Crowns Vs. Veneers: What's Best For Me?

If you’re looking to cover up a tooth because of damage or dental imperfections, you might be having a hard time deciding what’s the best tooth restoration for you. Crowns and veneers are the best dental covers for teeth for cosmetic and restorative purposes. Read on in this blog from Sutter Dental Collective to find out how they differ and which one is right for you.

What They’re For: Crowns vs Veneers

Dental crowns offer both restorative and cosmetic purposes. They are typically used to hold a broken tooth together, anchor a bridge or dental implant, cover up dental imperfections, or protect a vulnerable tooth from damage. A crown is like a cap that is placed over a tooth and covers it on all sides. It is very durable and can last for 5-15 years depending on the material.

Veneers are cosmetic shells made of porcelain or composite resin that can cover up gaps, discoloration, chips or cracks, enamel erosion, minor crooked teeth, or teeth that are too small or oddly shaped. 

These shells only cover the front-facing surface of the teeth, so they are not as durable or strong as crowns and are not great for repairing severe tooth damage. If your problems with your teeth are mainly cosmetic, then veneers may be the best option for you. Porcelain veneers last for 7-15 years and composite resin veneers last for 4-8 years.

The Procedures

In both cases, we will need to remove a small amount of the tooth structure and take impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab. More structure will need to be removed in preparation for a crown. We will also use a shade guide to match your natural teeth to the restoration. 

It will take a few weeks for your crown or veneers to be ready and in the meantime, you will wear a temporary restoration. Then, you’ll return to check the fit and have it bonded to your tooth. A veneer is bonded to the front of your teeth, but crowns are placed over a tooth to cover it completely.

Appearance & Durability

Crowns are much thicker and come in a variety of materials. Some crowns may be silver or gold in color but more commonly, patients opt for a tooth-colored porcelain, ceramic, or zirconia crown. They also cover all sides of the tooth and provide a lot of protection from chewing forces.

Veneers, on the other hand, are much thinner and the natural tooth remains uncovered on all sides other than the front. Veneers, then, cannot repair severe structural damage and can only cover up minor aesthetic imperfections. Because they are thin and do not cover all of the tooth’s surfaces, they are only suitable for cosmetic use.

Insurance Coverage

Cosmetic procedures are seldom covered by insurance, which means you should expect to pay for veneers out of pocket. Dental crowns, on the other hand, could be covered by your dental insurance if they are needed out of medical necessity. 

Not all insurance plans will cover crowns that are made of porcelain, because this is considered a cosmetic material. Contact your insurance to find out what they cover and what limitations or restrictions there are.

Not Sure What to Choose? Come Into our SF Office for a Consultation

When it comes to deciding between veneers and dental crowns, it ultimately comes down to your reason for looking for a tooth restoration. Are you merely unhappy with the appearance of your teeth or do you have significant damage or missing structure from your teeth? 

Do you have any limitations such as budget, schedule, or insurance coverage? All of these factors will be taken into consideration at your consultation with Dr. Joyce Stein. Contact us at Sutter Dental Collective in San Francisco today to schedule an appointment.

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