Veneers vs. Crowns — Which Option Is Right For You?

Veneers and dental crowns are both used as a way of improving the appearance of your teeth. Each of these, created to match the color of your teeth (or to the color you desire), help with discoloration, gaps, chips, and cracks in your teeth. The main difference between each is that a veneer covers only the front of your tooth while a crown covers the entire tooth. Which option is right for you?

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are extremely thin shells, usually made out of porcelain, that are bonded to the front surface of your teeth. Veneers are much less invasive, and usually less expensive, than dental crowns. Dental veneers involve fixing a thin covering over the front of your teeth. Veneer application involves making a thin covering (about 1 mm) over the front of your tooth, which can be done in one appointment, while dental crowns commonly require multiple appointments.

  1. Tooth impression creation. Your dentist creates a tooth impression with a digital scanner or using a mold for the veneer.
  2. Temporary veneer placement. Depending on how much your tooth was trimmed, you may have a temporary veneer placed on the tooth until the new one is ready.
  3. Permanent veneer placement. When ready, the permanent veneer replaces the temporary one and is bonded to the tooth.
  4. Aftercare. Care for your veneers the same way you take care of your normal teeth (brushing and flossing twice daily). If you clench/grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend a night guard to protect your teeth.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” placed over your tooth’s entire visible surface. Typically, 2 mm in thickness, crowns are a much more involved procedure than a dental veneer.

  1. Impression and preparation. Impressions of your mouth are taken. Any decay is removed from the tooth and some tooth enamel is removed to make room for the crown.
  2. Temporary crown placement. Unless your dentist office offers same-day crowns, a temporary crown is placed until a permanent crown is ready. Temporary crowns are essential in acting as a barrier, protecting the exposed area of the tooth where enamel has been removed.
  3. Permanent crown application. Permanent crowns take a couple of weeks to complete. When ready, the permanent crown is placed on your tooth.

Summary

Dental veneers and dental crowns are both used for cosmetic purposes—to resolve chips, stains, discoloration, or crooked teeth. The main difference between the two is that dental crowns cover the entire tooth surface where veneers only cover the front portion of the tooth. Crowns (2 mm) are much thicker than veneers (1 mm). Crowns provide additional support to damaged teeth where veneers do not. However, veneers are a much less invasive procedure and require less removal of the original tooth structure.  It’s always best to talk with your dentist about which option is best for your oral health.

Veneers and crowns are both a great solution for patients looking to get a white, straight smile that looks and feels natural. If you’re interested, but unsure which option is right for you, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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