How do Porcelain Veneers Differ from Dental Crowns?

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain Veneers

In comparison to crowns, porcelain veneers just cover over the front side of a tooth.

Porcelain veneers are wafer thin.

As alluded above, crowns and porcelain veneers differ by way of their comparative thickness.

  • Porcelain veneers are wafer thin, typically measuring 1 millimeter in thickness or less.
  • Dental crowns usually have a thickness of 2 millimeters or more.

Less tooth grinding is required.

This means that significantly less tooth trimming is required when veneers are placed.

  • Less reduction is needed on the tooth’s front side, where the veneer is bonded.
  • No trimming is needed on the tooth’s backside.
  • With some veneering techniques no tooth reduction is needed at all.

This is a very important feature of veneers. It means that, as compared to crowns, when they are place less healthy tooth structure is sacrificed. Additionally, the preparation process is less traumatic for the tooth (and possibly the patient too).

Comparing characteristics and applications of crowns vs. veneers.

Crowns and veneers have their own individual set of characteristics that generally make one or the other more suitable for certain applications. Here are some of the factors dentists take into consideration when determining which one makes the better choice for a patient’s case.

Dental Crowns

dental crown

Dental Crowns

  • Can be used to produce a large color change for a tooth.
  • Can create significant shape changes for a tooth.
  • Are often used to rebuild and strengthen teeth that are badly broken or decayed.
  • Crowns are very strong and durable. They make a good choice in those situations where a tooth is exposed to heavy chewing or biting forces, or else forces created by tooth clenching and grinding (bruxism).
  • Placing a crown requires a significant amount of tooth reduction.
  • Once a crown has been placed on a tooth, it will always require one.

As you’ll see in the next list, as compared to crowns which can be used to rebuild and strengthen teeth, porcelain veneers are typically used in applications that are just cosmetic in nature.

Porcelain Veneers

Dental Veneers: Porcelain Veneer installation Procedure. 3D illustration

  • A case that utilizes both porcelain veneers and crowns.
  • Crowns are stronger and used to make larger shape changes.
  • Can be used to produce a color change for a tooth. Slight to moderate changes usually give the most life-like results.
  • Can create minor shape changes for a tooth.
  • Are placed on teeth whose underlying tooth structure is generally healthy and intact.
  • Are strong but brittle. Porcelain veneers typically do best in those situations where the forces placed upon them are relatively light or passive.
  • Require much less tooth trimming than dental crowns. Some veneering situations may require no tooth reduction at all.
  • In some special instances, porcelain veneer placement may be reversible. In most cases, however, once a veneer has been placed, the tooth will always require some type of covering. This might be another porcelain or other type of veneer, or else the tooth could be further reduced and a dental crown placed.

 

Instances when crowns and veneers barely differ at all.

Dental Crown

Dental Crown

There can be times when the distinction between an all-ceramic crown and (what’s referred to as a) veneer can be difficult to make at all.

What we’re referring to here is the growing trend where the treating dentist has elected to aggressively trim a tooth in preparation for its veneer. Cutting more deeply into it, and on more surfaces (sides), than outlined by the original, very conservative, protocol for this procedure.

For the most part, this type of zealous trimming is a symptom of the dentist applying veneering technique to a case for which it is not best suited. This would include using veneers to “straighten” severely misaligned teeth (“instant” orthodontics) or lightening darkly stained ones. (These types of cases are frequently plagued with longevity issues.)

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