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Curtis asked...

Restoring broken teeth

Tags: teeth

When I was younger I broke my two front teeth in half. They were built up as a temporary measure until I had finished growing up now I would like to have them restored to look like my other teeth. You can see the line of normal tooth and false tooth and they have been discoloured too. Would this be done in a veneer and how long will it last?

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The answer

Dear Curtis,

There are a few ways your tooth can be repaired.

  • Replacement of fillings – This is where the dentist will remove all or some of the existing fillings and replace this with new tooth coloured filling material.
  • Direct veneer – This is where you dentist will shave a small portion off the front of your tooth if needed and build up a tooth coloured filling material that covers the front of the tooth. It is usually carried out in one appointment. A veneer will only cover the front part of your tooth.
  • Indirect veneer – this is where you dentist shaves a small portion off the front of your tooth if needed and will take an impression of the tooth and send this to a dental laboratory, who will make the veneer and return it to the dentist to glue on. This can take up to a few weeks for the laboratory to make. Again this kind of veneer will only cover the front part of your tooth.
  • Crown – This is where the dentist will remove a small portion from all the way around the tooth and take an impression. They will then send this to the laboratory, who will make the crown and return it to the dentist to glue on. This can take a few weeks for the laboratory to make. A crown will cover the whole tooth (front, back, sides and biting edge).

All 4 of these options will be made to match your other teeth.

A tooth coloured filling and direct veneer will last 3 to 5 years. Sometimes these can be polished or patched up which is cheaper than replacing the whole direct veneer and much cheaper than replacing the indirect veneer or crown.

The indirect veneer will last 7 to 10 years and a crown will last 10 to 12 years. With these, no refurbishments can be made, so they will need replacing if they break, your natural teeth change colour or your gums recede. If you do get some gum recession you can end up with a dark line round the top of the tooth which can only be fixed by replacing the veneer or crown. Unlike the fillings or direct veneers you will not get staining as these will be made of porcelain.

As you can see, there are a few options for replacing your current fillings. You should discuss this with your dentist who will be able to talk through which of these options is most suitable for your teeth.

They will also be able to advise on the costs of each option.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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