If you need to restore or enhance an unsightly tooth, there are many options available today in modern dentistry. Two of the most popular options are dental crowns and dental veneers. While both veneers and crowns can achieve excellent, long-term results, there are some key differences that can make one option better than the other for each patient.
What is a Veneer?
A veneer is typically a wafer-thin shell of porcelain that is bonded to the front of a tooth. The porcelain is color-matched to your natural teeth. Veneers are strong but also brittle in some ways. They are most often used as a cosmetic treatment on the front, visible teeth of your smile. Veneers can cover up stains, chips and gaps within your smile, but they do not actually treat or fix the dental issues underneath.
What is a Crown?
Unlike a veneer, a dental crown encases all surfaces of a tooth. It can be made of metal, porcelain or a combination of both. It is about double the thickness of a veneer, which makes it more durable and resistant to cracking or chipping. A crown is most often used restoratively, to help replace missing tooth with a dental implant or to strengthen a tooth that has suffered severe damage or disease.
Tooth Prep Differences
One of the key distinctions between a veneer and crown is how they are placed, or what preparations need to be done to the affected tooth beforehand. In both cases, removal of natural tooth structure is necessary. Veneers are considered more conservative since less of the tooth needs to be removed, which is typically just a thin layer of enamel. A crown, on the other hand, can require between 60% and 75% of the existing visible tooth to be trimmed away before it can be placed.
Which One is Right For Me?
A dentist can best guide you into which solution is best for you. In most cases, a dentist will address the following questions in order to determine your candidacy for either a veneer or crown:
- Is your concern primarily cosmetic or functional in nature?
- Is the tooth diseased, badly damaged or decayed?
- Are your aesthetic issues minor or major?
- Is the tooth in the front or back of your mouth?
- Is the inner portion of the tooth compromised?
- Are the edges of the tooth damaged (from grinding, etc)?
- Will your insurance cover a crown but not a veneer?
At the office of Dr. Wayne Suway, we offer both crowns and veneers. We have a keen understanding about which solution is best for each patient. Please schedule your consult today and take a step towards a more confident smile!