Veneers vs. Crowns: Which Are Best For Me?

woman smiling

When you smile, no one should suspect that you have had dental work done. Whether you have porcelain crowns or veneers, what people should comment on is your new stunning smile. Though they may notice something about you is different, your renewed self-confidence will be what shines the most.

Dealing with a smile you hate is something no one should have to endure. To fix a not-so-straight smile, dentists have turned to crowns and veneers as a way to address missing teeth. While these two restorative dental techniques produce very similar results, they are fundamentally different. You and your dentist will consider the following factors when choosing the ideal restoration for your smile.

What is the Difference Between Veneers and Crowns?

How much natural tooth structure needs to be replaced is the biggest differentiator when you’re considering whether to go with veneers and crowns. Porcelain crowns replace the exterior portion of a tooth and create a natural appearance. Just as a contact lens adheres to the eye, a veneer bonds to the tooth’s outer surface and essentially replaces tooth surface enamel. For a porcelain crown to be placed, typically at least 2 mm of original tooth structure thickness is needed.

Pros and Cons of Crowns

Crowns are an often-recommended treatment when tooth decay has wrecked most of the original tooth, the tooth has been damaged or in cases of severe enamel loss. They are also an option for people who have ground and clenched their teeth to the extent that most of the original tooth is lost.

Dentists are artists and can sculpt porcelain crowns to replicate the appearance of natural tooth enamel. Crowns are strong and resilient and can be an excellent solution for damaged teeth since they essentially replace an entire tooth, down to the gum. The end result can look even better than your original tooth. Maintenance is simple and requires no more or less brushing and flossing than your real teeth.

One con to porcelain crowns is that they need lab time to be created. The amount of time will vary, so expect to be fitted with a temporary crown until your permanent one is ready.

Another issue with crowns is that some patients report extra sensitivity to temperature. Because crowns don’t have natural teeth’s flexibility, people who opt for crowns over veneers may need to avoid certain foods and drinks. Those who grind their teeth may need to wear a mouth guard at night to protect their crowns from unnecessary pressure.

Pros and Cons of Veneers

Porcelain veneers are an excellent solution for many visual imperfections: color, shape, gaps, fractured teeth, and some minor bite-related problems. Veneers may also be an option for superficial stains that don’t respond to bleaching.

Veneers will not stain and can be maintained with regular brushing and flossing. The best part about veneers is that they can last from five years, on average, to 20 years depending on how well they are taken care of.

Much like porcelain crowns, a disadvantage to veneers is the time it takes to get them. Lab technicians must create the veneers, so you may need to wait up to eight weeks before your dental professional will apply them.

Another thing to note about veneers is that they have the ability to chip under pressure, so be sure to avoid using your new veneers to rip open packages or bite your nails. Taking precautionary measures against eating tough foods is a smart move.

What’s Next?

Whenever you’re considering major dental work, you’ll first need to schedule a consultation with your cosmetic dentist to determine the appropriate work. When he or she examines your teeth, the answer to whether a veneer or a crown is the best option may be obvious. In other situations, you might need to discuss your options and express your concerns so you both have all the facts before you proceed from t