An Alternative Cosmetic Dental Treatment Option


An often asked question from my dental patients is, “How can I make my smile look better without crowning or veneering all my front teeth?” The answer depends on the condition of their front teeth of course. If they are riddled with fillings on every surface, then crowning is the only option. If their teeth are extremely crooked, then orthodontics is the reasonable approach. If, on the other hand, they have a few fillings here or there and they are discolored, stained or mildly crooked, then a reasonable alternative is what I call a chair-side veneer. White filling material (composite) is bonded (adhered) to the front side of the tooth. I then sculpt the material with my hand piece to the desired shape. Generally no anesthetic is needed because I am not drilling into the tooth, but sculpting the surface of the adhered material just like a manicurist does when doing fingernails. The resulting new look can be dramatic. Crooked and discolored teeth can look perfect. The cost is about one third the cost of a porcelain crown or veneer. So what are the drawbacks? Longevity, strength, and opacity are definite drawbacks to name a few. Although a chair-side veneer, as I have described it, looks quite good, it is not as stunning as finely fired porcelain with the laboratory craftsman’s touch of color and translucency that copies nature. If you are looking for a cosmetic change that might last five to ten years and costs a lot less than crowning, direct bonding (chair side-veneer) is the way to go. Make sure your dentist does this procedure. Not all dentists are comfortable in doing multiple teeth. Some offices are willing to give a complimentary char side consultation and estimate as I do to help you make your decision.