How to Maintain your Dental Veneers and Crowns
What Are dental veneers?
Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth, changing their color, shape, size, or length. They are similar to artificial nails that you place on your own fingernails.
What are dental crowns?
A crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth or cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance.
What is the material used to make crowns and veneers?
Dental veneers are usually made out of porcelain, however, sometimes according to the condition, they can be made of resin material, similar to tooth colored fillings that your dentist uses. Dental crowns are quite different. The exterior part (shell) is almost always made of porcelain, but the interior part (the part that fits your tooth) can be made of metal, zirconium, or porcelain.
How are veneers and crowns made?
The dentist usually starts with preparing your teeth, making them a little smaller. He then takes an impression, which is a replica of the site, which is then delivered to the laboratory in order to make the crowns or veneers from metal or porcelain. They are created so they align with your other teeth. Recently, dentists have started making digital impressions (also referred to as CAD\CAM technology). Afterward, the laboratory returns the completed work which your dentist will then cement in place with a special glue (which is conveniently called ‘dental cement’).
Why do I need to maintain veneer or crown covered teeth--aren’t they already protected?
Actually, this is a very common misconception with patients that receive veneers and crowns. They think that since the tooth is covered, it is therefore automatically protected. This is not the case.
Let’s talk about veneers first. These cover only the outside of your teeth, so the inner area still requires normal care. Also, in some cases, multiple veneers can be in the form of one unit, which puts some pressure on the gums and creates areas where food can be lodged, so that is a place that requires diligent oral care by the patient. Another very common problem with veneers is that they can get de-bonded or removed from their place, usually due to biting on something hard like an apple. That’s why your dentist will advise you to cut hard foods into smaller pieces and in some cases, avoid biting on them all together, which takes really special care and consideration from the patient. One form of veneers is removable (you may have heard the term Hollywood Smile or Snap-on Smile).This type can be inserted and removed at your will, but is very fragile so requires special care during insertion, removal and during eating as well (soft diet is recommended)
Next, we’ll talk about crowns. Unlike veneers, these cover the whole tooth, inside and out. While they offer high strength and protection against fracture, the patient must be the one to protect them. The margin of the crown (adjacent to the gums) is a place requires special care during brushing and other oral hygiene methods. But the most difficult area to be cleaned for teeth that are covered with crowns is the area between adjacent teeth. This is the area where most problems that arise from crowns actually begin. Your Dentist advises you to use dental floss regularly, however, if you have a Crown cemented in your mouth, it becomes a MUST.
Maintaining your crowns and veneers will help keep them as functional and protected as the rest of your teeth; a worthwhile effort considering the advantage of beauty and uniformity they offer.
What will happen if I don’t maintain my crowns\veneers?
Decay and gum disease can arise unless the patient is diligent with the oral care for crowns and veneers, however, this diligence is well rewarded with a beautiful smile that dazzles.