Do I Need Porcelain Veneers or Crowns?

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Understanding the differences between cosmetic dental restorations and the factors that guide your dentist’s recommendations can help you understand what to expect during a smile makeover. This blog will review the distinctions between porcelain veneers and crowns to shed light on how a dentist determines the most suitable option for each patient.

Water flows over a dental veneer.

If you wish to improve the appearance of your teeth, porcelain veneers and crowns are excellent options, and both are designed to replicate the look of healthy, natural teeth. However, while the outcome may appear similar, these prosthetics each provide unique benefits.

Porcelain Veneers: The Easiest Way to a Hollywood Smile

Porcelain dental veneers are strong, ultra-thin ceramic shells that are custom-crafted and placed over teeth to brighten smiles and conceal structural flaws. Some advantages of porcelain veneers include:

  • Translucency and reflection: Porcelain veneers mimic tooth enamel’s natural translucency and light-reflecting properties, providing a remarkably life-like appearance.
  • Stain resistance: Veneers resist staining, maintaining their bright and vibrant color over time.
  • Minimal tooth reduction: Porcelain veneers require little preparation and removal of enamel, making them a more conservative option for enhancing the appearance of teeth.
  • Versatile cosmetic correction: Veneers can transform teeth that are:
    • Chipped or cracked
    • Worn down, misshapen, or naturally small
    • Mildly misaligned or with small gaps
    • Permanently discolored and resistant to teeth whitening

Porcelain veneers are also long-lasting compared to dental bonding, an alternative that involves a composite resin being applied over teeth to offer similar benefits.

The most significant difference between porcelain veneers and crowns is that veneers are a wholly cosmetic dental treatment, while crowns can be used as a comprehensive dental treatment.

A hemostat holds a dental crown.

Dental Crowns: Complete Tooth Coverage

Dental crowns are designed to cover and protect the entire tooth and possess some of the same cosmetic benefits as veneers, including their natural appearance, stain resistance, and versatility.

  • Strength and durability: Dental crowns can withstand substantial biting force, making them more suitable for posterior teeth, which are subject to more pressure during chewing.
  • Structural restoration and protection: Dental crowns are used as treatment for the following dental issues to return both function and aesthetics:
    • Broken teeth
    • Extensive decay
    • The final step of root canal treatment
    • As anchors for dental bridges
    • To complete dental implants
    • To correct one or more crooked teeth

The one drawback of dental crowns is that more enamel must be removed. However, sometimes, this is the only way to save a natural tooth, and this option provides comprehensive coverage.

Determining Which Dental Restoration Option Is Right for You

Your dentist will explain why veneers or crowns are the best solution for you and when these treatments can be combined. The decision will be based on the following factors:

Extent of Tooth Damage

  • Minor cosmetic issues: Porcelain veneers are often the preferred choice for minor cosmetic imperfections like discoloration or small chips and cracks.
  • Extensive damage or decay: When a tooth has substantial damage or decay and requires structural reinforcement, a dental crown may be recommended for its comprehensive coverage and strength.

Tooth Alignment and Bite Function

  • Mild misalignment: Veneers effectively address misalignments or shape irregularities for a more harmonious smile.
  • Significant misalignments or bite issues: While braces or clear dental aligners, like Invisalign®, are the teeth straightening standard, dental crowns can provide robust support and coverage and will be favored over veneers for teeth with significant misalignments or bite problems.

Smile Design and Customization

  • Cosmetic smile design: Porcelain veneers are an excellent tool for crafting a customized and appealing smile, as they allow for precise color, shape, and size adjustments.
  • Balancing aesthetics and function: Dental crowns are chosen when both aesthetics and function must be addressed to ensure a balance between strength and natural appearance.

Conservative Vs. Comprehensive Approach

Porcelain veneers are considered a more conservative treatment as they typically involve minimal tooth reduction. This approach preserves more of the natural tooth structure, while crowns require more extensive preparation and significant enamel removal to provide comprehensive protection for teeth.

Long-Term Maintenance

Both porcelain veneers and crowns can be cared for with routine dental hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings.

While veneers are durable, avoiding habits like nail-biting or using teeth for non-food activities helps preserve their longevity. Dental crowns can withstand greater pressure, but abusing them may also cause these prosthetics to break.

Investing in the Beauty and Health of Your Smile

Porcelain veneers are often considered a cosmetic investment, and while they provide remarkable aesthetic enhancements, they are not typically covered by insurance, and you can expect considerable out-of-pocket costs.

Dental crowns, with their focus on structural rehabilitation, may be covered (at least in part) by insurance) and can be viewed as an investment in the longevity and function of your teeth.

Choosing Porcelain Veneers or Crowns in Chicago, IL

The decision between porcelain veneers and dental crowns is a collaborative process between you and your dentist. Dr. Vlad Fedin is committed to meeting your individual needs and providing the most cost-effective and longest-lasting solutions for your smile by balancing your cosmetic goals, tooth condition, and functional requirements.

Dr. Fedin ensures the uniformity of your smile by taking precise impressions and color-matching your restorations with your natural teeth. He also provides professional teeth whitening, which can be performed before placing your veneers or crowns, as these prosthetics cannot be whitened later.

Whether choosing the artistry of veneers for a radiant smile or the comprehensive coverage of crowns, Dr. Fedin will review all the advantages of each option so you can improve your smile with confidence. Call our Chicago cosmetic dentist today at (312) 642-6631.

Contact Us

Chicago Office

919 Michigan Ave
Floor 3
Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 642-6631

Skokie Office

4905 Old Orchard Center
Suite 420
Skokie, IL 60077

(847) 676-0484