Dental Crowns or Veneers in South Charlotte, NC
A dental crown or “cap,” is a laboratory-fabricated cover that fits over the entire tooth. It can be made out of gold, porcelain, or combination of both, and looks like a natural teeth. They are typically used to restore a tooth's function and appearance when the tooth has become broken down due to trauma, decay, fracture, wear, or after the tooth has had a root canal.
At Park Crossing Dentistry, we strive to be as conservative as possible in our approach to treatment. Many times a simple filling will repair a tooth to its original function and appearance. But if that is not possible due to the remaining amount of natural tooth structure, we highly recommend putting a crown on a tooth. The risk of not treating could be a fracture of the tooth to where it is no longer restorable and therefore would have to be pulled.
Dental crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, and to prevent a cracked tooth from breaking. Crowns also can be placed for esthetic reasons, such as when a patient has discolored, stained, or worn down teeth that he or she would like restored to a natural appearance.
After an application of a local anesthetic, like you would get for a filling, the tooth will be reduced a little in size to make room for the new crown. An impression (mold) is made and the impression is sent to a high quality dental laboratory which custom makes the crown specifically for each patient. A temporary crown is placed over the reduced tooth until the permanent crown is ready, typically in less than 2 weeks. Your doctor will give you options for the material your crown can be made out of. Generally, they will be tooth colored and made of porcelain. After the permanent crown returns from the lab, it is permanently cemented into place. If you select a tooth colored crown it will look like the other teeth in your mouth.
Caring For Your Crowns
With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to ten years or longer. It is very important to floss and brush properly in the area of the crown as it will collect plaque and food debris just like a natural tooth. The number one reason dentists have to replace crowns is because new decay is found around them.
Veneers are similar to crowns except they only cover the front of the tooth. They are thin pieces of porcelain-type material that replicate the natural appearance of teeth. They are usually cemented over the front of your teeth to change their color or shape. Veneers are used on teeth with uneven surfaces or on teeth that are chipped, discolored, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced or crooked. Little or no anesthesia is needed. Veneers have a longer life expectancy and color stability than “bonding,” and are highly resistant to permanent staining from coffee, tea, or even cigarette smoking. They are a very conservative treatment because very little tooth structure has to be removed. The lifetime for a veneer is anywhere from 8-10 years. Usually they would have to be replaced due to ordinary chipping of the biting edge (much like what occurs with natural teeth), but even that can sometimes be repaired without removing the veneer.
Typically, getting veneers requires at least three appointments: diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation, and placement.
During the treatment planning appointment, the doctor will analyze your existing teeth and determine if you would be a good candidate for veneers. Most patients are good candidates, but some patients, especially people who grind their teeth often, may require special considerations. Occasionally other procedures may be required to give ideal esthetic and/or functional results. At Park Crossing Dentistry, we strive for predictable outcomes and long term successes for our patients.
During the tooth preparation visit, the teeth are sometimes lightly buffed to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. Usually, about half a millimeter of the tooth is removed, and many patients find local anesthetic more comfortable during this procedure. An impression (mold) is taken of the “prepared” teeth, which is sent to the laboratory for the custom fabrication of the veneers. Temporary veneers will be placed before you leave the office.
During the final visit, the veneers are permanently cemented to the tooth surface and any final adjustments are made.