If you are looking to achieve a better smile, you might consider getting crowns or veneers. Crowns and veneers are bonded or cemented onto the tooth surface to improve the appearance and function of your teeth. They may look similar, but they serve different purposes.
Differences between Crowns and Veneers
Veneers are cemented only onto the front surface of your teeth, leaving most of the natural tooth surface still intact. The dentist will remove about 0.5mm of enamel to improve the bonding of the veneer, as cement will stick best on rougher surfaces. The amount of enamel to be removed will vary depending on the type of veneer used and the anatomy and inclination or position of your tooth. They are used mainly for aesthetic purposes.
Unlike veneers, crowns are less conservative. Crowns surround the entire tooth surface. The procedure involves grinding down the natural tooth surface circumferentially and not just on the front surface. Crowns however do not only improve aesthetics, but also greatly restore and improve function. Crowns are typically used on teeth that have been damaged by decay or fractures. If decay is present, the dentist will need to remove all decay and rebuild your tooth. If the fracture is too large, the dentist might also need to rebuild the tooth as sufficient tooth surface is important for the retention and resistance of the crown.
Similarities between Crowns and Veneers
Both crowns and veneers have a similar effect on your smile. It would be difficult to tell which is which when viewed side by side. They can both improve your appearance by addressing discolorations, chips, gaps, fractures, and mild crowding or crookedness of teeth. Both crowns and veneers are matched to the color or shade of the rest of your teeth, however in a complete smile makeover, patients tend to choose a shade lighter than their natural shade to achieve the brightest smile. Both procedures, when done, are irreversible. Caring for veneers and crowns is also similar, brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist every 6 months.
When to get veneers:
- Discoloration of teeth
- Chipping of teeth/small fractures
- Irregularly shaped teeth
When to get crowns:
- Severely decayed teeth
- Large fractures
- Protect weakened teeth from damage
- Hold a dental bridge in place
It takes two sessions to install either a crown or veneer.
During the first session, the dentist will grind the surface of your teeth to provide a suitable texture for adhesion: the front surface for veneers; all surfaces for crowns. Before grinding, your teeth will be anesthetized as grinding may cause sensitivity or discomfort. After grinding is done, the dentist will take an impression to be sent to the lab. Temporary veneers or crowns will be placed while waiting for your final veneers or crowns.
Once the final crowns or veneers are delivered, the dentist will remove your temporaries and check the fit and shade of your final veneers or crowns, once approved by both the dentist and the patient, the dentist will now cement the final crowns/veneers onto the teeth.