Veneers and dental crowns are both commonly used for restorations and cosmetic dentistry, but they have different applications and require very different procedures. In general, veneers are used more often for cosmetic issues while dental crowns are reserved for restorations, though there are some exceptions.
Veneers and How They Work
Veneers are usually made of porcelain, and are very thin—no thicker than a fingernail. Though porcelain is delicate, once it is affixed to your teeth, it is strong and durable. It can also be exactly color matched to your other teeth. Porcelain is translucent, like enamel, allowing light to pass through the veneer and reflect off the tooth beneath. This gives your treated tooth the same light-reflecting qualities as enamel.
Placing a veneer is relatively simple and much less invasive than placing a dental crown. A very thin layer of enamel is removed to make room for the veneer, then it is set permanently in place with a special adhesive. If you have veneers, be sure to tell your dental hygienist. You should be careful not to bite on hard objects, as this can chip the veneers, and see your dentist regularly to monitor for decay under the veneers or along the edges.
When is a Dental Crown a Better Option?
Dental crowns were used much more frequently in cosmetic dentistry before veneers increased in popularity. Crowns require a more invasive procedure, and so are now usually reserved for restorations rather than cosmetic issues.
Dental crowns require the tooth underneath to be significantly reshaped to make room. The crown is then placed over the tooth and cemented in place. The most common reasons dental crowns are used include:
- Severe decay
- Tooth is broken off
- Tooth is cracked, often due to large or multiple fillings
- Tooth has been treated with root canal therapy
Crowns can be made of tooth-colored resin, porcelain, metal, or metal bonded with porcelain. You and your dentist can decide which type of filling is best based on where the tooth is located and your personal preferences.
Discuss you treatment options by calling our office today!