Dental veneers and dental crowns are both cosmetic dentistry methods used to correct imperfections and improve the appearance of your smile. Veneers and crowns can be made of similar materials, but the application methods and coverage area are quite different.
How do you know whether veneers or crowns are right for you? Here are a few of the pros and cons of veneers versus crowns, but you should always consult with your dentist to find the right fit for your specific needs.
Pro: Fixes More Targeted Area
The most striking difference between veneers and crowns is the coverage area. A veneer is made to fit only over the front surface of the tooth while a crown is made to fit over the entire exterior of the tooth.
If your tooth has deep, substantial damage then the coverage of a crown is ideal because the crown will help prevent any further damage to the tooth. But if your problem is along the lines of surface cracks or pitting, a full on crown can seem like overkill.
Using veneers to cover surface issues leaves most of your natural tooth exposed so that chewing and speaking will still feel entirely normal.
Pro: Can Look More Natural
Veneers are made out of porcelain and dental crowns can be made of the same material. But fully porcelain crowns are weaker so metal-backed porcelain is more often recommended. The metal will show slightly at the bottom of the crown, near the gum, which isn't a problem for many patients but might bother you if the crown would be in the front of your mouth.
Veneers don't need a metal backing because the porcelain is covering a surface issue rather than the top of the tooth, which takes the majority of bite force. So the porcelain of a veneer can look more natural on a front tooth than a metal-backed crown.
Con: Greater Potential for Damage
The lack of metal backing on a veneer is great for appearances but does mean that a veneer can be easier to damage than a metal-backed porcelain crown. The crown has the advantage of both the backing and the wider surface area to better absorb any bite force or trauma. Porcelain on a veneer, while strong, can be cracked over time with forceful chewing or teeth grinding.
Consult with your cosmetic dentist (like Picone Dental - Vincent J Picone DDS) about the likelihood of a veneer chipping considering your current tooth health, bite force, and grinding habits. Depending on the answers, you might want to choose a crown instead of a veneer.