If you want to improve the appearance of your front teeth, first learn the basics about dental veneers and crowns in this informative guide, so you can talk knowledgeably with your dentist about the best solution for you.
Sharing an open, friendly smile is one of the most common ways to connect with others. Yet, people with minor imperfections affecting their front teeth are often self-conscious about their smiles. If dental issues such as gaps, discolouration, cracks, or uneven tooth size have kept you from feeling as confident as you’d like, talk to your dentist about possible solutions to restore your smile.
Dental veneers and crowns are the standard tooth restoration procedures that are usually performed to help correct imperfections and protect teeth from future problems. In this article, we address the differences between these two treatments, along with their advantages and disadvantages, to give you a basic understanding of what is involved and prepare you for a consultation with your dentist to assess which option is best suited to your unique situation.
What are dental crowns?
Dental crowns are custom-made dental restorations most often used to strengthen and repair compromised teeth when they can no longer properly retain fillings, and to restore teeth after root canal procedures (endodontics). They may also be used to close visible gaps, improve cosmetic appearance, or replace one or more missing teeth, when supported by a dental implant assembly or bridge.
A crown usually fits over the top of an existing damaged or cracked tooth to hold, strengthen, and protect it from further decay. Because crowns cover the entire tooth, they must be custom molded to fit your unique jaw shape and facial structure. Your dentist may take x-rays, scans, and impressions of your teeth, jaw, and bite in order to create a crown that conforms to your mouth correctly.
Crowns may be made from all ceramics, porcelain fused to metal alloys (PFM), or entirely from a metal or gold alloy. All-ceramic materials are often the best option for crowns on front teeth because they look the most natural in translucency and colour. Back teeth can be restored using several different material options, and your dentist can help you choose the one that is best suited to your situation. Increasingly, newer types of high-strength digital ceramics are employed on back teeth rather than traditional PFM crowns. PFM crowns can be somewhat visible due to a thin line of metal that may show at the gumline and are not generally recommended for front teeth.
Tuxedo Dental Group has its own state-of-the-art on-site laboratory that can digitally fabricate highly realistic, customized crowns and bridges right on the premises. This streamlines the process, since impressions do not need to be sent to an external facility.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are made with a thin layer of all-ceramics (“indirect” veneers) or composite resins (“direct” veneers) that adhere to the surface of a tooth to alter features like chips or wear, discolouration, misalignment, shape, length, or gaps. For a consistent appearance, veneers are custom-made to match the colour of the rest of your teeth, so if you want to brighten your smile, be sure to complete the teeth-whitening process before getting your veneers.
Composite veneers can usually be applied chairside in a single visit making them versatile and cost effective. At Tuxedo Dental Group, we have found that all-ceramic veneers can often be a bit more stain-resistant and natural-looking than composite veneers. Veneers are custom-produced and colour-matched in our on-site lab using computer-aided design software and the latest technology.
For most patients, the ceramic veneer procedure is completed over two office visits. X-rays and scans are often taken at the first appointment to provide an accurate representation of your tooth’s shape and dimensions for precise fabrication. Before applying a veneer, your dentist may be required to trim a small amount of enamel from the surface of your tooth to maintain a similar thickness once the veneer is in place. The surface is cleaned and roughened to improve adhesion once the veneer is placed using a special dental cement, then an ultraviolet light is used to accelerate the bonding process.
What are the main differences between crowns and veneers?
Although dental veneers and crowns are both restorative treatments, they are sometimes used in different situations. The primary difference is that a dental veneer is placed on the visible surface of your tooth, while a crown is designed to cover your entire tooth, or provide a full replacement together with an implant or bridge.
Veneers are made from thin (usually under 1mm) layers of all-ceramics or composite resin, which are bonded to the surface of your teeth using a special dental cement. Dental crowns sit over the top of your existing tooth (or a dental implant) and are made from all ceramics, porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM), or an all-metal alloy (gold). PFM and metal crowns may both appear to be visibly different from your natural teeth, so in general, they aren’t as good an option for front teeth when compared to all-ceramic crowns.
There are several types of all-ceramic crowns—some are ideal for restoring front teeth due to their aesthetic qualities, while others are more typically employed for restoring back teeth due to their high strength. All-ceramic crowns can be nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth. At Tuxedo Dental Group, we use 3D scanning and employ an on-site ceramist who will consult with your dentist to select the product that most closely matches the natural shade of your teeth. This way, your crowns will integrate seamlessly into your smile.
Veneers are typically selected to reinforce teeth with minor chips, gaps, cracks, and discolouration. Crowns may be used to preserve weakened, decaying, or severely cracked teeth and to replace missing teeth. Both dental veneers and dental crowns can be made to match the colour of your natural or whitened teeth.
When are dental crowns the best option?
Crowns are an excellent option for restoring damaged or missing teeth. A crown can be a permanent, long-term solution that looks, feels, and functions just like a natural tooth.
If one of your front teeth is cracked, decayed, or compromised, a custom-made crown can be fitted carefully on top and wrap around the tooth, which serves as a splint to help preserve what is left and prevent further damage. Crowns are often used on teeth that have undergone root canals, as they can protect the tooth from further deterioration.
If you have lost a front tooth, a crown may be placed on top of a dental implant to create a prosthetic tooth. Besides filling large gaps in your smile, this treatment can also help keep the rest of your teeth straight and support the structure of your face and jawbone.
For front teeth, crowns made from all-ceramics material are most usually recommended, because they look the most natural; while PFM crowns may show a slight dark line where the teeth meet the gums. However, your dentist will help you determine the best solution for you based on your specific situation and budget considerations.
When are dental veneers the best option?
Dental veneers are often indicated when a patient wishes to correct minor cosmetic issues. Your front teeth are the most prominent feature of your smile, and veneers may be a promising solution to hide chips, resolve discolouration, and close visible gaps between your teeth.
All-ceramic veneers can be long-lasting, stain-resistant, which can make them the ideal choice for front teeth. The experienced dentists at Tuxedo Dental group can work with you to create customised veneers that are consistent in size, shape, and color with the rest of your teeth, so your smile appears natural and cohesive.
Tuxedo Dental Group Can Help You Decide
If you are considering dental veneers or crowns to address damaged or imperfect teeth, our expert team of dental professionals can identify your specific needs after an examination, determine the best solution for you, and answer any questions you have. Book a consultation with Tuxedo Dental Group to take the next step toward your healthiest, most confident smile!