My 15 year old son had a bicycle accident, which chipped his front two teeth. I was thinking about getting veneers put on his teeth, but when I took him to the dentist today, he said it was better to place crowns on the teeth. I thought it best to get a sort of second opinion, so I’m writing your blog.
My opinion is to not put crowns on his front teeth. Crowns will require his teeth be filed down to stubs. On a 15-year old, the teeth are very young with a large pulp inside. Since crowns require the removal of a considerable amount of tooth structure, there is a very real risk that the dentist would run into the pulp, which would kill the pulp and mean that the tooth would also need a root canal.
For something like chipped front teeth there are two more conservative options: The most conservative is dental bonding. Though if you have this done, you need to be sure that your dentist is artistic enough to do this work, because it involves shaping and tinting the restoration freehand. The advantage is that it wouldn’t require the removal of any additional tooth structure.
Another option would be porcelain veneers placed on his two front teeth. The dentist would shave off about half a millimeter of the enamel on the front of the each of these two front teeth and place porcelain veneers.
I suspect that your dentist recommended crowns because he is not comfortable with doing either direct dental bonding or porcelain veneers. They require specialized cosmetic dentistry techniques that most dentists aren’t familiar with. But I would definitely discourage doing the crowns on a fifteen-year old.
This blog is brought to you by Boston Cosmetic dentist Dr. Randall Burba.