Porcelain veneers or crowns for my worn teeth?

2016.03.24

My teeth are worn and discolored. I am going to make appointments with 2 different dentists to see what they recommend. I just need some direction before I see the dentists so I don’t get oversold or undersold. Should I go with one who recommends porcelain veneers or one who recommends porcelain crowns? Jon

Jon – A conservative, conscientious dentist will first examine your teeth to identify the cause of the wear and discoloration.

If the wear is caused by bruxism, or teeth grinding, that issue must be addressed first. Many patients who grind their teeth are not good candidates for porcelain veneers. The force on the teeth from grinding can fracture a veneer.

An experienced cosmetic dentist will recommend the most conservative treatment. If you do not grind your teeth, and if you have adequate healthy tooth structure, porcelain veneers are a more conservative treatment than porcelain crowns. Teeth are minimally prepared before the veneers are bonded to them. If preparation is required, only 0.5mm to 1mm of the enamel surface is removed. A disadvantage is that veneers cost more than crowns. Porcelain crowns require reducing the size of natural teeth so that crowns will fit over them. This is a process that reduces a significant amount of tooth structure, and it cannot be reversed.

It is possible that your smile can be rejuvenated with teeth whitening and dental composite. An artistic cosmetic dentist can manipulate composite to match the characteristics and translucence of your natural teeth. This is a minimally invasive treatment that will last for years if you take proper care of it. Some patients only require cosmetic contouring, which shapes the teeth to help them appear symmetrical and balanced.

When looking for dentists with whom you can have a consultation, we recommend that you find experienced cosmetic dentists who have artistic talent. A cosmetic dentist’s goal is to help you achieve a smile that is both healthy and beautiful. He or she may recommend one or more treatment options to help you achieve your goals for your smile. An examination and diagnostic studies are required to accurately inform you of your options.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Can a cosmetic dentist clean up my stained dental bonding?

2016.03.14

I am a regular smoker. I don’t consider myself a chain smoker though. 2 years ago, I got dental bonding on 4 front teeth. They are now noticeably stained and I tried to whiten them myself with whitening strips but I can’t see any difference at all. I have unsuccessfully tried to stop smoking several times in the past with no good results. So now I am wondering if I will have to get new bonding or if a cosmetic dentist can clean up the bonding. Matt
Matt – It is possible that a cosmetic dentist can polish the bonding to remove the stains. He or she will first need to examine your teeth to determine if polishing will work or if it’s time to replace the bonding.
In time, coffee, tea, red wine, and smoking all discolor our natural teeth and dental bonding. Composite bonding is also affected by acidic drinks, excessive alcohol consumption, and some toothpastes; the bonding will become dull and excessive alcohol consumption weakens bonding. Dental bonding is not as strong and stain resistant as porcelain crowns or porcelain veneers. It can last three to eight years, whereas crowns or veneers can last fifteen to twenty years, depending on how well you take care of them.
If you want your dental bonding to last, we recommend that you maintain good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Visit your dentist regularly for routine cleanings. Be aware that smoking not only affects your dental bonding, it increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer. Limit coffee, tea, red wine, and excessive alcohol consumption. Avoid biting hard objects, such as ice, carrots, pencils, etc., to prevent the bonding from chipping.
This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.