I have six porcelain veneers and one of them has a cavity. My dentist wants to remove the veneer, treat the cavity, and then replace it with a dental crown. I am not too keen on the idea of a crown. Is that the standard procedure for dealing with a cavity on a veneer or do I have another option?
You did not mention how big the cavity is, but for a tooth to require a dental crown you would need at least 20% of the tooth decayed. Unless that is the case, my instinct is to tell you to get a second opinion on this. When you do get this second opinion, you need to see an expert cosmetic dentist. Only about 2% of dentists are able to do the procedure you need and you don’t want someone saying get the crown simply because they are not skilled in porcelain veneers.
There are patients who go to an expert cosmetic dentist to get their cosmetic work done and then return to their family dentist for regular dental work. That is fine. However, when there is maintenance to be done on the veneers, it is safer to excuse yourself from that dentist to have the maintenance done by someone with expertise.
It is possible to have a cavity treated and then replaced with a porcelain veneer. You are not stuck with a crown, with the exception of when the decay is significant as I mentioned in the first paragraph. You will just need to have an expert cosmetic dentist to do the work. Your best bet is to go to an AACD accredited dentist.
Preventing Decay with Porcelain Veneers
The place where your porcelain veneers are the most vulnerable are at the margins. This is where the porcelain veneer meets the tooth. Fortunately, it is very easy to prevent this. Flossing regularly, limiting snacks, and making sure special attention is given to that area in your cleaning appointments.
It is important that your dentist and hygienist avoid a couple of things during your regular cleanings. First, is a power prophy jet. This will remove the protective glaze from your porcelain veneers and cause them to pick up stains very quickly. A second thing to avoid is acidulated fluoride. This will etch your teeth and will also cause damage to the veneers.