My left front tooth is half broken. It’s been that way for about three years now. I haven’t had any trouble with it, but I’ve put off getting it fixed. I’ve seen two dentists for opinions on the best way to fix it. One of the dentists recommends a crown because it’s a front tooth. She said that the bonding would wear quickly and would need frequent replacing. The second dentist recommended bonding. He said that it would last about 10 years. These opinions are entirely different. Can you give me some advice on this? – Carlton, Avondale, AZ
Thank you for your question. A dental crown, bonding, or a porcelain veneer can conceal the imperfections in your tooth. However, the treatment that a cosmetic dentist would depend on the factors:
- Tooth’s condition
- Tooth’s location
- The extent of the break
We will compare treatment options.
Should You Choose Bonding or a Crown for a Broken Tooth?
Whether you choose dental bonding, a crown or a porcelain veneer for a broken tooth depends on your treatment options for preserving the tooth. We will compare the treatments.
- Dental bonding – It is less expensive than a porcelain crown or a porcelain veneer. A dentist can complete the restoration in one appointment. But dental bonding is suitable for front teeth and requires the skill of an artistic cosmetic dentist who can manipulate and layer the bonding to match the color and translucency of your natural teeth. A skilled cosmetic dentist can apply bonding so well that people cannot tell you have a broken tooth.
- Porcelain crowns – Porcelain is more durable and stain-resistant than dental boning. A single porcelain crown is best for a severely broken tooth that a dentist cannot restore with dental bonding or a porcelain veneer. Back teeth require a dental crown. A dental crown requires shaving all sides of a tooth to reshape it and ensure the crown fits well. A dental crown on a front tooth must match the natural front tooth beside it; otherwise, it will be easy to tell that it is not your natural tooth. This treatment also requires the expertise of an artistic cosmetic dentist. It can take two weeks or more for your dentist to collaborate with a dental lab for a custom crown.
- Porcelain veneer – A porcelain veneer requires removing a small amount of tooth enamel from the front of the tooth. Preparation ensures the veneer fits your tooth without protruding and causing an uneven smile. A cosmetic dentist works with a dental ceramist to create a custom crown in about two weeks—sometimes longer. A porcelain veneer is more expensive than dental bonding or a crown.
Regardless of your chosen treatment, a skilled cosmetic dentist can give you beautiful results. We recommend looking for at least two advanced cosmetic dentists and scheduling consultations to discuss your options.
Dr. Claudia Vargas, a Dallas, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.