What’s The Difference Between Porcelain Veneers And Dental Crowns?

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Dental technician constructing porcelain veneers for the patient

Did you know that your smile is one of the first things people notice about your appearance? That’s right – and your teeth can have a significant impact on people’s first impressions. Your smile can influence your career, relationships, and social life. It is no surprise that 45% of people wish that they could improve their teeth’ appearance.

If you are unsatisfied with the color, shape, or alignment of your teeth, there are a couple of treatment options that can change the look of your smile, two of which are porcelain veneers and dental crowns.

Now, there is a lot of debate regarding veneers versus crowns – and which is the better option. These dental procedures can change and improve the look of your smile and help you gain the confidence to show off all of your pearly whites. They may also be used for restoration purposes to cover damaged teeth.

But which type of smile correction treatment is the best option for you, specifically?

To figure that out, you must understand the differences between veneers versus crowns.

Let’s dive in.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers were first used in the late 1920s for no other reason than cosmetic coverups for actors! These veneers were temporarily attached to the front of the person’s teeth to change their appearance for film shoots. Eventually, these veneers were used for a more permanent solution to cover up imperfections, such as discoloration, chips, or non-uniform shapes.

Materials

Veneers are made of porcelain or composite resin material that is extremely strong and durable. This material mimics the enamel of the teeth to prevent chipping and breaking. This material does not stain easily, making porcelain an excellent option for avid coffee or red wine drinkers. However, since the material is fragile, it can crack and may need to be replaced over time.

Close-up of a Porcelain Teeth

The color of veneers can also be matched to the other teeth if only a few are covered. This helps to create a truly natural, seamless look.

Process

Porcelain veneers are placed in front of the tooth and are attached with a solid bonding material. Dentists will typically remove a small portion of the tooth’s enamel on the front and side to make room for the veneer covering. A mold is then made around the tooth, and the veneer is custom shaped to fit perfectly for that person.

It may take several days to create these customized veneers. A temporary veneer covering is typically given to patients in the meantime. Once the permanent veneers are ready, they are attached to material bonding hardened with a special light. The veneers may then be polished and smoothed to create a natural appearance that fits with the rest of the person’s smile.

Cost

The price of porcelain or resin veneers can be relatively high – the average cost is between $925 to $2,000 per tooth. Further, if the veneers are used only for cosmetic reasons, insurance may not cover any of the costs. If you want to change your smile completely, you can expect to pay a pretty penny. The good news is many dentists offer financing options to make this option more affordable.

Upkeep

Porcelain veneers can be treated just like regular teeth – meaning that you can (and should) brush/floss them every day. Veneers can last 15-25 years or longer if they are taken care of properly, but they may chip, break, or detach under extreme pressure. Cavities or gum disease may form around veneers. It is essential to keep up with regular appointments and practice good dental hygiene to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a type of dental restoration that fits over the entire tooth – not just the front, like veneers. This creates a thicker protective coating over the actual tooth, so it may be used to correct damage or stop tooth decay.

Dental crown installation process, isolated on white

Since the year 200 AD, dental crowns have been used when materials like metal and gold were used to cover up broken teeth. In the late 1800s, dentists started to use ceramic to create more natural-looking crowns that could match the other teeth’ color and shape.

Materials

Dental crowns can be made from many materials, including gold, metal coated with porcelain, and all-porcelain

Process

First, part of the original tooth is shaped so that the crown can cover the tooth entirely. Then an initial impression is taken of the tooth with a mold or digital scanner. The dentist uses this impression to create a customized crown shape that will fit perfectly and match the rest of the surrounding teeth.

A temporary crown is attached to protect the tooth after it has been trimmed down. Once the permanent crown is ready, it is connected with a strong adhesive and adjusted as needed until it fits firmly and comfortably.

In some cases, additional dental work may be required before a crown can be placed. Standard procedures would be a root canal or core buildup filling, which replaces structure so that the crown can be securely attached.

Cost

Since dental crowns involve similar steps and materials as a veneer, the cost is generally the same. However, crowns are more commonly covered by dental insurance plans if they are considered to be functional due to tooth damage or disease – rather than just cosmetic.

Again, many dentists offer financing options to help their patients afford crowns.

Upkeep

Like natural teeth, dental crowns should be cared for with regular flossing and brushing to prevent plaque buildup or damage. It is vital to keep up with regular dental exams and X-rays to monitor the tooth’s health beneath the crown.

Which One Should You Choose?

Two women friends laughing with a perfect white teeth

There are numerous pros and cons to veneers and dental crowns. Both porcelain veneers and dental crowns can be used to create a more attractive and healthier smile – but which one is the best choice for you?

If you are stuck between choosing veneers versus crowns, consider some of these factors to make a more informed decision.

Purpose

If you are looking for a cosmetic fix to enhance your teeth’ shape, size, or color, then veneers are your best option if the teeth otherwise have no damage, decay, or prior fillings. Porcelain veneers can be applied to the front of your existing teeth to improve the appearance, but they are not used to repair severe damage.

If you have extensive discoloration, chipping, or decay in your teeth, it is better to have dental crowns applied. Dental crowns require more tooth preparation, but they will protect your original teeth completely and cover up any damage from all angles.

Current Mouth Health

Again, crowns are designed to treat damaged teeth and provide protection. Veneers are merely for cosmetic coverups. If you are prone to dental issues such as decay or weak enamel, your dentist may suggest dental crowns as an option.

There are additional factors to consider regarding your dental health as a whole. For instance, if you clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night, it can damage both veneers and dental crowns. This can lead them to crack, break, or detach. In this case, it may be best to wear a retainer or look into additional treatment options as recommended by your dentist.

45% of people wish that they could improve their teeth’ appearance

Appearance

While both veneers and dental crowns are custom-made to fit each person, these dental restorations can have slightly different appearances.

beautiful young woman with great smile

For instance, you may have heard of the term “chicklet teeth.” Or, you may have noticed this on someone whose veneers are noticeably more extensive and brighter than a natural tooth. To avoid this from happening, you must work with a dentist who will create a natural appearance by adjusting the veneers’ color, shape, and size.

While dental crowns typically look more natural, there may be some noticeable discoloration between the natural tooth and the crown caused by the interior metal alloy if metal-based crowns are used.

Remember, it may take time to get used to new dental restorations, whether they are crowns or veneers. Some patients have also experienced added sensitivity around veneers and crowns, especially if they are not sealed tightly. Pay attention to any discomfort or abnormalities, and tell your dentist right away so they can be fixed for a better fit.

Conclusion

Everyone deserves to feel confident showing off their smile – and getting veneers or dental crowns can help you achieve this. However, it is ultimately up to you and your dentist to see which option is best for you.

Keep in mind; you may not have to pick one or the other. Depending on the health of your teeth or desired outcome, you can use a combination of veneers and crowns to build that perfect smile of your dreams.

If you have any questions regarding these dental procedures and want to discuss the use of veneers versus crowns, please reach out to our team at Jones & Copeland Smiles. You can get connected with one of our dental experts right away through our live chat and schedule an appointment for our Flowery Branch office.

We want to help you achieve that gorgeous, healthy smile you have always wanted. Get in touch today to get started!


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