Veneers vs. Crowns: Which Option is Right for You?

Are you considering a smile makeover? Are any of your front teeth broken, missing, or stained? Depending on if it’s your entire tooth or if you have healthy natural teeth, and whether or not it involves front teeth, you may have the choice between a dental crown or porcelain dental veneers

Both crowns and veneers play specific roles. Our Camas dentist is here to help you understand the difference between each and how selecting the best one can enhance your smile for the better. 

Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crown

Crowns vs. Veneers is a longstanding debate. Each procedure serves different purposes, and each one changes the appearance of your existing teeth. Structurally, veneers cover the front tooth surface while leaving the rest of the original tooth intact. A crown procedure can also change the way teeth look. The main difference is that crowns are used when there is significant damage (such as wear) or when restorations such as a large filling is not appropriate. 

Both crowns and veneers can give you a whiter, straighter smile. But since veneers cover several teeth at a time and crowns are only used on specific teeth, one is best for cosmetic treatments while the other is reserved for restorative treatment. Typically, our cosmetic dentist will match your crown to that of the teeth on either side of it. When you want to change how a tooth looks, you’ll usually need to address multiple teeth altogether. 

In short, crowns serve a restorative purpose, while veneers are used for cosmetic reasons. However, they’re both made out of the same attractive, durable porcelain material. 

Dental Veneer Illustration
Dental Crown Illustration

Uses for Porcelain Veneers

Deciding between veneers vs. crowns is easy when your natural tooth is healthy, and all you want to do is change its appearance. Porcelain veneers are strictly cosmetic in nature. We can use cosmetic veneers to cover stains, mildly chipped teeth, slight gaps in your front teeth, and more. 

Cosmetic veneers only cover the front surface of your teeth. Usually, they’re installed in sets of 6-8, depending on how wide your smile is. One exception is when same-day composite veneers are used, and most dentist’s offices will only place one or two of those at most.

When you don’t need a crown but you want to change how your tooth structure looks, veneers are your best choice. You can select exactly how you want them to look, down to the shade, shape, and size. 

Since veneer’s cost is not usually covered by dental insurance, be sure to ask about flexible payment plan options! The cost of your veneers can vary since some people need more veneers than others. 

Advantages of Dental Crowns

A dental crown is usually covered by dental insurance since it protects the tooth underneath from additional damage. Our cosmetic dentist also uses dental crowns on top of dental implants or to protect the functional tooth surface after a root canal. 

If your existing tooth has a decayed part that cannot be filled (due to the size), as a general rule, you will want to cover it with a crown. Crowns provide a thin layer of porcelain or a porcelain fused to metal shell around the tooth, offering both protection and enhanced appearance. Unlike a veneer, crowns serve a twofold purpose. They enhance your smile while protecting your mouth against further tooth breakage. 

Since crowns are usually covered by insurance, our treatment coordinators will break down your benefits schedule to estimate any fees involved. Financing is also available. 

Procedure for Veneers vs. Crowns

The treatment process for veneers and crowns is almost identical. But since one is for cosmetic purposes and the other is for damaged teeth or dental implants, the amount of natural tooth structure that’s involved will differ. 

Usually, the crowns and veneers process is spaced over two visits. We will need to numb and prep your original tooth to make room for the restoration. Since a crown covers your whole tooth, a small amount of tooth enamel needs to be reduced around the entire tooth. On the other hand, dental veneers are more like an artificial fingernail that a dentist uses to change the appearance of one tooth. Most cosmetic dentistry veneers require minimal enamel reduction on the front of the tooth or no prep in certain cases. 

After your teeth are prepped, an impression is made and sent to the lab. There, your veneer or crown material is shaped to fit your tooth. You’ll be wearing a temporary crown or veneer in the meantime to protect your tooth enamel. 

About two weeks later, you’ll come back to the office to have your dental crowns or veneers bonded in place. If you’re getting a crown to place on top of dental implants or teeth with root canals, an X-ray and a couple of extra steps will also be required. 

We’ll also work with your dental insurance to minimize any fees related to caring for your smile. 

Can Crowns and Veneers be Combined?

Is it possible to get a crown on one tooth and veneers on the others? Yes. This is a great option if you want to improve your smile, but one tooth is decayed or broken. Since you cannot place a veneer on a significantly damaged tooth, a crown is your only option. Being that we use tooth-colored porcelain to repair your broken tooth, we can have the veneers crafted from the same shade of porcelain so that everything matches. For best results, you will want to have all of the teeth in your smile zone treated at the same time. 

Reserve a Consultation

Are you trying to decide between crowns vs. veneers? Our Camas cosmetic dentists will discuss how veneers and crowns can help enhance the appearance of your front teeth or repair a damaged tooth. We recommend veneers for healthy smiles when you want to change the way your teeth look (what a porcelain veneer is best at) and crowns when there is structural damage. 

Contact Radiance Dental today to reserve an appointment. 

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