Can you think of anything more engaging than an attractive smile? Pollsters and bloggers who conduct informal surveys on the subject know that a beautiful smile consistently ranks at the top of each list.
Of course, very few people have a naturally perfect smile. Cavities and decay interfere. Some teeth appear crooked and require orthodontics. Sometimes people chip their teeth or put up with internal stains.
Regardless of the imperfection, most teeth look better after regular dental visits. A good dentist can recommend the right procedure to hide flaws and enhance each smile. Crowns and dental veneers are just two methods of enhancement. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how these components can give you a better smile.
Is There a Difference Between Crowns and Veneers?
Although many patients know what crowns and veneers are, further explanation still can’t hurt. Here’s a brief comparison.
Some people call dental crowns “caps,” which refers to the fact that a porcelain crown completely caps or covers the natural tooth. Dentists make crowns from the following materials:
- Gold or stainless steel
- Porcelain and metal
- Resin composite
Additionally, dentists apply both temporary crowns and permanent crowns to teeth. Temporary crowns protect the natural tooth while technicians create the permanent crown elsewhere.
Unlike crowns, which cover the entire tooth, veneers cover just the front and biting surfaces. And veneers only come in one form, porcelain.
Veneers are ultra-thin structures that affix to misshapen, short, chipped, or stained teeth. Some veneers also cover gaps in teeth.
Why Choose Either Option?
If your dentist notices cracks, chips, intense staining, gaps, or other tooth defects, he or she may cover them with either veneers or crowns. Patients choose either option if their teeth don’t respond to whitening treatments or other restorative procedures.
Crowns also protect weak teeth. For example, a patient’s tooth may contain multiple fillings that undermine the natural tooth’s strength. In such cases, a dentist would apply a crown to protect the tooth underneath. Likewise, patients who receive root canal therapy need crowns to cover teeth afterward.
Veneers, by contrast, work best to cover cosmetic imperfections such as those mentioned earlier.
If a patient’s teeth have deep, internal stains (e.g., from Tetracycline or other medications), either crowns or veneers effectively cover these blemishes. These patients also don’t respond well to cosmetic whitening procedures, so they choose crowns or veneers instead.
How Each Procedure Works
Both crowns and veneers share similar initial processes. When you come to your dental appointment, your dentist will take Xrays and dental impressions of your teeth. If you will receive porcelain crowns, you should expect the dentist to re-shape your teeth in preparation for temporary crowns.
Likewise, if you elect veneers, you can expect your dentist to take a tooth impression and reduce the surfaces of each tooth that will receive a veneer. Your dentist employs this technique so your new veneer doesn’t protrude when compared against your natural teeth.
And since veneers and most crowns use porcelain as a base, both structures won’t be available to you immediately. You should expect to revisit your dentist a week or two after your initial appointment. Once your veneers or crowns are ready, your dentist will clean your teeth and affix these structures to them.
A Note About Sensitivity
To create a tight bond with your natural teeth, dentists must abrade and reduce your natural tooth’s surfaces as described above. This process may create tooth sensitivity. In most cases, sensitivity lasts temporarily. However, sensitivity may continue after you receive your new veneers or crowns.
If your teeth already feel overly sensitive, talk with your dentist about your options. Remember, veneers or crowns can still protect your teeth from further sensitivity in future, even if you experience some sensitivity initially.
What to Expect After Restorative Treatment
The biggest advantage of both crowns and veneers is their durability. Both can last indefinitely, especially if patients care for their teeth properly. Your new crowns or veneers are strong and stain resistant, but they are not completely damage-proof.
Refrain from bad habits such as opening items with your teeth, biting your nails, or chewing on hard objects-all of which can damage veneers in particular.
Otherwise, treat your new restorations just as you would your natural teeth. Brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist at least twice each year.
If you cannot afford multiple crowns or veneers currently, ask your dentist if other options will work for you. And don’t be afraid to request for more information, either about crowns and veneers or financing options.
Enjoy your new smile, with help from your friendly dentist’s office.