What are laminates and veneers?

There is a very subtle difference between these two words as far as dentistry is concerned and could be used interchangeably with some liberty. These are basically shells of tooth-coloured materials that are bonded to the front surfaces usually to make them look beautiful.

What is the difference between a laminate and a crown?

A crown covers the whole of the tooth whereas a laminate generally covers only the front surface of the tooth. Therefore it may be considered to be a more conservative treatment as it tends to preserve a lot of healthy tooth structure that might have been sacrificed if a crown were to be fabricated.

What are direct and indirect laminates?

Direct laminates are the ones that are made directly inside the patient’s mouth. Whereas, indirect laminates are made in the laboratory on a replica of the patient’s teeth acquired by making the impression of the teeth.

Do they look natural?

Newer tooth-coloured materials have improved so much that, it may be extremely difficult for a lay person to make out anything artificial having been done on your teeth if the laminates are properly made. Only a trained eye like a dentist’s may be able to make out any treatment. That too sometimes, is difficult.

What are laminates made from?

There are various materials from which laminates or veneers can be fabricated as is the case with metal-free crowns. Some of them are –

  • Ceramics
  • Zirconia
  • Composite resin