Veneers vs. Crowns: A Comparison

Posted on: December 7, 2018

Dental Crowns

Sometimes, veneers and crowns can serve the same purpose. However, there are some dental problems that can only be corrected with a crown. There are other dental issues that are easily remedied with a veneer, and using a dental crown to fix such problems would be overkill.

Compare veneers vs. crowns to find the perfect dental restoration

So, how do you know which of the two types of restoration is right for you? By taking a close look at veneers vs. crowns.

1. Veneers

Dental veneers are wafer-thin, tooth-colored porcelain shells that are placed on the front surfaces of teeth. They are usually one millimeter thick, but there are veneers that are even thinner.

Veneers are custom-made to fit on a patient’s tooth. They are used to fix minor cosmetic problems like:

  • Severely stained or discolored teeth
  • Teeth that are slightly chipped or cracked
  • Teeth that are a little crooked
  • Small gaps between the teeth

Any problems more serious than the ones listed above should be fixed with an alternative treatment.

How they are placed

After a dentist administers anesthesia to a patient, they will remove a thin layer of enamel from the front-facing surface of the tooth. The amount of enamel that is removed is about the same thickness as the veneer itself.

The dentist then makes a mold of the teeth and sends it to the dental lab, where it is used to make the veneer. After the veneer has been made, it is bonded to the patient’s tooth. The entire process usually takes two procedures, although same-day veneers can be placed in a single dentist visit.

Benefits and drawbacks

Veneers are different from crowns, as detailed below:

  • They cover up minor imperfections on teeth, so a dentist only needs to trim a super-thin layer of the tooth
  • Veneers are placed on the front surface of the tooth, so there is no need to remove any enamel from the back of the tooth

One drawback of veneers is that they cannot be used to reinforce a weak tooth. As such, veneers are not meant to repair extensive damage in a tooth. Only crowns can do that.

2. Crowns

Think of a dental cap as a sheath that is custom-made to encase an entire tooth. It is usually twice as thick as a veneer. Caps are used to cover and strengthen teeth that are badly decayed or badly fractured.

They are also used to correct cosmetic faults like broken, gapped, uneven or crooked teeth.

How they are placed

This is how a dentist restores a tooth with a crown. First, the dentist numbs the tooth. They go on to remove a portion of the tooth’s enamel. With veneers, a dentist will only remove a thin layer of the enamel. With a crown, the dentist may remove up to 70 percent of the enamel

The dentist will then take an impression of the teeth and send the mold to a dental lab, where it will be used to create the crown. Once the crown has been made, the dentist will fit the crown over the prepared tooth.

The whole process takes two or three dental visits, but some dentists are able to place same-day crowns.

Benefits and drawbacks

Dental crowns are used to salvage badly damaged or malformed teeth. They are a strong, durable tooth restoration that can last a lifetime.

One drawback of dental crowns is that they need a large portion of the tooth to be filed away. That is why crowns should be placed only when absolutely necessary.

Veneers vs. crowns: How to choose

Both veneers and crowns are permanent tooth restorations, but crowns are more durable than veneers. That does not mean that you should use a crown to fix a tiny crack in an otherwise healthy tooth. Crowns should only be used when veneers just will not get the job done.

Do you have a tooth that needs repair or a touch-up? If you do, stop by one of our clinics and consult with a dentist.

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