Hassan and Omar spent their weekend at the Dundee Dental Education Centre updating their skills in the latest techniques to provide minimal preparation crowns and veneers. Both Omar and Hassan have been placing porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers for over 10 years but with advances in the materials available, it is important to stay up to date with all of the latest dental techniques. You may be asking yourself what is a minimal preparation crown or veneer and how is this different to other types of porcelain crowns and veneers.
To answer this we have to look back at how the Hollywood smile was traditionally achieved in the 90s by placing porcelain veneers and crowns. They were used to cover any blemishes on the teeth and to make them appear perfectly white. They were also used in situations when the teeth were crooked to straighten the teeth in a process that was called instant orthodontics. In most cases there was a need to remove enamel from your teeth in order to place a porcelain crown or porcelain veneers. In some situations significantly large amounts of your tooth would need to be removed and whilst it would give an amazing appearance it would ultimately lead to several problems in the long term.
What can go wrong?
All of your teeth have a nerve and blood supply that runs through the centre of the tooth. The more of your tooth that is removed by drilling the more chance there is of compromising this nerve and blood supply. This can lead to the tooth dying in some instances and subsequently requiring a root canal treatment. Another problem is that the underlying tooth can become weakened and over time it can actually break and require to be extracted. A problem specific to porcelain veneers (if not placed correctly) is that they can fall off your tooth regularly. Porcelain veneers rely on a strong bond with the enamel of your tooth and if this enamel is removed then there is a much higher risk of the bond between your tooth and the veneer failing.
Minimal preparation porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers
The concept behind this is to remove as little of your tooth as possible to avoid the problems mentioned above. In order for this to be possible, it is important that your teeth are perfectly straight to begin with (to avoid the instant orthodontics) and so in many cases, we would place clear adult braces to straighten your teeth. These are very discrete and usually, we can straighten your teeth in a matter of months. The next step in the process would be to whiten your teeth with one of our deep teeth bleaching systems. This will remove the intrinsic stains from your teeth and make them as naturally white as possible. For many people this may actually be all the treatment they require to get their perfect smile but for some people who perhaps have chipped teeth or large fillings in their front teeth, they may require to have porcelain crowns or veneer placed. With the minimal preparation protocol, we aim to remove on average around 0.5mm from your tooth for the porcelain veneers and around 1.2mm for porcelain crowns. By removing such small amounts of your tooth enamel we can ensure to avoid the problems that were discussed above