How Crowns and Veneers Restore and Enhance Your Smile

If you’ve been wondering how you can restore or improve your smile’s health, function, or appearance, crowns or veneers may hold the key.

Crowns and veneers both cover existing teeth to restore and elevate your smile’s health and appearance, though each restoration varies in its overall purpose, preparation, thickness, and total tooth coverage. Here’s some crowns vs veneers information for you to know their similarities and differences, so you can partner with your dentist for your smile goals.

Crowns

From enduring the force of chewing to making your smile unique, your natural teeth are one of your body’s most amazing structures. Though for all the ways you can depend on your smile, there is simply one thing that your teeth are unable to do: self-repair after tooth decay or damage.

Given this reality, learning that one of your teeth has been compromised due to a cavity or an injury can, at first, feel overwhelming or devastating. You may worry that you’ve lost the ability to chew your favorite foods or that your smile will never look full and natural again. Fortunately, you have no reason to panic. A timely trip to your dentist for a crown restoration can help you save a tooth that’s decayed or damaged while restoring your smile’s fullness and function.

What is a dental crown?

To answer your crowns vs veneers question, you’ll need an overview of what a dental crown is. At approximately 2 millimeters thick, a dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that completely surrounds a tooth that’s cracked, broken, weak, misshapen, or severely decayed. Made of porcelain, precious metals, or a combination of the two, a crown protects a compromised tooth from further damage and decay while restoring your ability to chew normally and smile confidently.

Because crowns are typically placed on back teeth (molars and premolars), they’re designed for long-lasting wear and durability. All crowns are meticulously crafted to precisely fit a patient’s tooth and bite. To further create a lifelike appearance, porcelain and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are color-matched to seamlessly blend with natural teeth.

To prepare your tooth to receive a crown, your dentist will remove the part of your tooth structure that is damaged or decayed beyond repair while leaving enough natural tooth to support your crown’s placement. Your dentist will then take accurate impressions of your upper and lower arches of teeth, which will be used to custom-mill your crown at a specialized dental laboratory. While your crown is being crafted, you’ll wear a temporary crown until your next appointment to keep your tooth covered and protected.

Once your crown is ready, your dentist will make any final adjustments before securely bonding your crown to your tooth. The final result is a beautiful, long-lasting restoration and a smile that’s fully functional, healthy, and resilient.

Veneers

Every time you laugh, smile, or speak, your teeth rise up to take center stage. While this may be a carefree act, these everyday human expressions can become something you dread if you’re unhappy with your smile’s appearance.

Because your smile is so prominently featured in most professional and social situations, how you feel about your smile’s appearance can strongly influence your self-esteem and freedom of self-expression. But with some help from porcelain veneers, you can craft a smile that meets and exceeds your expectations, so you can exist with a greater sense of ease and self-confidence.

What are porcelain veneers?

To understand whether you’ll need crowns vs veneers, here’s more information about veneers:

At approximately 1 millimeter thick, porcelain veneers are wafer-thin “shells” that envelop the front surface of targeted teeth to correct stains, discoloration, gaps, chips, unevenness, “gummy smiles,” and misalignment. Porcelain veneers are made of durable dental porcelain, which is available in over a dozen tooth-colored shades. Revered for their natural appearance and versatility, porcelain veneers are typically used to dramatically transform a patient’s smile’s radiance, evenness, beauty, and overall appearance.

After a cosmetic consultation, a porcelain veneer restoration is typically completed in just two visits. During your first visit, your dentist will take accurate impressions of your teeth after removing a very thin layer (approximately 5 mm) of tooth enamel from the front surface of targeted teeth to make space for your veneers. Like crowns, your impressions will be used to custom-craft your veneers at a specialized dental laboratory. While your veneers are being crafted, you’ll wear temporary veneers that protect and cover your teeth and allow you to see and experience how your new smile will take shape.

At your next visit, your smile will undergo its final transformation. To promote the most comfortable experience, you’ll first receive local anesthesia before your dentist refines the shade and fit of your freshly minted porcelain veneers. Your dental team will then clean, polish, and lightly etch the surface of your teeth for ideal bonding. Lastly, your dentist will securely bond each veneer into place before making any final adjustments and sending you back into the world with a long-lasting restoration that’s functional, beautiful, and completely radiant.

Whether you receive a crown or porcelain veneer restoration, maintenance and care is exactly the same as caring for your natural teeth. Brush and floss twice daily, visit your dentist twice annually for cleanings, treat teeth grinding and clenching, and practice lifestyle habits that support your oral and overall health and well-being.

Whatever your unique dental situation, Dr. Miedema and the entire Tory Hill Dental team are always available to help you explore your restoration options, so you can receive the treatment you want and need for a smile that’s brilliant and healthy. To schedule an appointment or cosmetic consultation, contact our office today.