Cosmetic Dentistry: 2 Common Treatments

Dental technology seems to be proceeding at a rapid—and sometimes disorienting—pace. This makes it hard for many people to stay abreast of all of the current treatments and techniques. If you would like to increase your knowledge about the techniques used in cosmetic dentistry, this article is for you. Here you'll be introduced to two of the most common treatment options being used today.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are like attractive little shields for the fronts of your teeth. They are custom made out of porcelain, which means they present a natural appearance. Likewise, they are stained so as to mimic the natural color of your teeth. And because porcelain is such a durable substance, veneers have a lifespan of up to 20 years.  

Dental veneers are commonly used to treat a wide variety of issues, among them:

  • chipped and/or broken teeth
  • teeth with unsightly discolorations
  • malocclusions
  • wide gaps

Getting dental veneers isn't something that happens in a single day. Rather, the process is usually spread out over two or three trips to the dentist. The first trip is generally spent discussing whether veneers are an appropriate solution in your case. You dentist will assess your teeth, and inform you of any other procedures that might be more appropriate.

On your second visit, the dentist will begin preparing your teeth for veneers. This involves the removal of a small portion of enamel from the outside of your teeth to create a better surface for the veneers to adhere to. Next your dentist will create molds of your teeth, so that custom veneers can then be made.

Because your veneers won't be ready for at least a couple of weeks, your dentist may provide a set of temporary veneers in the meantime. Then, on your third visit, once the permanent veneers are ready, your dentist will affix them using bonding cement.

Dental Crowns

Much like veneers, dental crowns offer a means of correcting damaged or unsightly teeth. Rather than simply attach to the front of a tooth, however, a dental crown is designed to encase the tooth entirely. Another key difference is the relative thickness of the two options. Whereas veneers, on average, are around one millimeter thick, crowns are often two millimeters or more. On the whole, this makes them more impervious to chips and cracks. 

Crowns also offer greater durability in that they can be made not just out of porcelain, but out of metallic alloys as well. Metal crowns, though more noticeable, have an almost infinite lifespan. Installing metal crowns is also a less involved process, because not as much of the tooth will have to be removed.

The durability of crowns does come with a cost, however. In order to have a crown installed, much more of the tooth has to be removed, making it a more traumatic procedure--both for the tooth and for you. Therefore, dental crowns are often reserved for more extreme cases of decay and damage that would preclude the use of veneers. Contact a company like Wigwam Dental Care for more information.