When it comes to dental restorations, today, we have a wide range of options to choose from. Among them are crowns and veneers, mainly preferred by dental patients who want to improve their teeth’ functionality and look. Crowns and veneers are quite similar in the design process, procedure, and final appearance. However, they are very different, and dentists may not apply them in similar cases. Dental restorations are quite expensive. Thus, you need to understand each procedure in detail to make the right choice of what is best and suitable for you. In this article, we will be discussing both methods in detail, highlight their differences, and give you the pros and cons of each.
What are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown, also referred to as a dental cap, is a dental restoration type that completely encircles or caps a tooth or dental implant. It is mostly needed when a large cavity threatens the health of a tooth. Dental crowns are for restoring the standard shape, size, or function of the teeth. They can also make the affected teeth more robust and improve the way they look. Here are the reasons why dentists could recommend dental crowns:
- If a patient has a larger cavity that cannot be treated by filling
- If a patient’s tooth is cracked, weakened, or worn down.
- If the patient has had a root canal treatment. In this case, the crown will be needed to restore the tooth.
- If a patient needs a solution to cover up a badly-shaped or discolored tooth to improve their smile
Generally, a dental crown will cover the entire affected tooth as more of the tooth requires filling or grounding to prepare it for a crown replacement. If the patient’s tooth is decayed, the dentist will first remove the decayed part before making the crown. The tooth might require some bit of build-up to support the crown. The patient will also need build-up support if the tooth is significantly damaged. The dentist might give you local anesthesia for the procedure.
Installation of a Dental Crown
It will take at least two dental visits for you to have a dental crown installed. The dentist will take several steps to completely and accurately install the crown on your natural tooth:
- It starts with tooth preparation, whereby the dentist removes the outer portion of your affected tooth. That is where your dentist will fix the dental crown. Your dentist will remove any decay on the tooth in this stage, and the building up of any additional structure will be required to support the installed crown.
- The next step is in making impressions that will provide the exact model your dentist needs for the crown. Dentists make impressions from a digitally scanned tooth or mold.
- Your dentist will then make a temporary crown for your tooth, which you can use as you wait for your permanent one to be ready. It could be in two weeks or earlier.
During this waiting period, the affected tooth could be susceptible to cold and hot temperatures. It is advisable to avoid all kinds of sticky foods like chewing gums during that period. Sometimes it is possible to get a dental crown earlier, or even in a day if your dentist uses some special equipment.
- Once the crown is ready, you will go back to the dentist for installation and adjustment if any is needed. When you are satisfied with the way the crown looks and feels, your dentist will cement it into place.
What are Veneers?
Veneers are layers of material placed over a tooth to improve a patient’s smile and protect the tooth’s surface against damage. Veneers are mainly made from two types of materials: porcelain and composite. They are meant to cover only the front surface of a tooth.
Veneers are useful in treating a wide range of dental cosmetic issues, including chipped, discolored, and broken teeth. They could also correct a smaller-than-normal tooth. Some people prefer to have only one veneer installed in case of a chipped or broken tooth. But others prefer between six and eight veneers to create a symmetrical, even smile. The front top teeth are usually the most common ones in which dental veneers are applied.
There are several types of dental veneers that your dentist can recommend: traditional and no-prep veneers.
Traditional veneers involve more intensive preparation work before installation. Your dentist may have to grind down the affected tooth’s structure and sometimes even remove some part of that tooth, even beyond its enamel. The preparation allows for the proper installation of the veneer. Traditional veneers involve an irreversible tooth preparation that sometimes is painful and might require local anesthesia.
No-prep veneers require only simple preparation and a little bit of tooth alteration. Instead of taking out the layers of the affected tooth under its enamel, no-prep dental veneers affect only the enamel. Unlike traditional veneers, the preparation for no-prep veneers is not intensive. Therefore, no anesthesia is required.
Veneers Installation Procedure
Your dentist will take a maximum of two weeks to have the entire procedure completed. He/she will first create a mold to have your veneers created in the lab. Once they are ready, you will go back to the dentist’s office to have them installed. During the last visit, your dentist will first evaluate the veneers’ shape, fit, and color to ensure that they are right for you.
If satisfied, your dentist will thoroughly clean your teeth. Cleaning keeps bacteria from being trapped underneath the veneer, which could result in dental decay. After cleaning, your dentist will use a grinding tool to give each affected tooth a rough texture. The rough texture makes it easy for the dental veneer to attach to the tooth.
Finally, your dentist will use dental cement. It helps to fix the veneer to the tooth/teeth. He/she will then use ultraviolet light to harden the cement quickly. You will leave the office with a new smile and more functional teeth.
The Difference Between Crowns and Veneers
Dental crowns and veneers are closely related, but there is a considerable difference between the two. Some of their significant differences include:
- Dental crowns are a little thicker than veneers (crowns are about 2mm thick while veneers are 1mm thick). They are all-porcelain fused to metal alloys or all-metal restorations, while veneers can be porcelain or any other material.
- Dental crowns are installed on severely damaged teeth to restore the look and functionality of the tooth. They can be installed on any tooth, whether at the front or back of the mouth. Veneers, on the other hand, are more suitable for the front teeth. They are installed on gently-damaged teeth to restore the look and functionality of an already existing tooth.
- Veneers will only cover the front surface of your tooth. They are less invasive than crowns and require less preparation of the original tooth for installation. During the installation of dental crowns, much of the damaged tooth must be removed to create space for the crown. A crown can cover the front or back surface of the tooth.
Whether a dental crown or veneer is best for you depends on the kind of dental issue you are trying to fix and the affected teeth’ condition. The most common problems that require dental veneers or crowns are:
- Teeth discoloration
- Broken, chipped, or cracked teeth
- Weakened or decayed teeth
- Crooked teeth
If you have a tooth that has a root canal, a large filling, or one that is severely cracked or worn out, a dental crown will be the ideal restoration for you. If, on the other hand, you have an essentially intact tooth, but you need something extra for beauty purposes, your dentist will recommend a veneer. Veneers are also the best for minor corrections of dental shapes.
Both crowns and veneers are designed to match your teeth’ color and shape, except for all-metal dental crowns.
The Cost for Crowns and Veneers
Dental restorations are generally expensive. Thus, be prepared to pay a little more for dental crowns or veneers. However, the overall costs vary from one dentist to the other. The price will also be determined by the size and number of teeth where the restoration will be made, the affected teeth’ position, and the average cost in your area. The challenge is that most dental insurances do not pay for cosmetic dentistry. Those that cover cosmetic dentistry have annual limits that you cannot go beyond unless you plan to pay out-of-pocket. It is advisable to check with your medical insurance provider first before making the final decision.
The cost of veneers ranges between $925 and $2,500 per affected tooth. You will pay more if you choose porcelain veneers than you will pay for composite veneers. However, porcelain veneers last longer, so you might enjoy a good value for your money.
The cost of dental crowns is also guided by the material you choose for your crowns, the amount and nature of preparation your teeth will need, and each tooth’s size. Generally, crowns cost between $1,000 and $3,500 per affected tooth. Note that this money is not inclusive of other procedures you may have to go through to ensure a successful installation. You might have to pay more for root canals, the core buildup, and anything that may be required before the restoration is made.
For crowns, ceramic and porcelain materials produce more costly crowns than all-metal crowns. If you are working on a budget, you can propose a payment plan to your dentist.
Caring for Crowns and Veneers
After installation, care for crowns and veneers is critical as it ensures they, and the tooth underneath, remain healthy and strong. One sure way to care for your restorations at home is to keep them clean at all times. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Ensure that the point where your gum-line meets the porcelain is cleaned correctly. This area, also called the margin, is where plaque sits and could eventually result in tooth decay if it is not properly cleaned. Flossing will also help, as it removes food particles from between your teeth, an area where your brush does not reach.
Additionally, it could help if you purpose to visit your dentist regularly for a checkup. During these checkups, your dentist can x-ray the dental work to check the tooth/teeth condition beneath the veneer or crown. If a problem is detected, it is treated before it escalates. Early intervention prevents major dental problems and also saves time and money.
Crowns Pros and Cons
Crowns have their advantages and disadvantages that you should know about before making the final decision. Some of them are:
- Dental crowns cover the entire part of the tooth. Thus, your tooth is protected from all kinds of infections and decay.
- If you are lucky to receive porcelain crowns, the restoration will feel and look exactly like your natural teeth. No one needs to know that you had a dental restoration done.
- Dental crowns are permanent restorations. You will not have to keep removing and fixing them back for cleaning like dentures.
- You may be lucky to find your dental insurance covering part of the treatment for dental crowns, significantly reducing the amount of money you need to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket.
- Much of your original tooth must be removed when preparing for the installation of a crown. It is not the kind of dental procedure that will try to salvage your natural teeth.
- Crowned teeth are more sensitive to cold and heat in the beginning. You may even experience pain in the gum. The discomfort is a huge turn-off for many people who might require a crown or two. However, if the sensitivity and pain persist, you can always go back to your dentist.
- Porcelain crowns are quite fragile and may be damaged sooner than later.
- If you receive a crown made from porcelain fused to a metal alloy, you may have to live with a dark line between the crown and your natural teeth. It could affect your smile even more.
Veneers Pros and Cons
Veneers, too, come with a list of advantages and disadvantages you should know about before making the last decision. Some of them are:
- Veneers are more aesthetically pleasing when compared to dental crowns. Therefore, they can be used in correcting a dental problem and, at the same time, improve your look and feel. Additionally, veneers do not leave a gum margin after some time like crowns do sometimes. Thus, you may enjoy the beautiful look for a more extended
- Little preparation is required on your natural tooth before the installation of veneers. Therefore, this is a dental restoration procedure that will preserve more of your natural tooth and all the benefits that come with it. Your dentist only requires to trim the tooth a little for the installation.
- There is typically minimal movement of your tooth after the installation of a veneer. However, if you occasionally clench or grind your teeth at night, you may need to wear a nightguard to protect the restoration and keep it in place for much longer.
- Since veneers do not cover the entire surface, they leave part of the tooth exposed to infections and decay. Therefore, it is possible to experience new problems on a tooth that has already been treated.
- Veneers are expensive to install but will only serve you for a maximum of five years. Some materials can last longer but will require replacement sooner than later.
- The procedure to install veneers is permanent and irreversible. You cannot change your mind after the process is done.
- Dental insurances do not cover most dental restorations involving the installation of veneers. Thus, you need to be financially prepared to pay the entire amount before the treatment.
Making a Choice Between Crowns and Veneers
As mentioned above, you will base your choice for a dental crown or veneer on the kind of dental problem you are experiencing and the results you anticipate. It is advisable to seek the guidance and advice of your dentist for a more informed decision. During this first appointment, you could ask questions like:
- Whether there are better alternatives to crowns and veneers for your need, for example, implants and dentures
- How long the veneer or crown will last
- Whether there will be a need for you to wear a mouthguard after the installation
- Whether there is additional care, your dentist can recommend for your dental restorations
Find a Crown/Veneer Dental Expert Near Me
Dental crowns and veneers are dental restoration procedures that are quite similar but significantly different. Thus, it is possible to confuse the two. If you would like to improve your teeth’ look and functionality, it is advisable to seek an experienced dentist’s advice and guidance. Contact Tarzana Dental Care at 818-708-3232. Our cutting-edge facility has everything we need to treat and prevent dental problems and give you back your smile.