The dental treatments of veneers and crowns share many similarities, and from a layperson’s perspective, they can even look the same. There are several important differences between these dental restorations, and we will explain them in this week’s blog. Your dentist can help you understand these differences and choose the treatment that is right for your unique situation.
The most notable difference between a veneer and a crown is the amount of tooth structure that each restoration covers. A veneer covers only the visible portion of a tooth. It wraps just over the biting edge and into the contacts (the areas you floss), but the majority of it covers the side of the tooth facing the cheeks and lips.
A crown covers the entire exposed portion of a tooth, covering all surfaces except the roots. Typically, a crown replaces the tooth’s entire layer of enamel and extends to the edge of the gums.
Most people may think of porcelain when they hear the terms veneer and crown. That is the only material from which both of these restorations can be made. They each have some versatility in materials.
Veneers, while most commonly made from porcelain, can also be custom-made in the dental office using composite resin. This tooth-colored filling material carries a few advantages over porcelain, and many dentists offer composite veneers as a cosmetic treatment option.
Dental crowns can be made from a wider variety of materials, including stainless steel (for baby teeth), gold and other metals, a combination of porcelain and metal, and all-porcelain. Dentistry now involves the use of a metal that looks like porcelain called zirconia.
The variety of materials available gives your dentist options to customize each restoration for the patient’s specific needs
In general, veneers are made for the front teeth. It is extremely rare to see a veneer on a back tooth. The reason for this is explained in the following section. Crowns are common all over the mouth, but they are most prevalent on the back teeth.
While crowns are necessary to correct a variety of dental problems, veneers are cosmetic in nature. For this reason, dentists only place veneers on teeth that are visible in the smile. A veneer covers the underlying tooth to create a new appearance.
Crowns restore and rebuild teeth that have suffered damage from significant decay, tooth fractures, and large fillings that are deteriorating. Crowns also protect and strengthen teeth that have had root canal treatments, which remove the nerve and blood supply from the center of the tooth. While crowns can make cosmetic changes to a tooth or teeth, their main purposes are structural.
Veneers cover the visible surface of the teeth and can accomplish beautiful cosmetic improvements in someone’s smile. There are limitations to the smile problems veneers can correct. For example, veneers cannot support a bridge to replace a missing tooth. Veneers can correct minor crowding or spacing between the teeth, but they cannot cover teeth with severe overlapping or large gaps. Veneers also do not change the bite between the upper and lower teeth.
Crowns cover the entire exposed portion of a tooth, so they can make changes that are more significant. Crowns do cover the biting surface, so your dentist can change the way the upper and lower teeth bite together with crowns. Sometimes this is necessary when the teeth have undergone drastic shortening or flattening and require treatment that restores them to the original length and shape.
A veneer requires the removal of some natural tooth structure but far less than a crown requires. This means that veneers are more conservative. However, it also means they are less retentive and can more easily de-bond (fall off the tooth).
Crowns require the removal of a significant amount of tooth structure. Many teeth with crowns will need root canal treatment in the future due to irreversible damage to the nerve inside. Crowns carry the risk of unwanted bite changes, tooth sensitivity, and new cavities at the edge where the crown meets the tooth.
More Questions about Veneers and Crowns? Call Rockland Dental Today! Call Rockland Dental Specialists today at (845) 259-2500 or contact us to schedule a consultation with our dental experts. We can answer any question you have about these dental treatments and assess your specific situation to provide you with guidance toward the best option for you.