A great smile can light up a person’s face and be infectious enough to spread joy to others. As such, some individuals go to great lengths to have cosmetic and restorative dental procedures like dental crowns and veneers to regain confidence.
Not all people are born with a great set of teeth. Genetics, health issues, poor oral care habits, and aging can cause misaligned, stained, and damaged pearly whites. These can take a heavy toll on a person’s self-esteem and sometimes lead to health problems.
Regular dental visits can help individuals maintain a healthy oral condition and prevent tooth decay, bad breath, and gum diseases. Similarly, dentists can address issues in persons who need a better-looking smile, allowing the global dental cosmetic market value to reach USD$ 29.6 billion in 2021.
This post discusses one of the most popular dental procedures in recent years: dental crowns and veneers. The following will talk about what they are and the pros and cons of having them.
What Are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown is a thin artificial tooth covering, often measuring about two millimeters. It covers the whole tooth and can be made from different materials, including all porcelain, all-metal alloy, or porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM). The oral professional will measure the tooth to create a crown that securely fits a patient’s mouth.
The patient and their chosen dentist can discuss which material is best suited for a patient, considering their oral condition and the crown’s placement. For instance, all-metal crowns are best for back molars because they must be sturdy and long-lasting enough to grind food well. Conversely, all-porcelain and PFM are better placed on visible teeth because they look more natural than the former.
Dental Crown Pros
Dental crowns cover the entire tooth; dentists might need to perform specific procedures before placing them. Often, they’ll file down your tooth to improve its shape or repair sections that have cracks and decay. This can include rebuilding severely damaged tooth sections to support and accommodate the crown.
The advantages of having dental crowns include the following:
- Tooth restoration is a pre-requisite, enabling the dentist to repair damaged tooth sections;
- Full tooth coverage helps further exposure to tooth problems;
- It effectively hides significant tooth damage;
- It mostly looks and feels like a natural tooth except for all-metal and PFM;
- It enhances the appearance of your damaged tooth;
- Your dental insurance might cover some cases; and the like.
Based on the list above, it can be concluded that dental crowns serve both restorative and cosmetic functions. Your oral problems must be addressed immediately because dental health and physical soundness are linked, which means poor oral health can aggravate specific health issues.
That aside, the section below will cover the downsides of having a dental crown.
Dental Crown Cons
As with other procedures, dental crowns come with specific disadvantages. For instance, some sections of your natural tooth must be removed to allow a secure fit. Additionally, you’ll be exposed to the following issues:
- The potential onset of tooth sensitivity and gum pain;
- PFM and all-metal alloy crowns show a dark line that can be visible;
- An all-porcelain crown needs extra care;
- A crown doesn’t last a lifetime and needs periodic replacements;
- It can be costly if you don’t have dental insurance; and others.
Heeding these points can help you decide before setting an appointment with your dentist. Alternatively, you can ask for more details about dental veneers and if they’re a better option.
What Are Dental Veneers?
A veneer is a thinner tooth covering, often measuring no thicker than one millimeter, that a dentist attaches to the front section of a patient’s tooth. Veneers are made from porcelain or resin yet don’t need to be mixed with metal.
They’re stain resistant and are considered a more conservative approach than placing dental crowns because it doesn’t require restorative procedures in most cases. This means that veneers will allow you to keep most of your tooth intact, unlike crown placements.
Nonetheless, the dentist will still need to grind a small portion of your enamel to facilitate bonding. In terms of procedures, a veneer will only require minimal tooth grinding, and the dentist doesn’t need to adjust your tooth’s sides or back sections.
Dental Veneer Pros
Compared to dental crowns, veneer placement procedures are less invasive. Below are the common reasons why dentists recommend dental veneers for some patients:
- You don’t have to deal with black lines from metal alloys showing;
- Your tooth remains intact, as veneers only require minimal tooth trimming;
- They’re thinner than a crown and may feel even more natural;
- They stay more secure than a crown over time; and the like.
Veneers require a lot of front enamel surfaces to stick properly, so it isn’t the best option for patients with a lot of tooth damage. As such, this procedure only works in patients with relatively healthy teeth or those with minor issues.
Dental Veneer Cons
Despite the advantages of veneers above, some dentists won’t necessarily recommend them to a patient for the following reasons:
- Veneers don’t offer protection in patients with tooth decay;
- They require more frequent replacements compared to dental crowns;
- Most dental insurance providers don’t cover veneer procedures;
- Composite veneers can be susceptible to stains; and the like.
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of dental crowns and veneers can help you decide which procedure you prefer. But how does your dentist determine which approach works best for you? Continue reading for the answers.
When Are Dental Crowns The Best Choice?
As mentioned, crowns are restorative and cosmetic. They address patients with more serious oral concerns, such as:
- Tooth decay, cracks, and fractures;
- Worn-out tooth;
- Missing tooth portions;
- Large tooth fillings;
- A patient who’s undergone a root canal; and so on.
If you have any of these conditions, the dentist will likely recommend placing crowns on your affected tooth. Conversely, patients with none of the conditions listed above may start discussing with their dentist about getting veneers to improve their appearance.
When Are Veneers The Best Choice?
Oral professionals will likely recommend veneers if a patient is concerned about possessing a brighter smile. More specifically, the procedure works best for the following:
- Covering tooth stains;
- Addressing mild cases of a chipped tooth;
- Hiding small gaps on the front teeth;
- Minor shape or misalignment corrections; and so on.
If your tooth is intact, your dentist will likely recommend veneers. Your practitioner will customize them based on your preferences, including the shape, size, and shade.
Whether to have a veneer or a crown will depend on your teeth’s condition and the issues you want to fix. After checking your mouth, your dentist will decide which route to take. These oral professionals will help you pick the best solution based on the following principles: dental crowns are both restorative and cosmetic, while veneers are exclusively cosmetic.
If you have a damaged tooth, your dentist will recommend a crown to be placed after addressing your oral problems. Conversely, veneers are the best option to provide a better-looking smile in patients with healthy teeth.