Dental crowns-- or caps-- and veneers are put in place to stabilize a damaged or decaying tooth. They are extremely helpful for people who would like to improve the cosmetic appearance of their teeth, or to help give a more uniformed appearance to misaligned or discolored teeth. Depending on your needs and the state of health of your teeth, you and your dentist can decide which option is best for you. But what are the differences between veneers and crowns-- and which one should you choose? In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • What veneers and dental crowns are and what they’re used for
  • How do I decide which one is best for me?

dental crowns
Veneers are typically made of porcelain and require less of the tooth to be removed in preparation.

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are a very popular way to fix aesthetic and appearance issues with your teeth. They are usually made of porcelain and mimic the look and feel of actual teeth. Each tooth is custom made to be bonded perfectly to your natural teeth and the porcelain is color matched to the exact color you want. Veneers are preferred by people who may not have damaged or decaying teeth-- but rather by those who want to fix their smile due to staining, chipping, or gaps.

Veneers are very strong, but tend to be brittle as well. They will last someone typically 10 years, and will need to be replaced at some point. They are also an irreversible process, so patients want to make sure they’ve thought about this and discussed this with their dentists before making any appointments.

These dental enhancements are usually placed in two appointments, and follow this process:

  • The dentist will clean the tooth and determine the color needed. They will then remove a small amount of enamel to make room for the veneer.
  • An impression is made and sent to the lab for creation. A temporary veneer is left on the tooth.
  • The lab delivers the impression to the dentist and they remove the temporary veneer. Then the permanent veneer is placed on the tooth and light cured for 60 seconds. The veneer is then polished and ready.

The process repeats for as many teeth as required.

dental office
Crowns are a good option if you have a badly damaged or decaying tooth.

What Are Crowns?

Crowns encase the entire tooth-- and are also referred to as caps-- because they sit on the top portion of the tooth. They are typically made out of ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, gold alloys, or base metal alloys. You and your dentist can discuss which type of crown is best for your situation-- as there are many depending factors-- including cost. These dental implants are used to cap a damaged or decaying tooth and used to improve the appearance and prevent further damage to the tooth.

Crowns require around 60-75% of the original tooth to be filed down in order for the cap to be attached properly. Your dentist will:

  • Remove enough of the original tooth as needed to properly fit the cap
  • They will then make an impression of the tooth and send off to the lab for creation and leave a temporary crown in place.
  • Once the impression returns, the dentist will place the permanent crown over your tooth and cement it in place.

person with a picture of a smile
Veneers and crowns are a good fix for a problem tooth. Depending on the issue, both will protect your teeth and keep them looking great.

Which One is Best for Me?

Both crowns and veneers are good choices for help your teeth look their best-- and the use of one over the other depends on what type of problem you’re trying to fix. Veneers are a good choice if you have some minor issues that are more cosmetic in nature. This would include stained teeth, cracks, or superficial misalignment. Although they perform basically the same function as crowns-- and cost around the same as well-- veneers are considered cosmetic and are typically not covered by insurance.

Crowns are preferred when there is significant damage already done to a tooth. These fix badly broken teeth, cover where a root canal has been performed, or damage has been done by grinding. Crowns can significantly help the appearance of your smile and prevent a damaged tooth from encountering further problems.

You and your dentist can discuss what your option are based on your situation-- both dental fixtures are good fixes to problems and can help you improve the health and appearance of your teeth.

No matter which type of dental restoration method you choose to go with, it is sure to help your teeth look better and prevent any further damage or decay. Both veneers and crowns are good choices to stop any more tooth damage, and depending on your needs, your dentist will help you decide which one is best for you. If you’d like to discuss your dental options, contact Dr. Elizabeth Wakim’s office and set up an appointment!