What are they?
Porcelain veneers (or dental laminates) are thin porcelain plates that are cemented to the front of the tooth. Their thickness is typically about 0.5 to 0.6 mm. This is about half the thickness of a penny or twice as thick as an eggshell.
What are they used for?
The main purpose for the installation of porcelain veneers is to improve the appearance of teeth.
They are commonly used on teeth that have changed their color, in cases of chipped tooth enamel or for closing small interdental spaces.
How do they work?
Dentistry includes an entire science that deals with the study of the mechanisms of tooth connection, that is the attachment between the tooth and materials, the bonding of materials to porcelain.
By means of a special series of steps a strong bond between the dental composite (white filling) and tooth enamel is achieved.
With the help of this procedure similar steps are used to create a bond between enamel and porcelain.
The end result is a situation where the bonding component acts as a cement sandwiched between the veneer and the tooth, holding everything together.
Why do they work?
You may wonder how a thin porcelain plate can successfully withstand the chewing forces.
The answer lies in the fact that, although porcelain is initially fragile, when it is firmly connected and supported by a solid substructure (of the tooth in this case), this creates a very strong and durable surface.
How do veneers differ from dental crowns?
Although both of these restorations can provide the same cosmetic end result, a crown completely surrounds the tooth and includes more tooth preparation. The fundamental difference between veneers and crowns is how much tooth substance they cover. Crowns usually “pack” the entire tooth while veneers cover only the front surface. Another difference: crowns are also thicker than veneers. A dental crown is installed on a prepared tooth.
When the dentist prepares the tooth for a crown, he grinds it, reducing it in size and shape. The idea is that the crown becomes a new outer surface for the tooth. (That is why the crown can be used to give the tooth a new color and shape).
Tooth is ground down 1 to 2 mm, depending on the surface. Such grinding is based on the fact that most of the crowns must be at least 1 or 2 mm thick. It depends on the type of material (zirconia, porcelain, metal, or their combination).
Compared with crowns, porcelain veneers only cover the front side of the tooth. When applying a veneer, removal of the tooth structure is more sparing.
As mentioned above, crowns and veneers differ in their thickness. Porcelain veneers are less than 1 mm thick while a crown is more than 1 mm thick.
A veneer covers the tooth only on the front side. This means that much less removing of tooth is required in the preparation for veneers. It requires only a preparation on the front side and there is no need to remove the back side of the tooth.
This is a very important feature of the veneer. This means that compared with crowns less healthy tooth tissues are sacrificed. Furthermore, the preparation process is less traumatic for the tooth. Comparison of characteristics and the use of crowns and veneers. Crowns and veneers have their own unique set of characteristics that usually make one or the other more appropriate for certain cases. Here are some of the factors that dentists take into account when deciding which option is best for the patient.
- Can be used for severe tooth discoloration.
- Can be used when you need to significantly change the shape of teeth.
- Are used to restore and strengthen teeth.
- Crowns are very strong and durable.
- Compared with the crowns, which can be used for restoration and strengthening of teeth, porcelain veneers are used in cases which as a rule tend to be only cosmetic.
- Can be used for mild to moderate tooth discoloration.
- Can create minor changes in the shape of the tooth.
- Can be placed mainly on healthy teeth.
- Porcelain veneers fit best in situations where the forces applied to them are relatively light or passive.
- Require much less removing of tooth structure than crowns.