Dentists now have several options for whitening and reshaping your teeth, as well as replacing missing teeth. Veneers and crowns are two of the most popular options for improving the appearance of your teeth, but they each have unique strengths and weaknesses. Here is a comparison of veneers and dental crowns to help you determine the option that best suits your needs.
The best method for repairing teeth that are cracked or chipped, naturally misshapen, or out of alignment will depend on the level of damage to the tooth and the thickness of the tooth's enamel. For teeth with small cracks or chips, or with thin enamel, veneers are usually the recommended option for repairing them. This is because a significant portion of enamel must be filed away to fit a crown over your tooth without crowding the adjacent teeth. Crowns are usually reserved for severe cracks and chips that expose the pulp of the tooth.
In cases of malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth, crowns are often chosen for repair. Misaligned teeth can cause significant pain and difficulty closing the mouth, so filing the misaligned tooth is often necessary anyway to correct these problems. A crown is placed over the filed tooth that is aligned properly and small enough to prevent crowding.
Tooth loss due to advanced decay or trauma is not a problem that can be repaired with veneers. This is because veneers must be applied to the enamel of an existing tooth. An oral surgeon will use a crown supported by a dental implant to replace a missing tooth.
Dental implants consist of a titanium screw that is inserted into the jawbone below the gap created by the missing tooth. An abutment is attached to the top of the screw, and the crown is fitted over the abutment, much like it would be fitted over a natural tooth. An implant-supported crown is just as strong as your natural teeth, and almost identical to them in appearance.
Veneers are usually the next step when discoloration is still present on the teeth after traditional tooth whitening. The thin layer of porcelain is usually enough to hide any surface-level stains on the enamel. Some extremely dark spots may still show through the veneers, especially those that are caused by decay in the tooth pulp rather than staining on the enamel.
Dental crowns are thick enough to correct the color of even the most discolored teeth. Crowns are completely opaque, while veneers are thin enough to be partially transparent. This means that crowns will even hide discoloration caused by pulp decay. Many surface-level stains are automatically removed in the process of applying dental crowns when the enamel is filed away.
For many people, the costs of veneers and dental crowns will be the deciding factor for the procedure they choose. Dental crowns are more difficult to manufacture and install, and they are made from more material, so the cost of crowns will usually be higher than veneers. Porcelain crowns cost $1,000 to $3,500 per tooth on average, while crowns made from gold or silver are usually more expensive.
The cost of veneers also varies depending on the material they are made of. While porcelain veneers range from $925 to $2,500 per tooth, you can choose veneers made of composite dental resin to lower the cost to $250 to $1,500 per tooth. While composite veneers are more affordable than porcelain veneers, the downside is that they usually do not last as long.
Knowing the pros and cons of veneers and dental crowns will help you have an informed discussion with your dentist so you can find the best solution to improve your smile. Contact a dental office like Willowdaile Family Dentistry to learn more.