The Wonder of Veneers

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The Wonder of Veneers

by Susanne Ellis, on 4th June 2014 | 0 comments

What is a Veneer?

One of the more common questions I get asked about cosmetic dentistry is “What is the difference between a crown and a veneer?”  A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth.  A crown is sometimes known as a ‘cap’ and can be constructed from porcelain or gold.  A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of the tooth to make it look straighter / longer / whiter (or all three).

Crowns can be used to restore both the front and back teeth, whereas a veneer is predominantly used to restore the front teeth.  The key difference between a crown and a veneer is the amount of tooth preparation required.  A crown requires more reduction of the tooth in all dimensions, whereas for a veneer the tooth may need to be reduced to the right shape so that the veneer will make everything line up correctly once it is fitted.  On occasions a veneer may not require any preparation at all and is more conservative of the existing tooth.

You may also have heard of inlays and onlays and these can often be used in place of traditional dental fillings to treat tooth decay or similar structural damage.  Whereas dental fillings are placed directly within the mouth during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated indirectly in a dental lab before being fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth by your dentist.  The restoration is dubbed an “inlay” when the material is bonded within the centre of a tooth.  Conversely, the restoration is dubbed an “onlay” when the extent of the damage requires inclusion of one or more cusps (points) of the tooth or full coverage of the biting surface.  Onlays are becoming more popular because less tooth reduction is required and they are more conservative of tooth structure

I feel it is extremely important to plan any veneers, onlays and crowns and I would always advise the preparation of a diagnostic wax up of the proposed treatment.  This is prepared by the technician in the laboratory with impressions and information from the surgery.  The wax up allows us to visualise the likely final result and plan any changes to the way the teeth move over each other (guidance).  It also provides a preparation template and is used for the construction of the provisional restorations.

Modern materials and techniques allow us enhance a patient’s smile without unnecessary reduction of the underlying natural teeth and the net result is a beautiful smile.

By Roy Dixon

Clinical Director

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