Looking for a great way to restore your teeth and improve your smile? At our family dentist office in Tucson, we have two cosmetic dentistry treatments available: crowns and veneers. But what are the differences and advantages between them? Which one is right for you?
Both crowns and veneers are popular. Either one is great for restoring a beautiful smile.
But there are key differences in veneers vs. crowns. Let’s examine both options.
Both veneers and crowns are forms of dental reconstruction that fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry. They add a covering to an existing tooth to restore it.
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain or other material that is bonded to the front of an existing tooth. It has only about 1 mm of thickness. It only covers the front of the tooth and serves to elongate a tooth or restore a chipped tooth.
A crown is a bit thicker — about 2 mm in thickness — and covers the entire tooth. It’s usually made of all porcelain, porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM), or an all-metal alloy.
The right choice for you depends on the condition of your teeth and what we’re trying to fix. Crowns cover more, but can be more expensive. If your tooth has had a root canal, a large filling, or is cracked, a crown will probably work best.
If most of the tooth is intact, a veneer will probably work fine. Veneers are done purely for cosmetic reasons though they can also be useful in dental emergencies such as a chipped tooth.
Veneers aren’t as invasive as crowns. The preparation leaves most of your tooth intact. A veneer will only cover the front of the tooth.
We’ll grind down the front of your tooth in order to roughen the surface for bonding of the veneer — usually about a half millimeter of your tooth enamel. We’ll give you anesthetic so you don’t feel any pain. We try to be as gentle as possible.
To prepare your tooth for a veneer, , we’ll take an impression of your prepared tooth by digitally scanning it or using a mold. We’ll send the sample to a lab. We may place a temporary veneer on the grounded tooth until the permanent one is ready.
When the veneer is ready, you’ll come in for another appointment at our dentist office in Casas Adobes when we’ll apply the permanent veneer. We’ll bond it to your tooth using a special cement that is then hardened with an ultraviolet lamp.
If you tend to grind or clench your teeth at night, we might have you wear a mouthguard to prevent movement of the veneer.
An implant crown covers your entire tooth and offers more protection. We’ll fill in more of your tooth or grind it down, since the crown will essentially become your tooth for eating and cosmetic purposes.
If the tooth is decayed, we’ll remove the decayed portion before attaching the crown. If there’s not enough structure to support the crown, we may need to build up the tooth.
First, your dentist will produce an impression of your tooth by digitally scanning it or by making a mold. We’ll send that mold to a lab. We will likely place a temporary crown to protect your tooth in the meantime.
Once the crown is ready, you’ll come in for a second appointment where we’ll place the crown. We’ll adjust it so that it fits right and you maintain a correct bite. Once things look good, we’ll cement the crown into place.
Sometimes the crown will have some movement, which might change the bite. If you notice anything weird, call us. Come back in and we’ll adjust it.
Veneers tend to be more affordable than crowns. They cost anywhere from $925 to $2,500 per tooth. Porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite, but they’ll last longer. Composite veneers cost $250 to $1,500 per tooth.
Crowns can cost between $1,000 to $3,500 per tooth. The price varies depending on the material used to make the crown, the amount of prep work needed, and the size of the tooth.
If they were done by a trained cosmetic dentist, there is no difference in appearance to the naked eye when it comes to crowns vs. veneers, unless you choose an all metal crown. We typically only use those when the teeth can’t be seen obviously for your smile.
As part of our family dental practice, Dr. Choi believes in conservative dentistry — we like to preserve as much of your original teeth as possible. Sometimes that means putting in crowns or veneers. The right choice will depend on your dental care needs.
Both options (crowns vs. veneers) are expensive — we understand. And while they will likely be covered by your insurance plan, the cost can still be significant for a household budget. Fortunately, we offer a number of payment plans to help make the cost more affordable. We’re a family dentist who cares.