Crown, Cap or Veneer: Which is Right for You?

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When you aren’t happy with your smile, it affects every other aspect of your appearance. Others might think you are perpetually unhappy, for instance, because you’re reluctant to smile or laugh and show your stained or uneven teeth. You might choose to wear your hair in a certain style or avoid certain clothing or accessories you love because you fear it will draw attention to your mouth — and that others will think less of you because your teeth aren’t as attractive as they could be.

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It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Cosmetic dentistry has made significant advances in the last few decades, and doctors now have a whole host of treatments to give patients the dazzling smiles of their dreams. From removing stains to reshaping, replacing and repairing your chompers, cosmetic dentistry can make a significant difference in your overall appearance and self-confidence.

Before you start looking for cosmetic dentistry in Kansas City to fix your smile, you must understand your different treatment options. Depending on your individual needs, one or more different treatments might be appropriate, so knowing the differences between them and talking with your dentist will help you make the right choice — and get the results you’re hoping for.

Crowns

Crowns, also known as caps, are often used to add strength, durability and stability to teeth that have been cracked, broken or worn down due to age, grinding the teeth or improper bite. Fillings that are decades old can also contribute to the need for crowns.

Essentially, the crown is a covering placed over the top of the existing tooth. Depending on the location of the tooth and your budget, the cap may be made of bonded resin, porcelain or gold. While in general, gold crowns are healthier as they aren’t as likely to cause infection or damage to surrounding teeth, for aesthetic reasons, most people choose porcelain or resin crowns for visible teeth. The color can be matched to the surrounding teeth for a more natural appearance.

Veneers

Any number of things can cause teeth to be stained, chipped, uneven or otherwise imperfect, but veneers can correct most of those problems. Composite veneers are applied directly to the tooth during a single office visit. Porcelain veneers are usually created in a lab, where they are shaped and colored to exact specifications, and then applied over the teeth. In either case, the existing teeth must be reduced and there is usually some anesthesia and a short recovery period. The more extreme the change to the teeth, the more existing tooth reduction required.
Veneers can make a significant difference to your smile, completely changing the color and shape of your teeth. Most people find it takes a few weeks to get used to the change, since the teeth shapes are so different, but in time there are usually no detrimental side effects. However, grinding or other extreme stress on the teeth can damage veneers, so patients who have a tendency to clench their jaws or grind their teeth should work with their provider to develop solutions to the problem.

Bridges

When you lose one or more teeth due to an accident, decay, breakage or other causes, a bridge is a replacement tooth. Unlike dentures, which are removable teeth, a bridge is a permanent false tooth placed in the gap and held in placed via bonding to caps on the teeth on either side. In some cases, such as when the bridge is in the front of your mouth, it may be bonded to the adjacent teeth using metal bands covered with resin, a less expensive and potentially less uncomfortable procedure.

A bridge can make a significant difference in your appearance as well as making it easier to speak and eat. However, while a bridge does reduce the risk of gum disease, bacteria and acid can build up on the false tooth and cause serious infections if you do not pay close attention to dental hygiene.

These are a few of the techniques your cosmetic dentist may consider to help you create the smile that you deserve. What choice is right for you depends on your teeth’s condition and your expectations, but in any case, you’re all but guaranteed to leave your dentist’s office feeling more confident about your teeth and your smile.

About the Author: Sarah Harding is a beauty blogger who enjoys investigating new ways to help people look and feel their best.

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