Dental veneers, crowns - which is right for you? If you’re trying to decide on the best option for you, our team can help you make an informed choice. Your smile makeover may be achieved with a crown or veneer, but we’ll need to examine your teeth, understand your goals and then recommend the option that we believe will help you reach your goal.
However, our guide below outlines virtually everything you’ll need to know about porcelain dental laminates and crowns.
What is a Dental Veener?
A dental veneer is a “shell” that is custom-made to fit over your teeth. These shells are often placed on the front teeth because they’re the most visible. Veneers are created using porcelain or a composite material, so they will look like your normal tooth without all of the imperfections.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Veneer?
Veneers hide the cosmetic imperfections that lead to cosmetic dentistry, such as:
- Yellowing of your teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Gaps in your teeth
Some of our patients have teeth that are too small, and the solution to small teeth is to place a veneer. Even if you have misshapen teeth, a veneer will work very well for you. If you have good dental hygiene, you’re likely a good candidate for this procedure.
If you have gum disease or a lot of cavities that make the tooth too weak for a veneer, we will likely recommend a crown. However, we may be able to fill in your cavities beforehand and then place the veneers.
How Veneers are Placed
If you’re a good candidate for veneers, we’ll then determine which type of veneers will work best for you:
- Composite: If you have mild cosmetic issues, a composite veneer can be made to match the color of your existing tooth and will work well.
- Porcelain: Aesthetic imperfections can be resolved with porcelain veneers. These custom-made veneers are popular because they look like your normal teeth but are in perfect condition.
- Non-prep: In some cases, a no-prep veneer may be an option, but the name is misleading. Some prep is still necessary, but the amount of prep is less than other options.
Once we examine your teeth and gums and find that you’re a great candidate for veneers, we’ll then take dental scans if you’re not getting a composite veneer. The impressions are sent to a lab where the custom veneer is made.
The lab can take a few weeks to fabricate the veneers. Then, if necessary, we’ll place temporary veneers on your teeth until your new ones come back from the lab. The veneers then need to be put in permanently, and this will require us to begin the placement procedure.
First, we’ll check to ensure that the veneers look good and are the right size and color for your teeth. If they look good, we’ll then shave off a small amount of your existing tooth’s enamel and then bond the veneer in place. We remove some of the enamel to create a texture to which the dental cement will easily adhere. Once we place the veneer and cement them in place, you can return to your regular routine right after.
Note: Before we cement it in place, you’ll have the option to share your opinion with our team if there’s something you don’t like about the veneer. Typically we use a wax up to show you how your teeth could look.
Benefits of Veneers
One study found that 53% of veneers lasted for 10+ years, so this is a form of cosmetic dentistry that provides long-lasting results. However, there are a lot of key benefits of veneers that make them a great choice when trying to restore your smile, including:
- Veneers protect the underlying tooth, preventing further damage to the tooth if that’s the reason for the veneer.
- Downtime after your veneer is cemented in place is minimal. Once the anesthetic has worn off, you can go about your normal routine.
- Maintaining your veneers is effortless. Brush and floss your teeth like normal, but be sure to use a soft-bristled brush on the veneer. Otherwise, maintain a good dental hygiene routine and be sure to come in for routine tooth cleanings to maximize the lifespan of the veneer.
You should be aware of a few disadvantages of veneers, too.
Veneers do have a few drawbacks that we’ll need to consider before deciding whether they’re a good choice for you. A few of the main disadvantages of veneers are:
- We will need to remove some of your natural tooth enamel, and this enamel will not grow back.
- Some of our patients are sensitive to hot or cold after getting veneers, so this is something to consider.
- Insurance often doesn’t cover the cost of a veneer because they’re seen as a form of cosmetic dentistry and not a “necessity.”
- Veneers can become dislodged or fall off, but with the proper care, they can last for over 10 years without an issue.
- In many cases, veneers cannot be reversed. Since we have to remove enamel for the veneer to fit properly, it is a long-term commitment with no option to reverse the procedure.
While veneers are strong, it’s important to follow some of the recommendations for taking care of them. You should avoid abrasive toothpaste, use a soft-bristled brush when brushing, floss at least once per day and avoid using your teeth to tear open objects, such as packages. You’ll also want to be cautious of overtly hard foods, such as nuts or ice, which can break the veneer if you’re not careful.
If we find that you’re not a good candidate for a veneer, we may recommend a dental crown.
What is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are a “cap” for your teeth. Think of a crown as a sort of hat that sits on top of your existing tooth structure. For example, if we remove the pulp of an infected tooth that needs a root canal, we’ll place a crown on the remaining tooth.
The crown will ensure that the existing tooth structure doesn’t weaken and will also protect the tooth from any further damage.
Much like a veneer, the crown is cemented in place and can last for over a decade or more with the proper care.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Dental Crown?
A dental crown may be the right option for you if you fall into one or more of the following categories:
- You have a tooth that is broken or worn down significantly, but it still can be saved if a crown is placed on it.
- You have a weak tooth that can crack, chip or break if you don’t place a crown on it.
- You had a root canal performed or a tooth needing a large filling and a crown would be a better option.
- You have a discolored or significantly misshapen tooth.
- You need to hold a dental bridge in place.
How are Dental Crowns Placed
Dental crowns often require the underlying tooth to be treated. For example, if you have severe decay and need a root canal, we will perform this treatment first and then place the crown on top.
If we fabricate the crown, we’ll ensure that it matches the shape of your normal tooth and the color.
We’ll then ensure that the crown fits and feels like your normal bite. Once we verify that the look and feel of the crown are perfect, we’ll cement it in place. The placing of the crown is a fast procedure, but the treatment prior may require one or more visits to complete.
Benefits of Crowns
Dental crowns can be made from numerous materials, and each has its own set of benefits. Beware low-cost options, they have a higher risk of chipping compared to other materials.
Our team can work with you to choose the material that is the best choice for your procedure.
Additional benefits of getting a dental crown include:
- Same-day options may be available
- Offers a permanent restoration
- Strengthens the tooth and protects it
- Designed to look and function like your natural tooth
- Custom-made options to match your existing tooth size and color
- Relieves pain and discomfort
Dental crowns are a great option for many people, especially if the integrity of the tooth is in question. However, there are some downsides to consider, too.
Every dental procedure has a risk of discomfort or disadvantages that you must consider. A few of the main disadvantages are:
- Dental crowns can be expensive, depending on the material chosen and the procedure necessary to restore the tooth
- Crowns can chip or loosen over time
- On rare occasions, a patient may be allergic to the crown material
Veneers vs crowns is a debate you’ll need to have with a dentist. It’s important to know that the two can both be used for cosmetic purposes, but crowns are often more popular if the tooth needs added strength rather than due to discoloration. If the reason you want a crown is for cosmetics, we may find that veneers will provide the best results.