Before we get into the veneers and crowns debate the clear winner or better solution in my opinion is dental implants.
Veneers and crowns – what’s the difference?
Two of the most popular and well known dental treatments are crowns and veneers. Both of these treatments have very similar results when complete and they can be used to improve the function of teeth, improve the aesthetics of teeth or improve the bite of teeth.
Veneers and crowns are both made of ceramic usually but traditionally crowns used to be made of gold. Ceramic is a much better material for crowns and veneers as it is tooth coloured and looks far more natural than metal. Ceramic is also very durable and strong meaning that it will not wear down quickly and is not liable to break or come apart.
A veneer is a restoration that only covers the front surface of teeth, often for a cosmetic reason. They can be used to improve the size of teeth, improve the function of teeth or simply cover up stained or damaged teeth. Veneers require less preparation than crowns as they only cover one surface of the natural tooth. Some veneer systems such as Lumineers are so thin that they do not even require the natural tooth to be filed down in order to accommodate them. Most veneers do require the natural tooth to be slightly shaved down however to create a flush and even finish. Ceramic veneers look fantastic when done correctly and will last for a long time. Patients who have veneers should be careful not to bit on them too hard though as this can cause them to chip or break due the fact they are rather thin.
A crown is a restoration that covers the top of teeth and all other surfaces. To fit a crown the natural tooth is often filed down into a small stump and an impression of the stump is then taken. The impression can be used by the technician to produce a ceramic crown that fits snugly and securely over it. Once the crown is made, the dentist can bond it to the natural tooth which leaves the patient with a strong and natural looking replacement tooth. Crowns last for many years and as ceramic is so strong, they are usually used for biting teeth such as the molars where there is strong biting pressure being applied.
Both crowns and veneers are very similar and the only real difference between them is that crowns cover more surfaces of the natural tooth and require more preparation of the natural tooth. Veneers are slightly less intrusive. Both of these restorative treatments work well for the following cases:
Replacement of lost fillings
Reconstruction of broken teeth
Reconstruction of cracked teeth
Reconstruction of chipped teeth
Reconstruction of uneven or crooked teeth
There are many other uses for crowns and veneers but the above list includes all the main reasons why crowns and veneers may be used. Expect to pay around the same for a crown or a veneer – they are usually very similar in price due to the fact that they are such similar methods of restoring a tooth.