Creating a smile you love to share while also maintaining good oral health often requires the help of dental solutions. Two of these, in particular, are veneers and crowns. Both of these excel at improving the appearance and function of your teeth but are essentially two very different treatments.
When it comes to which one to choose, much will depend on your own personal preferences, the current state of your teeth, and other factors that your dentist will discuss with you. Meanwhile, here is what you need to know about how they are similar, how they are different, and when one may be better than the other.
What are Veneers?
Porcelain Veneers are customized, thin shells that cover the surface of your tooth. They are shaped and molded in such a way that matches with each of your natural teeth.
Veneers are often recommended to improve your smile, particularly if your teeth are discolored, chipped, broken, crooked, misshapen, or gapped. They mask your natural teeth, enhancing their appearance, and are stain-resistant and durable.
This treatment is a non-invasive cosmetic dentistry option that leaves the majority of the tooth intact. To be a candidate for a veneer, however, your tooth must still have enough existing tooth enamel to accommodate it.
The process involves etching off a small portion of the surface tooth enamel to provide for a better bonding of the veneer to the tooth. The dentist will then adhere a veneer to each tooth chosen to receive the treatment and allow it to harden with the use of an ultraviolet lamp.
What are Crowns?
Dental crowns are larger, tooth-shaped caps designed to cover areas of a tooth that are damaged and fit all the way to the gumline, sealing it underneath. They are normally considered a restorative solution but can also be considered a cosmetic one under certain circumstances.
Crowns are a common treatment for restoring damaged teeth, such as those with cracks, fractures, or decay. They also are a good solution for teeth with large fillings or following a root canal, which can leave the tooth increasingly brittle. In other words, the tooth needs the crown to continue functioning properly. Without it, the tooth will deteriorate and most likely need to be extracted at some point.
The process involves filing down a tooth first. For example, if the tooth suffers decay build-up, your dentist will need to remove the decayed parts and maybe even need to rebuild portions of the tooth. This is so it can properly support the new crown.
Your dentist then makes an impression of your tooth to make a mold, which is sent to a dental lab to create your permanent crown. The new crown will then be fitted over your tooth and cemented into place.
Materials used to mold dental crowns include porcelain, an all-metal alloy, or porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM). Another advanced option today is CEREC crowns, which can often be made and placed in your mouth the same day. Crafted out of ceramic, these crowns look natural and are highly resilient.
Are Veneers Better than Crowns?
Understanding the similarities and differences between the two options can help you make the right decision for your particular circumstances.
Veneers and crowns both improve the appearance and function of your teeth, but in different ways. Veneers adhere only to the front surfaces of teeth and fall slightly over the edges. They are aesthetically pleasing in color and shape and show less gum margin. Veneers do not, however, provide much reinforcement to the tooth. Crowns, on the other hand, cover the complete tooth and protect it from further damage.
Veneers and crowns are designed to match the color of your natural teeth to give you a more even smile. The one exception to this is if you choose all-metal crowns.
Care is also similar, requiring brushing and flossing daily and scheduling regular dental cleanings and exams. During these exams, your dentist may take x-rays of the dental work to ensure that the tooth underneath remains in good condition.
When are veneers better than crowns?
Porcelain veneers are better choices than crowns when:
You are seeking a purely cosmetic solution, and aesthetics are your primary focus.
Your tooth is mostly intact, potentially only requiring a small shape correction.
You want a complete smile makeover.
Your teeth are strong but have visible flaws such as discoloration, slight chips or cracks, gaps, or non-matching shapes and sizes.
You do not want to undergo teeth whitening treatment or wear braces to correct an issue.
When are crowns better than veneers?
Dental crowns are typically the better choice in the following circumstances:
A tooth is damaged.
The tooth has a large filling.
The tooth has undergone a root canal which has left it weak or brittle.
Tooth enamel is so worn down that the tooth cannot handle daily wear and tear.
There is a need to replace a weak, missing, or broken tooth.
You want more tooth support while also obtaining a more attractive smile.
Whether you need a cosmetic solution to improve your smile or a restorative one to ensure your teeth stay supported and functional, Dr. Richard Barry and his team at Lifetime Dental can provide you with options and recommendations. Contact our office in Columbus today and schedule a consultation, cleaning, or dental exam.