Front teeth crowns vs veneers – which is the better choice?
Choosing between crowns and veneers for your front teeth isn’t an easy decision. Nevertheless, it is an important one, both aesthetically, functionally, and in terms of your dental and overall health.
Your front teeth are your most visible teeth, so if they don’t look good and healthy, your confidence and mood can be dramatically impacted. Having healthy front teeth is also important, as your front teeth are used for chewing as well as for keeping the rest of the teeth in your mouth in place.
One thing is certain: If your front teeth have been damaged, whether due to tooth decay, illness or accident, you should definitely get them replaced with either crowns or veneers. In this article, we’ll go through all of the pros and cons of choosing front teeth crowns vs veneers with the purpose of helping you choose the option that is right for you.
Dental crowns vs dental veneers – what are the differences?
First of all, what are the defining differences between dental crowns and veneers, and how might these differences impact whether you should choose one option or the other for your front teeth?
In this section of the article, we’ll go through all of the defining features that characterise dental veneers and crowns.
Crowns cover the entire tooth, veneers only cover the front surface
One of the most important differences between dental crowns and veneers is that a dental crown covers the entire tooth, whereas veneers cover only the front surface of the tooth.
For this reason alone, veneers tend to be used to cosmetically and functionally restore teeth that have sustained only minor damage. A good example would be a chipped tooth, or a tooth that has been discoloured with age. Although you can get purely cosmetic veneers to improve the appearance of your teeth, veneers are also suitable for strengthening and repairing chipped or weakened teeth.
Crowns, on the other hand, are more frequently used to restore and nearly replace the whole tooth if it has sustained more substantial damage. Crowns can be used to protect and maintain damaged teeth that would otherwise have to be extracted or fully replaced by dental implants. One example of when a crown might be needed is after a root canal treatment that has left your tooth in a weak condition. Here, a dental veneer might not be enough to protect the original tooth, and your dentist may recommend a crown instead.
Crowns are two milimetre thick, veneers are one millimetre thick
Crowns are about twice as thick as veneers. A typical dental crown is 2 mm thick, while a veneer tends to be only 1 mm thick.
While a difference of 1 millimetre might not seem like much, you are sure to notice the difference in your mouth. A crown will inevitably feel thicker and more alien in your mouth than a veneer, at least until you get used to it being there.
The question of thickness is particularly important when we are talking about your front teeth, as the space between your front teeth is where the tip of your tongue is often resting. If you loose even a millimetre of space, you are bound to notice it. Getting used to your tongue having less space may not be a pleasant experience, so this is worth considering.
Crowns tend to last longer than veneers
An important point in favor of choosing a dental crown is that crowns tend to last much longer than dental veneers.
Because dental crowns are thicker and cover the entire tooth, they are much sturdier and less likely to either break or fall out than dental veneers.
Dental crowns on front teeth tend to last up to 15 years on average.
Front teeth veneers, on the other hand, can last anywhere between 4 and 12 years, depending on what kind of material they are made of. Composite resin veneers tend to be cheaper, but they will also have to be replaced much sooner, typically within 4-8 years. Porcelain veneers, while more expensive, also tend to last significantly longer – anywhere between 10-12 years on average.
Crowns are usually cheaper than veneers
Depending on your dentist clinic’s location and the material used, crowns are almost always the more economical option compared to veneers.
Because crowns also tend to last longer, it makes sense to choose crowns if you are on a tight budget. Provided that you take good care of it and choose a high-quality material, your crown will only have to be replaced every 15 years or so. Veneers, on the other hand, are unlikely to last any longer than a decade, even if you opt for porcelain veneers and take excellent care of them.
Crowns are usually covered by insurance, veneers usually aren’t
In addition to being slightly less expensive than veneers, crowns are also in most cases covered by dental insurance while veneers are not.
The reason for this is that you can go to a cosmetic dentist and get veneers simply to improve the appearance of your teeth. Crowns, on the other hand, are only used when medically necessary to protect and restore a tooth.
Veneers are more aesthetically pleasing
All in all, veneers look more aesthetically pleasing than crowns. A veneer affixed to a tooth surface is practically invisible and is going to look like a natural tooth surface, whereas a crown may look ever so slightly more unnatural when someone gets up close.
Veneers and crowns are both fantastic and natural looking options, though. If you cannot afford veneers or get veneers covered by your dental insurance, don’t fret: Crowns can look very good and very natural too.
Crowns vs veneers dental procedures
The dental procedures for getting veneers and crowns are slightly different. Here is a quick overview over both procedures.
When getting crowns for your front teeth, your dentist will start by creating moulds of your existing tooth as it is. Your dentist may use a combination of putty moulds and x-rays. These will be sent off to a dental lab where the crown itself will be made. While waiting for your permanent crown, you’ll usually be wearing a temporary crown. The temporary crown may feel a little clunky and annoying, but at least you will not have to wear it for long.
Once your permanent crown is ready to be affixed, your dentist will start by preparing the tooth. This inevitably involves the dentist grinding down the original tooth enough to make space for the crown. This is all done under local anesthetic.
Once the tooth has been repaired, the crown is affixed using a special dental cement. As soon as the cement has dried, you’ll be able to chew and use your mouth normally.
Your new crown may feel a little strange at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it being there.
When getting veneers your dentist will start by grinding down about half a millimeter of enamel from just the front surface of your tooth in order to slim it down and make space for the veneer. It is important that your dentist creates enough space so that the veneers will sit perfectly in your mouth without impeding your bite.
Your dentist will then create a putty mould of your prepared tooth. This mould will be sent off to a lab where the veneer itself will be created. While waiting for your permanent veneer to come back from the lab, your dentist will apply one or multiple temporary veneers to the prepared teeth.
Once your permanent veneer is ready, your dentist will affix it to the front of your tooth using special cement. As soon as this has dried, you’ll notice the cosmetic improvement to your tooth’s appearance, and you’ll be able to use your teeth as normal right away.
Veneers vs crowns: What should you ultimately choose for your front teeth?
So, what is the final verdict – should you choose crowns or veneers for your front teeth?
Hopefully you have read this article all of the way through and have already reached your own conclusion by now. There is no completely perfect replacement for a natural tooth, but crowns and veneers are both great options. There is no clear choice that is better than the other.
There are, however, plenty of individual considerations you should think about when choosing between crowns and veneers for your front teeth.
In some cases, your existing tooth or teeth may be so damaged or weakened that crowns becomes the default option. If this is the case for you, your dentist is sure to inform you that crowns is the better option.
However, if the damage is minimal, or if you are considering a purely cosmetic dental procedure, veneers is usually the best choice you could make. If you don’t have a dental insurance to consider, veneers are the more appealing option as they are less clunky and indisputably the best-looking teeth restoration option available.
Dental crown vs dental veneers FAQ
Do veneers last longer than crowns?
No, in fact it is the other way around. Dental. crowns tend to last significantly longer than veneers.
How long your crowns or veneers last depends on numerous things, including how well you take care of them, whether you grind your teeth, and the material they are made of. Because there are so many moving parts it is impossible to say precisely how long a crown or veneer is going to last, but as a rule of thumb crowns tend to last several years longer than veneers.
To ensure that your own crowns or veneers last for as long as possible, start out by choosing the best and most durable material offered by your dentist, which is usually porcelain. Choosing a more sturdy material is more expensive up front, but it can save you money in the long run as your crown or veneer will last you for much longer.
Can crowns look as good as veneers?
Never say never, but in most cases, veneers are going to look better and more natural than crowns.
The reason why veneers almost always look better than crowns is that a veneer is only a very thin layer of porcelain that sits on the front of your tooth’s surface. Veneers look pretty much exactly like natural teeth, and in many cases, they look even better than natural teeth.
By contrast, crowns are much thicker and cover the entire tooth. Usually, your dentist will have to file down your original tooth, leaving only a small portion of it visible above the gum line. Although your dentist will be able to match the color of the crown to the color of your existing tooth, the overall effect can still look slightly less natural than what you would be able to achieve with veneers.
Are crowns cheaper than veneers?
Yes, crowns tend to be slightly less expensive than veneers.
Having said that, crowns are often covered by dental insurance while veneers often aren’t. The reason for this is that many insurance companies don’t consider veneers medically necessary, simply because it is possible to get cosmetic veneers to improve the appearance of your teeth. Crowns, however, are recognised as medically necessary, for example after a root canal treatment or sustaining damage to your tooth as the result of an accident.
Dental insurance considerations aside, it is important to note that crowns tend to last longer than veneers, so if you are paying out of your own pocket, you may want to go with the longer-lasting option.
Do crowns on front teeth look natural?
Yes, crowns on front teeth can look very natural, particularly if you choose a porcelain crown.
If a natural tooth appearance is your priority, consider getting veneers instead, as they can look even more natural and discreet than crowns.