Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Crowns & Veneers

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We want to make it easy for you to become an informed participant in your oral health care. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to help you feel comfortable asking us whenever you have a question. No question is ever silly, and we are here to help you with any concern you happen to have. 

We've gathered some of our most commonly heard questions here for you to look through. If your question isn't answered here or you'd like more information, don't hesitate to give us a call!

Crowns & Veneers

A crown (also known as a cap) is a cover that is placed over a tooth.  It restores the tooth to a more ideal shape or size, and can improve its function and strength.  Additionally, crowns can improve the esthetics of a tooth, especially if it is a front tooth.  Typically crowns are made of porcelain, metal, or a combination of the two materials, with the porcelain coating the outside of the metal.

Veneers are similar to crowns, but do not cover the tooth on all surfaces.  Typically, a veneer will be bonded to the front (visible surface) of a tooth, but commonly wraps very slightly over the edge of a front tooth, and extends in between the teeth so that its margins (edges) are not showing.  Veneers are almost universally made to improve esthetics, but also can be used to treat chipped or worn teeth.  They are always made from a type of porcelain to mimic the esthetics of enamel.

Since crowns and veneers perform similar functions, are often made of the same materials, and can be  cemented with the same types of cements, they are typically very comparable in cost and in the length of the appointment time needed.  In my office, I use both options, depending on many factors.  In reality, though, there is often little difference between the two options, especially if the veneers are the type which wrap around the sides and edges.   Both are wonderful options to restore or create an amazing smile.

Even the best made dental crowns (caps) do not last forever.  Sometimes cavities form at their margins, and sometimes they can come loose, either from decay or cement washout.  A loose crown will often have a telltale taste or odor coming from it- a result of food debris getting stuck underneath.  Sometimes the crown will simply get pulled out by a sticky piece of food.  Always call for an appointment as soon as you notice a loose crown, or if the crown has fallen out.  If the tooth is intact and healthy, we can often clean the inside of the crown, and simply cement it back in.

If too much time goes by with a loose crown, decay can set in due to food debris getting under the loose crown and damaging the underlying tooth.  Or if the crown has come out and too much time goes by before the dental appointment is made, the adjacent teeth can shift ever so slightly, and the crown may not fit anymore.  We can typically see you within a few days (many times the same day) whenever you have a dental issue.

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