Porcelain Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: What's The Difference?

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If you’re seeking to improve the appearance of your smile, you’ve likely heard of two methods of dental enhancement – crowns and veneers. At first glance, these two restorative solutions may seem interchangeable, but porcelain veneers and dental crowns serve entirely different purposes. Your dentist will recommend one over the other, depending on what you need to accomplish with your smile enhancement procedure.

Porcelain Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: What's The Difference?

The most significant difference between dental veneers and dental crowns is their functionality. Porcelain veneers are a cosmetic treatment designed to improve the appearance of your smile, which means they are not there to strengthen or repair your teeth. For permanent veneers, your dentist must strip away some of the enamel from the surface of your tooth to bond the veneer. Although this does not actively damage your teeth, stripping away the enamel can cause sensitivity. On the other hand, dental crowns may enhance the look of your teeth, but they are mainly there to restore and protect teeth that have been damaged by decay or injury.

Most insurance will cover at least part of the cost of dental crowns since they serve a practical purpose, but veneers are considered cosmetic enhancement. They are, therefore, not typically covered by insurance. Veneers are also not an option for people with compromised oral health, such as cavities or gum disease, which would need to be addressed before you could consider cosmetic enhancements like veneers.

Because they serve different purposes, crowns and veneers also cover different areas of a tooth. A dental crown is placed over the entire tooth, adding strength and protection, while porcelain veneers only cover the front surface. Although they should both last a long time, veneers may need replacement after 10-15 years, whereas crowns should last a lifetime. Porcelain veneers and dental crowns require virtually identical care – you must brush and floss them the same as your natural teeth to keep them looking and functioning correctly. Regular check-ups and cleanings from your dentist will also help ensure they are in good condition.

Although veneers and crowns may seem remarkably similar, they are entirely different enhancement methods that each serve a distinct purpose. If you want to enhance your smile but need to know whether veneers or crowns are the best option, talk with your dentist to learn more about which would be the best fit for your dental goals.