Dental Crowns vs. Porcelain Veneers

porcelain veneers

There are now more ways to restore and improve your smile than ever before. Two of the most commonly recommended dental procedures that offer both practical and esthetic benefits to dental patients across the United States include dental crowns and porcelain veneers.


If you haven’t had much in the way of dental work before, you may be confused about these terms. The key difference between the two procedures listed above is that while dental crowns repair and restore the entire tooth, a veneer is designed purely to cover the outer enamel of the teeth, strengthening it and hiding any imperfections.


To help you decide which is likely to be the best solution for your dental needs, here is everything that you need to know about the difference between crowns and porcelain veneers.


What are dental crowns?

Dental crowns tend to be primarily recommended for functional reasons. These tooth-shaped coverings can be created from a variety of materials including metal, porcelain fused to metal and 100% porcelain. The latter varieties tend to be more popular since they can be closely matched in color to your existing teeth, making the crown much more discreet than all-metal alternatives.

Crowns work by covering the affected tooth and encasing it completely inside. In doing so it prevents the tooth from becoming further affected by decay. For the case of a tooth that is broken, crowns hold the structure together.

Each crown is custom designed to be the right shape and size to feet in with your other teeth. However, in order for the crown to be properly supported, it may be necessary to file some of the natural tooth down, or in cases whereby the tooth is severely broken or eroded, build it up so the crown fits as it should.


Why are crowns recommended?

Crowns are usually recommended for patients who have:

  • Extensive tooth decay.
  • Broken, cracked or fractured teeth.
  • Large dental fillings which have left the teeth weak and vulnerable to breaking.
  • An infection in the root of their teeth and need root canal therapy. This is because the crown is used to seal the tooth after treatment in order to prevent further infection.
  • Missing teeth and are getting crowns as part of their dental implant procedure.

What are porcelain veneers?

Unlike dental crowns, porcelain veneers cover just the front enamel of the tooth. They look like ultra-thin shells, less than a millimeter in thickness and are custom designed to the shape and size of your teeth. They can also be created in a variety of shades.

However, before they can be bonded to the outside of your teeth, the underlying enamel must first be prepared. This involves filing down the enamel, so that the veneers fit flush to your teeth without looking unnaturally thick. Since enamel cannot regrow, once your teeth have been prepared for veneers you will always need to wear them.

After your teeth have been filed, which takes place under local anesthetic, we will be able to apply your porcelain veneers individually, using special adhesive to secure them in place.


Why are porcelain veneers recommended?

Porcelain veneers are more often considered to be a cosmetic solution since they can address aesthetic problems with your teeth, including:

  • Discoloration
  • Staining
  • Chips in the enamel
  • Cracks
  • Mild crookedness of the teeth
  • Small gaps between teeth

However, since functionality and cosmetic benefit often go hand in hand, it is little surprise that choosing veneers can actually help improve the health of your teeth. This is especially the case if you are having gaps closed using your veneers as this can help prevent interdental decay from forming.

Veneers may be thin, but they are surprisingly strong. Nevertheless, they are not recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth (bruxism) or those patients who have poor dental hygiene and are suffering from extensive decay or gum disease.

Even if you have the above conditions, you may still be a good candidate for porcelain veneers provided you have the necessary dental work carried out beforehand.

If you have further questions about dental crowns or porcelain veneers, or you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss these procedures further and to see which is right for you, call Cadle Cosmetic Dentistry today at 727-312-1300.