The Differences between Dental Crowns and Porcelain Veneers

The Differences between Dental Crowns and Porcelain Veneers

Dental crowns and porcelain veneers are used by dental surgeons to restore an appropriate shape and size to teeth that may be malformed or damaged.

Both these products can create the same cosmetic end-result but they are quite different and have different applications.

The differences between veneers versus crowns will be explained in more detail.

Veneers versus Crowns

 The main differences between porcelain veneers and dental crowns are:

  • Veneers only cover the front surface of a tooth whereas crowns will encase the entire tooth. Therefore, only the front of the tooth is reduced when applying veneers and the entire tooth is trimmed in the case of crowns. In some veneering techniques, no tooth reduction may be performed at all.
  • A veneer is much thinner than a crown – a veneer typically measures 1 millimeter in thickness or less and a crown usually has a thickness of 2 millimeters or more.

Both these products can create the same cosmetic end-result but they are quite different and have different applications.

Other differences include:

  • Less of the tooth is trimmed when applying a veneer – three up to 30 percent of a tooth may need to be trimmed for a veneer, whereas preparing for a crown may involve trimming the tooth by 63 to 76 percent.
  • There is less trauma to the tooth when preparing it for a veneer as opposed to a crown.
  • The financial cost to the patient – veneers are not covered by health insurance and they can cost an average of over $900 to $2500 per tooth. Dental crowns may be partly covered by medical insurers since the indication for their placement may be more medical than cosmetic and can cost between $500 to $2000 per tooth excluding the costs for tooth reduction and root canals.
  • Veneers can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years and crowns for up to between 25 to 30 years.

Indications for Veneers and Crowns

Veneers and crowns have their own set of characteristics and this makes one or the other more favorable for certain applications.

The following are factors that dental surgeons take into consideration when deciding on which product will be used for which patient:

Porcelain Veneers 

  • Used to create minor shape changes for a tooth.
  • Production of a minor color change for a tooth for a more natural look.
  • Used in generally healthy teeth where the underlying structure is intact.
  • Used in situations where minimal stress is applied to the product since it is brittle.

Dental Crowns

  • Used for the production of a major color change for a tooth.
  • Production of a significant shape change for a tooth.
  • These are often used to rebuild and strengthen teeth that have been extensively damaged, decayed, or broken.
  • These are chosen for their durability and strength and can handle a considerable amount of force applied to them. Such forces include those exerted by heavy chewing and biting, as well as tooth grinding and clenching.
  • Porcelain veneers, therefore, are used more for aesthetic and cosmetic changes to the teeth whereas dental crowns are used to rebuild and strengthen teeth that have been damaged.

Patients with any tooth-related issues, whether they are cosmetic in nature or due to injury or damage, should discuss the best option with their dental surgeon so that they receive the appropriate management for their problem.

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