Teeth are one of the essential parts of our body, helping us to chew, talk, structure our mouths, and to make our smiles look perfect. However, they may suffer from injuries, infections, and other issues caused by poor oral hygiene.
This article addresses two procedures to correct these dental issues: dental crowns and dental veneers. But which one should you choose and when?
If you’re weighing the options considering dental crown vs. veneer, then this article contains everything that you need to know to make a sound decision.
What is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are like helmets or ‘caps’ for damaged teeth. These cover the entire tooth to give a more natural look, and it seals the root well enough to protect it from any gum infection or damage. You can get them for the teeth at the front of your jaw or for the molars.
You can choose various dental crowns, from porcelain, ceramic, zirconia, metal, composite resin, or a combination of materials. The cost and time required for a crown will depend on your chosen material and how damaged your tooth is.
When getting crowns, you need to consider several factors like the total cost, the strength and durability, and how long the entire procedure will take. You’ll also need time to get used to the crown as you need to undergo surgical procedures to set it.
How to Get a Dental Crown
You need to consult a cosmetic dentist when you feel like your teeth are weak, worn down a lot, have large cavities, or have cracked due to an accident or excess pressure. Based on the condition of your teeth, they may suggest you get a crown. You will also need a crown if you have to undergo a root canal on a tooth.
You can get the usual crown that takes several days in the lab, the same-day crown, or the on-lay crown. The on-lay crown covers only a portion of the affected tooth.
You can get a same-day crown in a matter of hours, but it is a technology that only a few dentists have. But for now, let’s see the process to get the regular dental crown.
The dentist will examine the affected tooth using x-rays and other methods to see the damage and check the gum’s health. They’ll proceed to take a mold of the tooth and the surrounding areas to build a crown that matches the tooth and everything around it.
Afterward, they’ll inject local anesthesia and file down the enamel and other parts around the pulp— which contains the nerves and blood vessels— without damaging it. Another mold will be done to take the impression of the filed-down tooth. These molds will be sent to the lab to prepare your dental crown.
Meanwhile, the dentist will give you a temporary crown or a bonding around the treated tooth until your next appointment. When the crown arrives after several days, your dentist will try to fit it initially and file it accordingly. When satisfied with the fit, dental cement will be applied around the treated tooth, and the crown will be placed.
What is a Dental Veneer?
A veneer is more like a casing that covers and protects the front surface of the tooth. Dental veneers are thin yet strong shells custom-made for your teeth. You can get them to conceal surface imperfections like cracked, chipped, or broken teeth and to cover up stained teeth, gaps between teeth, and other cosmetic imperfections.
You can get porcelain or composite veneers based on your ultimate smile goals. Your cosmetic dentist will have to investigate your teeth and your oral health before moving forward with the procedure to ensure that veneers are a good choice for you.
You can get a veneer for one tooth. However, the most common form is getting a few veneers to cover the front of the jaw to give a uniform and brighter look when you smile. Since this cosmetic treatment is generally non-invasive, you can choose whichever you want after a careful appointment.
How to Get Dental Veneers
Dental veneers require some time, maybe less than getting dental crowns. The cosmetic dentist will inspect the quality of your affected tooth carefully and examine your overall oral health. They’ll then carry out dental cleaning to start the process with a clean slate.
You can get porcelain or composite veneers as a permanent placement or get pop-on veneers to train your teeth to straighten, which you can take off anytime you want. You can get pop-on veneers if you don’t want braces.
After cleaning and primary examination, the dentist will make a mold of your teeth and the area surrounding them. They’ll note the measurements and address your concerns and goals, and send it to the lab with the sample.
The lab technician will then prepare the veneers according to your needs and preferences. This can take quite a few days, which is why you’ll need multiple appointments with your dentist. You can make it pearl white or closer to the natural shade of your teeth.
When the veneers arrive, the dentist will file off some of the layers of your tooth to fit the veneer snugly or file off quite a bit of your tooth based on what the concern is. This process may require local anesthesia. Then, the veneer will be fit and glued to your natural tooth.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Crowns?
Getting crowns is an invasive procedure that is difficult to reverse, and so it is done only when it’s absolutely necessary. Therefore, it will have some cons, but it also has a lot of advantages.
There are various types of crowns you can get for your affected tooth. They will protect your weak tooth from decay and damage, correct an already damaged tooth, and protect and preserve the root of your affected tooth.
Although costly and time-consuming, caps are a long-lasting and effective solution for major dental concerns. You also don’t need to get a few other crowns to match the surrounding teeth. The color of the cap is easily customizable, blending it with your natural teeth very easily.
Your tooth will also look healthy while giving it more strength and structure. What’s more rewarding is that most dental insurance policies cover dental crowns.
Your crowned tooth will initially be very sensitive since it had to undergo invasive procedures, especially if it still has a nerve in it. You’ll need to care for your oral hygiene with products made for sensitive teeth. You’ll also feel uncomfortable for a few days.
Once the cap starts getting old, it’ll get a little loose. If you don’t get the cement reapplied, then the crown may fall off, or worse, you may end up swallowing the crown accidentally.
You can also experience chippings on your dental cap, whether due to excess pressure, tooth grinding, or an accident. And if you’re allergic to any metal, you should let your dentist know beforehand, as some crowns contain metal to give them structure.
You may see a dark line on your gums under the crown. However, that’s totally normal with some forms of crowns, so there’s nothing to worry about.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Veneers?
Dental veneers have some pros and cons too. Although it’s mostly less invasive, it still requires filing your teeth down. Like getting crowns, it’s also a costly and time-consuming process.
Dental veneers will conceal the surface imperfection of your teeth, giving them a more uniform and bright look.
Porcelain veneers are sturdy and are meant to support teeth that are broken or chipped. Composite veneers, on the other hand, are intended to conceal cracks, stains, and discolored teeth and improve the shade of your teeth.
Dental veneers will last you for years if you care for them properly, making the expense more sustainable in the long run. You can also eat anything with your veneers as long as you’re careful with them.
Both veneers and caps need a lot of customization depending on the condition of your teeth and how snugly the veneers should fit. This is a time-consuming process, besides the time required to prepare them in the lab.
If your teeth need a lot of filing, then you’ll need local anesthesia to numb the pain and sensitivity. You can’t get veneers if you have severe decay, gum diseases, or need root canals. In these cases, you’ll need more invasive procedures.
You’ll also need multiple veneers to achieve an even look when you smile. This can be a costly process, and your dental insurance may not cover it.
Dental Crown Vs. Veneer: Which One Should You Get?
Whether to get dental veneers or crowns will depend on the condition of your affected teeth. A dentist specialized in cosmetic dentistry will help you to identify your issues more deeply and suggest you the best possible solution.
While veneers will improve the appearance of your teeth and protect them from the surface, they won’t solve any root-level issues. On the other hand, dental crowns will address dental issues from both the surface and the root but will be an invasive procedure that will give you discomfort for a much longer time.
Both processes are expensive and time-consuming. However, if you take proper care of your oral hygiene, both will last you for years. The time and money spent on these procedures will then feel worthwhile.
If you’re confused about which one to get, consulting an experienced cosmetic dentist will help you settle the battle of dental crowns vs. veneers. You’ll be able to arrive at a proper decision after a thorough diagnosis and will be able to decide based on what you want and what you need.
We hope that this article has helped you understand how each procedure works and the benefits and drawbacks that each procedure carries. Happy smiling!