Can I replace porcelain crowns with veneers?

I have a couple of crowns on my front teeth, but I would really like to replace several of my upper teeth with a set of new porcelain veneers – including the ones with crowns. Can crowns be replaced with veneers?  — Sheila in New Mexico

Sheila,
While both a crown and veneer are made of porcelain, one of the biggest differences is that a crown is made to cover the entire tooth structure and a veneer is bonded only to the front of the tooth. Because of this, the prep work your dentist has to do for each respective treatment is very different and makes it impossible to replace a crown with a porcelain veneer. Here’s why…

A porcelain crown being placed over the prepared tooth

When your dentist prepped your teeth for the crowns you currently have, he or she had to aggressively remove some of the tooth structure and actually taper it on both sides so the crown could essentially fit like a “cap” over the tooth (see photo). You cannot remove the crown and just place a veneer because that would leave the back and the sides uncovered.

There are some dentists who will actually shave down the front of a crown and place a porcelain veneer over it, but this is not recommended. Not only will you spend the same amount of money it would cost to simply do a new crown, but from an aesthetic standpoint, it won’t look as good and it won’t be as strong – which could lead to failure later down the road. Your best advice would be to find a good cosmetic dentist will replace the crowns, and who will utilize a good cosmetic dental laboratory that will match the new crowns to the color of the porcelain veneers.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Why won’t my implant whiten?

I recently started whitening my teeth, but I’ve noticed that my implant – which used to match my teeth – is darker. Why is my implant not getting whiter along with the rest of my teeth? — Rick in Arkansas

Rick,
There’s good news and bad news with your situation. The good news is that the color you originally chose for your dental implant crown is sealed in, meaning it is very resistant to stains. The bad news is that it makes it impossible to whiten. This is because most at home whitening systems only work to remove surface stains and professional whitening systems permeate below the tooth’s surface to oxidize the stain. There are no dental restorations on the market today that work with either of these options. That is why whitening should be done prior to having any dental restorations, and your dental office should have offered it to you upfront and given the color time to stabilize before deciding on a shade.

Unfortunately, your only real option now is replacing the crown. If you’re satisfied with the shade you have achieved with the rest of your teeth, allow a few weeks for the color to stabilize before setting up an appointment. If you are looking to go whiter and want to do it faster, find a good cosmetic dentist who can help you determine what whitening options best suit your situation before you have the crown remade.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Will porcelain veneers make me look like Mr. Ed?

I’ve had stained and broken front teeth most of my life and often find myself comparing my smile to everyone around me. There are those people whose smile is so beautiful and natural and then there are the ones you can tell have had work done and look like they have horse teeth. If I am spending thousands of dollars on veneers, how can I be assured a beautiful, natural-looking smile?  — Liv in Omaha

Dear Liv,
There’s no doubt that there have been a few Hollywood stars who have gotten porcelain veneers that were too big and looked like horse teeth. Choosing a cosmetic dentistry procedure is a huge investment in yourself and of course you want a smile that you can be proud to show the world.

Lumineers are thinner than traditional veneers and look very much like natural teeth. But, don’t settle on a specific treatment without consulting with an expert cosmetic dentist about all the options available to you – such as Lumineers, traditional veneers or composite veneers – and which will ultimately give you the results you are looking for.  During your initial consultation, be sure to share your concerns about bulky looking teeth. Your dentist needs to understand your expectations and what your ideal smile looks like so he can discuss the benefits and limitations of each procedure.

Regardless of what procedure you choose, any skilled and reputable dentist will want you to walk out of his or her office completely happy with your results.  If you ask to see before and after photos of similar work they have done on other patients – and also if they offer a Beautiful Smile Guarantee – you’ll be assured natural-looking teeth and the beginning of a new life with your new, beautiful smile.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Do porcelain veneers yellow?

Over the years, my teeth yellowed and I became very self-conscious about it. I saved up and recently had porcelain veneers put on, but realize that I never asked my dentist if my veneers will eventually start to discolor or yellow. I’ve spent way too much money to end up with ugly, yellow teeth again in a few years. Will my veneers yellow?
— Vicki

Vicki,
This is a great question and one that is asked quite often. Your porcelain veneers will not yellow, but that is not to say that veneers can’t take on a discolored appearance if the natural tooth they are bonded to picks up stains. If your teeth are susceptible to stains from coffee, dark sodas, berries, etc, your best bet is to avoid those things. And you should also avoid smoking, too.

Also, get rid of any whitening toothpastes you may have used in the past. While you want to keep your teeth white, these toothpastes are highly abrasive and can actually damage your veneers by breaking down the glaze that is designed to keep them white.

If you do consume any foods or drinks that stain your teeth, a good practice is to rinse your mouth immediately after eating or drinking. This will help assure you have that bright, beautiful smile for many years to come.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.