By Deborah Pinnock on Nov 23, 2016 @ 11:02 AM
Options. If there is ever a word that describes one of the greatest benefits of the times we live in, it’s options. From having hundreds of television channels to watch, to an endless parade of grocery items to choose from, we are surrounded by many choices our parents or grandparents never had. Dental care is no different. Today, there are many attractive ways to treat and restore your teeth. For instance, you or one of the members of your household may be deciding on whether to get a crown, a veneer or both. But what are the differences between a dental crown and a veneer? While they do have some similarities, these two restorations vary in their design and purpose, their preparation and placement and their cost. Read more to understand the differences in detail so you can make the right choice for you and your family.
Design and purpose
A dental crown is a cover or “cap” that fits over a tooth. It’s typically made of porcelain, or porcelain along with other restorative dental materials. It’s one of the many ways of restoring a tooth that is damaged due to an accident, is weak and on the edge of breaking, or has broken due to decay. A cap is also used to anchor a bridge and cover dental implants.
Veneers are made from porcelain, as well as from composite resin material. They use a thinner layer of porcelain than crowns and they only cover one side of the tooth's surface, rather than fitting around the entire tooth. They are ideal for fixing cosmetic issues, such as teeth that are stained, chipped or misshapen.
Preparation and Placement
To prepare your tooth for the crown, your dentist will start by treating the damage to the tooth and then adjusting the shape of the tooth. For example, a dentist may perform a root canal on your tooth. Then, he or she will file down that tooth to the appropriate size and shape. Following that, your dentist will take an impression of the tooth (or teeth) and then send it off to a lab or utilize an onsite lab. While the cap is being made, you will have to wear a temporary one until the permanent one is complete.
The process of getting a veneer bears some similarities but is certainly different. The dentist removes a very thin layer of enamel from the tooth (teeth) being treated and then applies temporary veneers while the permanent ones are made. That may take about 10 days. Sometimes, the dentist will have the patient wear the temporary ones for a bit longer to allow the gums to heal before applying the permanent ones.
A cap usually costs between $800 to $1,500 or more per tooth, depending on the location of the tooth, the dentist you use and your dental insurance plan. It typically lasts from 5 years to 15 years or longer.
Veneers are a bit more expensive, costing anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per tooth and lasts for 10 to 15 years. Patients should note that smoking and caffeine stain natural tooth surfaces more quickly than this restoration, so limiting both will help eliminate uneven color.
The key to making the right decision is having a clear understanding of your choices. After that, the decision gets easier. If you are being presented with these two restorations as part of your dental treatment plan, keep in mind that both are great options to restore your smile and your confidence. Understanding the differences between a cap and a veneer will help you decide which option to go with. Caps are often necessary to prevent teeth from breakage that would require extraction, while veneers are used more often to correct cosmetic issues. Because both options can be expensive, be sure to get a good dental insurance and take advantage of extended payment plans, which can help defray the cost and provide you and your family with healthy and beautiful smiles.