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The main difference between a crown and a veneer is that a veneer typically only covers the front portion of a tooth. A crown covers the entire tooth.
A veneer is typically the best option for people looking to make cosmetic changes. They are only placed on anterior (front) teeth and sometimes the premolars, but not the molars.
Dental crowns are a type of dental restoration used to treat both front and back teeth. They help restore a tooth when it is compromised by tooth decay or trauma. Dentists also use crowns in the following cases:
Read on for a more in-depth comparison of veneers and crowns.
Veneers are a popular cosmetic dental treatment used to correct tooth imperfections. These imperfections include:
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that is permanently bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its shade and shape.
People opt for veneers when they want to make a dramatic transformation to a front tooth that treatment like dental bonding can't correct.
Porcelain veneers can be costly depending on the number of veneers needed and the dentist treating you. People will often use dental bonding as a stepping stone before investing in veneers, but the long-term benefits of veneers are undeniable.
Dental crowns are permanent, full-coverage restorations for teeth that need more support than a traditional filling.
Dental crowns have several advantages over fillings. They are durable, custom-made restorations that help support weakened teeth.
Crowns are recommended for people who have:
Crowns come in various types of materials. The type needed depends on the location of the tooth and your budget. Most people opt for porcelain or zirconia crowns in cosmetic areas because they look more natural.
For teeth that need more support for chewing and biting, options include porcelain fused to metal, all-metal crowns, and all-ceramic crowns.
Veneers and dental crowns have similar procedure steps, but key differences exist. Both require tooth reshaping and enamel removal to make room for the new restorations.
Some veneers (like Lumineers) require minimal tooth removal, while others require around 1 mm. Crowns typically require significant tooth removal on all sides to make space for the restoration. Depending on the material, they require around 1-2.5 mm of tooth removal.
Veneers typically take a few visits, including preparation, impressions, and permanent cementation.
Some dental offices offer single-day veneers using CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics). CEREC is an advanced 3-D dental technology that creates custom porcelain veneers in one day, eliminating the need for multiple visits and temporary veneers.
A composite resin veneer can typically be done chairside by your dentist. The dentist will sculpt composite material to cover the front part of your tooth to alter its shape and size.
The steps of a porcelain veneer process typically include:
Your dentist will discuss the process of getting veneers, including the fees. They will also review any necessary intraoral photographs and dental radiographs. A full examination will ensure you are a proper candidate for veneers.
You and your dentist will select the appropriate shade for your veneer(s). The most important part is matching your adjacent teeth so your veneer blends perfectly.
During the procedure, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel to create space for your new veneer. They will administer a local anesthetic to get you numb and comfortable during the visit.
Your dentist will take a traditional putty impression to create a mold of your teeth. They will then send these to the laboratory to create your veneer. If your dentist has an intraoral scanner, they will scan your teeth instead.
Your dentist will create a temporary veneer, typically chairside, so you have a restoration to wear until the permanent veneer is fabricated. As the name suggests, they are designed to be used for a short time and are not as strong as a permanent veneer.
Once your porcelain veneer is ready from the lab, your dentist will check the fit and make necessary adjustments. Then, they will permanently bond your veneer to your natural tooth, and you can be on your way with your new smile.
The dental crown process typically requires a few visits for the examination, tooth preparation and impressions, and permanent cementation. Some offices offer CEREC technology so crowns can be fabricated in a single dental visit, eliminating the need for multiple visits.
The typical process for dental crowns includes:
Your dentist will evaluate the tooth that needs a dental crown and its existing gum and bone health. If tooth decay extends into the tooth's pulp, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment.
Your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. The tooth is then reshaped by removing enamel and dentin to make room for the crown.
Most crowns require a significant portion of the natural tooth to be removed. If a large portion of your tooth is missing, your dentist may use a dental filling material to create a “core buildup” to support the crown.
Your dentist will use a putty impression to create a mold of your teeth so that the crown can be made. Some offer digital scanners instead of traditional impressions.
Impressioning determines your bite and the margins of the crown. This ensures the custom crown will fit like a glove.
While your crown is being fabricated in a dental lab, your dentist will make a temporary crown to cover and protect your newly prepared tooth. They are typically made from acrylic or resin.
When your crown is ready, your dentist will check the fit and bite of your restoration and make any necessary adjustments. If acceptable, they will permanently cement the crown in place.
Veneers and crowns both have advantages and disadvantages. It’s essential to know which one is most suitable for your situation.
Both require the same care, which involves:
Veneers are an excellent cosmetic dental treatment for people looking for a dramatic smile makeover. Dentists usually recommend them for intact front teeth.
The most common reasons people choose a veneer are to correct the following dental issues:
Some people need orthodontics like Invisalign before getting veneers. A veneer cannot change a tooth’s position or the position of the gums by itself.
A dental crown is an excellent choice if a large piece of tooth structure is missing and requires more support. This usually occurs after a large filling, a tooth fracture, or a root canal.
If a tooth is severely worn down, a crown can help restore the function and esthetics of the natural tooth.
Dentists may recommend crowns for your front teeth in the event of the following cases:
Veneers can cost between $925 and $2,500 (per tooth). Crowns can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 per tooth.
Both veneers and crowns can be costly without dental insurance. Veneer fees will vary based on the following factors:
Porcelain veneers are more costly than composite or snap-on veneers.
Dental crowns cost will range based on several factors:
Dental insurance will typically not cover veneers because it is considered cosmetic and elective. Most dental offices will offer an in-house discount savings plan or payment plan.
Insurance will traditionally cover a portion of a dental crown, and you will be responsible for the remainder, including your deductible. If a crown is being used solely for cosmetic purposes, there is a chance dental insurance will not cover it.
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