Posted 16th January 2019

Veneers vs. Crowns – What’s the Difference?

Dentist explaining teeth model to male patient at clinic

Although they both have the same cosmetic dentistry results, which procedure is right for me?

If you’re looking to hide significant damage to your teeth, you may need to consider dental crowns over veneers. It is all about the amount of tooth structure required when deciding which restoration is the most suitable, but if you’re torn between crowns or veneers – we can help.

Unsure of the difference? In brief, a dental crown covers the whole surface area of the tooth, whereas the veneer only covers the front surface. Both improve the overall appearance of teeth and can be a truly life-changing cosmetic procedure when done properly.

So, let’s dive into today’s post!

What are dental crowns?

Typically, a dental crown is 2mm thick and encases the whole tooth, working as a “cap”. Dental crowns can be used to rebuild the strength of broken or decayed teeth, to restore the natural shape or size or generally just to improve appearances.

Why dental crowns?

Dental crowns are durable making them ideal if you’re prone to heavy grinding or if your teeth are severely broken down. They provide a natural finish to your teeth and can be created to match the shape and colour of the rest of your teeth for a truly natural smile. A dental crown can be applied to improve the appearance of your teeth, where there is not enough tooth structure to support a veneer – but still creating the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

In some cases, you may require a dental crown where your tooth has become weak from wear and tear, decay or breakage. They’re also suitable to cover and offer support to a damaged tooth where the majority of the tooth has gone, although typically a veneer would be used in such cases.

What type of dental crowns are available?

Permanent dental crowns can be made from a wide range of materials, but are most commonly made from stainless steel, gold, platinum, ceramic or a combination of porcelain and metal. In some cases, you could opt for resin dental crowns which are typically less expensive but are also less long-lasting.

The material of your dental crown may depend on whether you’re having temporary or permanent crowns fitted. Usually, temporary crowns will be made using acrylic-based materials or stainless steel.

How does the process work?

An X-Ray will be taken to examine the health of your teeth. The cosmetic dentist will then numb your mouth and file your tooth, ready for a mould to be taken. Once a mould is created – you will be provided with a temporary crown. This usually occurs in your first appointment. Once the temporary crown has been removed, your permanent crown will be cemented – ultimately strengthening your teeth – and the process is quick, easy and effective.

Dental Veneers: Porcelain Veneer installation Procedure. 3D illustration

What are porcelain veneers for?

Have your teeth become discoloured or chipped? If so, a veneer is perfect for you! A porcelain veneer allows you to disguise any irregularities you may have. Whether your teeth are crooked, gapped or protruding – a porcelain veneer enhances self-confidence instantly. The purpose of a veneer is similar to that of dental crowns; however, the processes are somewhat different in that very little enamel is filed in preparation for a veneer.

How do porcelain veneers differ from crowns?

If you’ve been hoping to change the appearance of your teeth, you may have come across a number of options, two of the most popular being dental veneers and crowns. Both of these approaches can prove extremely effective in enhancing your smile and can also help to improve speech and reduce any discomfort while eating.

A porcelain veneer covers the front surface of the tooth only and is usually wafer-thin. When compared to dental crowns, a veneer ensures there is only a slight adjustment to the natural tooth rather than a substantial reduction in enamel. Both cosmetic procedures use the same porcelain, however, only a thin layer of porcelain is applied over the tooth when a veneer is created, whereas the whole tooth is covered for a crown.

How do I get veneers?

Dental veneers are most commonly made from porcelain, though many cosmetic dentists also offer composite resin as another option. Porcelain is an extremely sturdy ceramic material that can be shaped and coloured in great detail to look like a natural tooth. You can choose to apply veneers to as many of your teeth as you wish, and the procedure for doing so is extremely straightforward.

After an in-depth consultation with a dentist of your choice, you usually only need to arrange two appointments to complete the process. The first appointment is to allow the dentist to take a mould of your natural teeth, to work out where the veneers will fit and what they should look like. Usually, a small amount of enamel will need to be removed from the teeth that are to be treated so that the new veneers will not stand out from the rest of your smile. The next appointment usually takes place less than two weeks after the first, and this is where the finished veneers will be applied to your teeth with dental cement.

What do veneers look like?

Veneers are thin but sturdy “shells” that are applied to the front of your teeth. This means they work best for teeth that are slightly misshapen, uneven, chipped or severely stained in a manner that cannot be rectified through whitening or other treatments. Veneers cannot structurally replace whole teeth, though they are extremely durable and last between ten and fifteen years on average. They are also very easy for cosmetic dentists to repair if any become chipped.

 

3 tooth crowns placement over 3 implants - concept. 3D illustration of human teeth and dentures

How do I get dental crowns?

Dental crowns are also usually made of ceramic material that can be made to look exactly like natural teeth, though the procedure for their application is a little more involved. The health and integrity of your existing teeth first need to be determined using an X-ray, then the teeth that are to have crowns applied are filed down. An amount of the original material is left to serve as an “anchor”. This will be protected with a temporary crown until your next appointment when you’ll have your brand-new crown affixed in place.

What do crowns look like?

Dental Crowns are best for more severely damaged or decayed teeth, as you need a good amount of natural material left to support veneers. A crown encases the whole tooth, with the ceramic material usually measuring 2mm thick – so they defend well against tooth grinding. They look equally as natural as a veneer.

 

Veneers vs. crowns

When it comes to choosing between veneers and crowns, it really depends on the type of condition your teeth are in, and what sort of results you’re looking to gain.

As a general rule, crowns are much more regularly used in people who have severe fillings, cracked or worn teeth or root canals. For those looking more for cosmetic improvements, veneers are more popular as a less invasive treatment.

Which are best for front teeth?

The key difference between crowns and veneers is that crowns are thicker, covering the entire tooth whereas veneers are thinner and are designed to just cover the front of the tooth – so when it comes to which is best for front teeth, it really depends on the severity of the tooth condition. For example, if you have cracked your front tooth, it may be advised that you get a crown to cover the tooth, whereas something more minor such as severe staining may only require a veneer to get your smile looking as good as new again.

It is always advised to ask your dentist or a dental cosmetic specialist what treatment will work best for you. No matter what your cosmetic dental issues are, Harley Street Smile Clinic provides a variety of procedures that are suitable for rectifying any defects and irregularities with your teeth!

Why not request a free cosmetic dentistry e-consultation today!

 

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