Dental Overlays and Veneers: Two Paths to a Brand New Smile

Dental veneers and overlays are not quite the same, but they can both have amazing results.

Whether your teeth are chipped, yellow, slightly crooked, or just a bit stained, it’s never too late to start dreaming of a picture perfect smile. Modern cosmetic dentistry offers many different methods to recover your flawless pearly whites – but which one is the best one for you? If you’re having trouble deciding between dental crowns, dental overlays, or dental veneers in Westminster, MD, then we are here to help.

Dental Veneers Versus Overlays for Your Teeth: What Are They Exactly?

As similar as their results may seem on the “after” pictures, dental veneers and overlays are actually quite different procedures.

Dental veneers in Westminster, MD consist of little, custom-made porcelain shells that are attached to your teeth in order to hide imperfections. On the other hand, dental overlays involve a more complex procedure that falls midway between a dental filling and a full crown. Veneers are basically a thin shell of porcelain that is bonded onto the front of the tooth. A small amount of tooth structure is removed, but not the same amount that would be removed for a full crown. This is one of the benefits of a veneer – the majority of the tooth is left intact, making it healthier and structurally sound.

Dental overlays require filling all the cracks and spaced formed on the biting surface of the tooth and around it. Dental overlays are a wonderful option when there are issues with the back teeth, including wear, a broken cusp, or decay that involves a cusp. A filling isn’t usually indicated in these cases because the materials don’t stand up well to bite pressure forces on the cusps.

These procedures also have different life spans: while veneers may need to be replaced after 20 or 30 years, overlays sometimes last only 10.

Despite these differences, both overlays and veneers are commonly done using the same material, and are capable of providing very precise and natural-looking results: straight, regular, white teeth ready for selfies or job interviews. 

Cavities, Cracks, And Extensive Damage: Consider an Overlay

If you are looking to revamp the smile with which you greet the world, then a dentist must determine the exact strategy to follow after a thorough consultation. As a general rule, Carroll County dental overlays are performed in people with more extensive damage, especially if cavities are involved.

A crown is created by removing any decay and reducing the tooth on all surfaces: front, back, top and sides. A tooth-like cap is then cemented over the tooth to protect it from further damage. Dental overlays can accomplish the same thing without affecting as much tooth structure. Typically, an overlay (made of gold or porcelain) fits into and onto the tooth, kind of like a puzzle piece. It fills in where there was decay and covers any of the cusps that have been damaged.

If your teeth have cracked edges or if they have been eroded by bruxism, then overlays are most likely your best option. This is because veneers often require the tooth to be thinned out under the porcelain shells, which can be problematic on those with already damaged teeth. 

Stained And Tilted Teeth? A Discreet Veneer May Be Right For You

While not all teeth are suitable for dental veneers in Westminster, MD, this procedure is often seen as the best one for those who wish to improve their teeth coloring or evenness. Porcelain veneers can achieve that straight, symmetrical smile that years of braces often can’t. In addition, veneers are also recommended for those who also have one or two damaged teeth, as their color tends to be easier to handle.

Whether you need dental veneers, overlays, a combination of both, or something different entirely will depend on your current oral health. The final choice is best determined with the assistance of a professional. Book an appointment with us and we’ll be happy to help you design a customized solution.


About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)

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