As a cosmetic dentist, I have many conversations with my patients on how to best improve their smile. I noticed there’s a lot of confusion in regards to the differences between dental crowns versus veneers. People often wonder which one looks better and which option is better. When performing smile makeovers we often use a combination of both crowns and veneers depending on what each individual tooth requires. Both can be crafted to look highly esthetic. Both veneers and crowns are metal free, they are made entirely from ceramics (aka porcelain).
Porcelain Veneers are a terrific option to improve esthetics of stained, discolored, and poorly shaped teeth. However, dental crowns are often used to repair badly broken down teeth. A veneer will mostly cover the front (facial) surface and the edge (incisal) of the tooth leaving the back (lingual) portion of the tooth untouched. This is less invasive than a crown but will not make an already weakened tooth stronger. Hence, veneers are best for teeth that aren’t damaged but mostly need cosmetic improvements. Teeth treated with root canals usually require a crown for strength.
A crown completely surrounds the tooth. The advantage of a crown is that it actually makes a weakened tooth stronger and less likely to fracture. I recommend that all root canal teeth are better off with a crown rather than a veneer since they’re at a higher risk of breaking.
Many people seek veneers because their front teeth have become too short from grinding their teeth at night. These patients are in danger of fracturing their veneers in short order. Without an appliance to protect their veneers they may be even worse off than before if their veneer(s) break. At Smile Arts of NY we recommend patients who wore down their teeth from grinding to first get used to wearing a well fitting custom night guard before investing in cosmetic dental treatment.
Sometimes when gums are uneven, a dental laser can be used to lift or shape the gums for good esthetics. Crowns or veneers are then fabricated to even out the smile.
The patient above did not like the shape and color of her front two crowns. Dr Peter Mann made her gums appear more even with a laser. The old crowns were removed. A week later, two new porcelain crowns were cemented. A night guard was also made for the patient to protect all the teeth, specially our new crowns.
It’s imperative that dental work such as crowns, veneers, and implants are monitored by a dentist every 6 months. It’s much easier to prevent problems with routine exam and cleanings. In the long run it’s much cheaper and a worthwhile investment to stay on top of these visits.