From speaking to patients, I noticed there’s a lot of confusion regarding crowns versus veneers to improve a person’s smile. People often wonder which one looks better and what’s better for them. As far as esthetics are concerned both can be made to look highly esthetic. Currently, our office doesn’t believe it’s necessary to use any metal in our crowns. Both veneers and crowns are made entirely of ceramics (aka porcelain).
Veneers are a good option to improve esthetics of stained, discolored, and poorly shaped teeth. While crowns are often used to repair badly broken down teeth.
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.
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.
Before starting treatment the dentist should assess why treatment is needed in the first place. Many people seek veneers because their front teeth have become too short from grinding their teeth at night. These patients will fracture their veneers in short order and be even worse off than before. I recommend patients who wore down their teeth from grinding, 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 crown. The tooth next to it was not straight. First step was to make the gums appear even with a laser. Then the old crown was removed. After preparing both teeth for new crowns patient left with temporary crowns. A week later two new porcelain crowns were cemented. A night guard was also delivered 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.