A common question that surfaces in the mind of patients is: "Should I choose a dental crown or a veneer"? Here are the answers you've been looking to get.
Why do I need a dental veneer or crown?
For one, your teeth are damaged or decayed, exposing the dentin and pulp. Or they may be discoloured and worn out, with parts that have chipped off. For another, treatment is needed to protect these tiny but indispensable structures from wear and tear.
What is a restoration?
This is a procedure that brings a tooth back to its original state, or better. The dentist first prepares the work site by cutting away the damaged or decayed chipped tooth. Then he or she places material to cover over the exposed dentin and pulp. In smaller areas, this can be fixed with a filling. However, when the defect is larger, or for aesthetic reasons, either a veneer or a crown may be used.
What are dental veneers?
These are thin shells or laminate layers that are adhered to the tooth. Mostly done on the front surface for cosmetic reasons, they are effective when the dentin and pulp are not exposed. Veneers are custom-made to suit the shape, size, and colour (shade) of your natural neighbouring teeth.
Dental veneers, whether made of a porcelain veneer or resin composite materials, are thin shells custom-made to cover only the front surface of the teeth. They are a popular choice for correcting cosmetic imperfections such as chipped teeth, misshapen teeth, or tooth discoloration. Composite veneers offer a more affordable option, while traditional porcelain veneers typically provide longer-lasting results with their natural appearance and durability. If you want no grinding down included, your doctor might recommend no-prep veneers.
What are dental crowns/caps?
Dental crowns, on the other hand, are tooth-shaped caps that cover the entire tooth. They are commonly used to restore damaged or weakened teeth, such as those with large fillings, cracks, tooth decay, or after root canal treatment. Crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), or metal crowns, each offering different benefits in terms of aesthetics, strength, and durability.
It acts as a protective layer that encircles the underlying tooth structure. It is like a cap1 on a tooth that has been reduced due to root canal treatments and large cavities. The crown restores both structure and strength that have been compromised by chips and cracks. Think of it as a bumper for your car - if there is a high force on your bumper, it will break but the frame will still be protected. Similarly, if there is any high force that is large enough to damage the tooth, the crown breaks instead, absorbing the impact.
What are the factors to consider when choosing between veneers and crowns?
Cosmetic Improvement vs. Restorative Function: When deciding between dental veneers and crowns, it is essential to consider the primary purpose of the treatment. Veneers are primarily cosmetic and focus on improving the appearance of the teeth, while crowns serve both cosmetic and restorative functions, strengthening and protecting damaged teeth.
Extent of Tooth Preparation: Veneers require minimal tooth preparation or reduction, usually involving the removal of a thin layer of enamel, whereas crowns often require more extensive tooth preparation to accommodate the crown's thickness. No-prep veneers offer an alternative for those concerned about preserving their natural tooth structure.
Longevity and Maintenance: Porcelain veneers typically last longer than composite resin veneers and may require less maintenance over time. However, both veneers and crowns require proper care and maintenance including good oral hygiene habits, regular dental check-ups and dental treatments to ensure their longevity and functionality.
How do you choose the right dentist?
Indications of a good professional include one that will explain to you what your condition is and what treatment options you have. This includes all the pros and cons of picking each procedure, as well as long-term considerations. When you are settling for a permanent, long-lasting treatment, you need to be assured that the dentist is capable of delivering an outcome that you will be satisfied with in the long run.
Your choice actually lies between digital versus traditional dentistry. The dentist might be best able to advise whether to restore teeth using a crown or a veneer. However, being the patient, you have the autonomy to select an expert who has upgraded their skills to the newer revolutionary methods. Talk about intra-oral scanners that are less intrusive, versus traditional unpleasant impressions. The most dedicated professionals invest in technology such as the 3D intra-oral scanner to design your smile. By contrast, traditional dentists sub their work out to dental laboratories and the quality of the job depends on the technician's skill.
What is involved in a visit to the dentist for dental veneers and crowns?
To answer this question, the typical traditional dentist’s workflow must be explained. For cosmetic dental procedures and crowns, they first prepare your tooth to create the space it takes to fit in. They then make a mould or impression of your prepared tooth and send it to the traditional laboratory. Next up, they place or restore a temporary preparation on your tooth, and this marks the end of the first appointment.
Typically, you have to wait about two weeks until the laboratory has made your restoration. In the meantime, do keep in mind the following. First, the temporary fixture is rough, hence you should be careful to not dislodge it when brushing and flossing. Second, you ought to avoid chewing hard or sticky foods on that side so as not to break it. After two weeks, you will have to go back to the dentist and they will place the permanent dental crown.
Alternatively, you can narrow down your appointments to one if the products are made by a CEREC trained specialist. Instead of placing a traditional temporary crown or veneer, they can design your tooth immediately after the preparation work is done.
CEREC has revolutionised this conventional method. In general, the whole process of starting and completing the treatment can be done in around three hours. The first visit is the preparation which takes one hour. After that, you can go back to work or have coffee while you wait. The restoration will be CAD/CAM milled in our CEREC machine, individually stained, glazed and hand-finished. In an hour’s time, you return to the dental clinic and have the permanent material fitted in.
This means no more troublesome unreliable temporary restorations, and fewer appointments. The visit itself will be more pleasant with the 3D intra-oral scanning experience, compared to the normal dental impressions that leave you gagging in the dental chair.
I want to improve my smile, can I do that with veneers in Singapore?
Veneers can change the shape and size of your smile to a more alluring appearance, with the bonus of teeth whitening.
However, if you require orthodontic treatment, you will be advised to go for it ahead of time. This is because your teeth need to be straightened before anything else is done to them. If the crookedness is massive, excess tooth material will be ground away and the structures will be reshaped. Not to mention, the orientation is essential as well. It is important to know how the occlusal surfaces of your top and bottom teeth impact enamel wear and tear.
So to sum it up, dental veneers2 are mainly used to restore a beautiful smile when sufficient tooth structure is available. They cannot be stained with coffee, tea, and wine. On the other end of the spectrum, dental crowns are used for more damaged structures as they provide wider coverage and protection, and also for replacing missing teeth.
Ultimately, the decision between veneers and crowns depends on various factors, including your specific dental concerns, budget, and desired outcome. Whether you opt for veneers or caps, the goal is to restore confidence in your smile and improve your overall dental health and well-being.
Our Commitment to Quality Dental Care
At Dental Designs Clinic, we offer same day crowns since we are capable of milling the restoration with our CEREC machine. Therefore, you only have to come for a couple of hours in one day to complete your treatment, unlike most other clinics which require two appointments. This frees up your valuable time.
Getting the restorations made in-house means we have total control over the designing, finishing, and quality of the process, as opposed to traditional dental laboratories whose work depends on the technician's skills. We strive to improve your overall oral health so you can have a normal life for years to come before you need to make another trip to your dentist!
- Walls AW, Steele JG, Wassell RW. Crowns and other extra-coronal restorations: porcelain laminate veneers. Br Dent J. 2002 Jul 27;193(2):73-6, 79-82. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.4801489. PMID: 12199127.
- Calamia JR. Clinical evaluation of etched porcelain veneers. Am J Dent. 1989 Feb;2(1):9-15. PMID: 2597374.