feel a little sensitive, but this sensation should go away with time.
Caring for Your Dental Crown
As with veneers, caring for your dental crown is an important task if you want the crown to reach its full life expectancy. The benefit of crowns over veneers is that they tend to last much longer, sometimes even as long as 30 years. For the best and longest-lasting results, you should care for your crowns as you would your real teeth.
You should get into the habit of brushing your teeth at least twice every day, if not every time after you eat. If you have sensitive teeth, try using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to make the brushing process more comfortable. While many people don’t do it, flossing is just as important as brushing, if not more so.
As with veneers, you should avoid chewing on hard foods if you want to avoid chipping your crowns. Also, if you clench your teeth at night, don’t forget to wear a mouthguard. As long as you follow these tips, you will find that your crowns will last a very long time.
Crowns vs Veneers from Your Boise Dentist
If you were unsure what the difference was between crowns and veneers, you should now know the unique benefits of both of them. While veneers are more cosmetic, crowns can be cosmetic as well as functional. Your Boise dentist can help you make the final decision when it comes to choosing the right dental treatment for you.
To learn more, contact us here.