You finally decided you need to visit someone who does Boston cosmetic dentistry and now you are going in for a new smile design. You may have heard your dentist using the terms veneers and crowns, but you probably don't know what they mean. This is a handy guide to the difference between the two. So you can understand what your dentist is talking about.
How they workA crown is a cap usually made of porcelain or ceramic that is placed over the entire visible portion of the tooth. In order for this to work the dentist trims off a large amount of the enamel. The crown is then cemented directly to the dentin. The process is very involved and can require a number of visits. Typically the first visit consists of tooth reduction and preparation for bonding. On the second visit a crown, that has been manufactured specifically for you, is attached.
When they are usedCrowns are used when the patient has had a great deal of tooth damage, when restructuring is necessary, or if a root canal has occurred. Crowns are a good option because they are very strong and can take a lot of wear. They also can be used to make drastic changes in the shape of the tooth which is advantageous if the teeth are impeding the proper function of the mouth. Cosmetically, crowns make the teeth even and change their color, making them look much better.
How they workVeneers are thin coverings for the front of the tooth. They are usually made of the same substance as crowns. To attach them, your dentist only needs to remove a small amount of enamel. This is generally better for the tooth, since more of the healthy structure is preserved, and for the patient, because there is less discomfort as well as less time and cost involved in the procedure.
When they are usedUnlike a crown, a veneer only covers the front of the tooth so any structural changes will be minimal. Changes to tooth coloration are also less drastic because most of the tooth is still intact behind the veneer. Although they are made of the same substance as crowns, veneers are slightly less durable because they are thinner. But when used correctly they produce the same even white teeth as crowns.
Now you know some of the basics of cosmetic dentistry. For more specific information you should consult your Boston dentists and get an expert opinion.
Image Credit: Dr. Alper, DMD, Cosmetic Dentist, on Flickr