If you have aesthetic issues with one or more teeth but you don’t need a full tooth replacement, dental crowns and dental veneers are popular options to address chips, cracks, gaps, discoloration, decay, or mild misalignment. While each option has its pros and cons, both have high success rates and can last years with proper care. Here’s what you need to know about crowns and veneers to make the best decision for your aesthetic goals and budget:
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a natural-looking prosthetic cap about 2 millimeters thick, made from porcelain or porcelain fused to a metal alloy, that covers the entire tooth. In order for the cap to fit securely, a portion of the natural tooth will need to be filed down, and in most cases you will get a temporary crown to wear until a permanent crown is fabricated by the dental lab. Once it is ready, Dr. Salami will replace the temporary version and adjust the permanent crown for fit and bite before cementing it into place. Crowns can also be used as bridges to replace missing teeth, with two crowned teeth supporting a whole prosthetic tooth that fills the gap.
What is a dental veneer?
A dental veneer is a thin porcelain shell, about 1 millimeter thick, that is bonded to the front of an existing tooth to cover damage or decay. While veneers also require some preparation to the affected tooth, it’s not as significant as the filing required for a crown. About half a millimeter of enamel is removed to both roughen the surface for better bonding, and also to allow room for the veneer so it will fit in perfectly with your surrounding teeth. As with crowns, you will get a temporary veneer to wear while the permanent one is fabricated, and the final version will be bonded with a special dental cement that is hardened with an ultraviolet lamp.
What is the cost of crowns vs veneers?
The cost of crowns and veneers will depend on the size of the tooth, the location in your mouth, and average prices in your area, but in general the average cost of a dental crown ranges anywhere from $900-$2,500 per tooth, while the cost of a dental veneer ranges from $800-$2,500 per tooth. While many dental insurance policies will cover a portion of the costs for crowns if they are needed to address severe damage or decay, policies typically do not cover crowns for purely cosmetic reasons. Similarly, because veneers are most often used for aesthetic enhancement and not dental necessity, they are not covered by most dental insurance policies, but most dentists offer financing options to make dental restoration accessible.
Which tooth restoration option is right for me?
If you want to cover up stains, minor cracks or chips, slight gaps, or mild misalignment, dental veneers are a popular, minimally-invasive option. However, if you need to cover a large filling, severe discoloration from a root canal, or the tooth in question is very worn or deeply cracked, a dental crown will offer much more protection and strength compared to a dental veneer. Other differences between crowns and veneers:
- Crowns are better for protecting teeth from decay, while veneers leave more of your natural tooth exposed.
- The margin between the gums and the base of a crown can increase over time, but veneers are more aesthetically pleasing in the long run.
- Crowns look and feel like natural teeth, but a crowned tooth may be more sensitive to heat and cold for a while after the procedure.
Dental restoration in San Diego County
If you live in Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Escondido, or the surrounding areas and you want to once again smile with confidence, dentist Dr. Pegah Salami can help you decide which dental restoration option is best for you. For more information about dental crowns and veneers, or to schedule a consultation, call us at (858) 673-1000.