Crowns vs. Veneers – Key Differences Explained
If a tooth or even several teeth become cracked, chipped, damaged or discoloured, there are several cosmetic dental treatments available which can help to quickly and effectively restore your wonderful smile. Two of the most common cosmetic dental procedures in Ireland used to restore the aesthetic of natural teeth are “crowns” and “veneers”.
Crowns Vs Veneers
Both dental crowns and veneers can achieve excellent results but they are often confused as one of the same. The reality is that these treatments are in fact very different procedures with different applications. To help you understand the differences between crowns and veneers, we have profiled the two treatments, explaining the procedures and recovery involved and the reasons why you should consider one treatment over the other.
A crown fits over your whole tooth right down to your gum line replacing the natural tooth’s outer surface and masking decay, cracks or chips. They are typically made of all porcelain and the treatment usually costs from €500 per tooth. With correct maintenance, crowns typically last 15 years but have been known to last up to 25 years.
Getting a crown typically takes just two trips to your dentist but if the tooth is severely decayed or damaged, it may take additional visits. Both your first and second dental procedure will be conducted under anaesthetic. On your first visit, a dentist will work to effectively remove all decay from the tooth in question. Once they have drilled out all of the decay, they will take a mould of the tooth which will be used by the lab to create a permanent crown. To cover the tooth in the meantime, your dentist will usually apply a temporary crown.
On your second visit, a dentist will replace your temporary crown with the permanent mould, testing the position of the crown and realigning and adjusting if required.
The numbness from the anaesthetic will typically wear off 4-5 hours after your dental treatment. After this time, you may experience some moderate pain or sensitivity so it can be wise to avoid eating particularly hot or cold food or drinks in the 2-3 days after treatment.
Why get crowns?
Crowns are most frequently used to repair teeth which are moderately to severely cracked or broken or where instances of decay cannot be repaired by a filling. They match the size and shade of your natural tooth.
Veneers are thin porcelain shells which are used to cover the front surface of the tooth rather than the entire tooth like a crown. The treatment typically costs from €450 per tooth and veneers can last up to 15 years with correct maintenance.
After an initial consultation where a dentist will examine your tooth and determine whether a veneer is a viable treatment for you, applying the veneer is typically conducted over an addition two trips to the dental clinic. During your first veneer, the dentist will remove enough enamel from the tooth to enable space for the veneer. They will make a mould of the tooth which be used by the laboratory to create your permanent veneer. A dentist may place a temporary veneer on your tooth while the lab is preparing your permanent veneer as this can take a number of weeks.
On your second visit, a dentist will prepare the tooth for bonding and cement the permanent veneer onto your tooth. The “cement” hardens upon application of a light/laser beam and any excess will be removed before you leave the clinic. Many dentists will require that you visit their clinic 1-2 weeks after the placement of your permanent veneers just so they can do a final check on the placement of the veneer and check the response of your gums to the treatment.
There is little to no recovery period involved with veneer treatments. If patients have been sedated for the treatment, they may experience numbness and sensitivity to very hot or cold foods in the 24 hours afterwards. Otherwise veneer patients are pretty much free to continue their daily routine directly after treatment.
Why get veneers?
Veneers are most frequently used to improve the appearance of permanently discoloured teeth where discolouration cannot be treated through teeth whitening treatments. Veneers are also used to improve the appearance of moderately broken, misaligned or worn down teeth.
If you’re confused about which treatment is the right fit for your needs, give us a call for a quick examination. An experienced dentist like Dr. Thomas Munroe will be able to appropriately recommend the correct treatment based on a quick examination of the problematic tooth/teeth.