Teeth need to be taken care of or else they can get damaged. Luckily there are procedures to fix or cover up this damage. Two such procedures are dental crowns and porcelain veneers. While they are both made of porcelain, they are quite different. It is important to fully assess your own personal situation before choosing which one is right for you.


Porcelain veneers serve a predominantly cosmetic function. When a patient goes in to get veneers, a thin shell is bonded to the front of one or more teeth in order to fix the appearance of said tooth or teeth. In order to place veneers, the dentist performing the procedure must remove a small amount of the tooth’s enamel so that the veneers fit properly. This is also important so that veneers don’t affect the patient’s bite.


Dental crowns are also porcelain shells, but instead of covering only one surface of the tooth, they fit over most of the tooth. Crowns fix a number of issues with the functions of teeth in addition to fixing cosmetic issues. Typically the tooth needs to be shaped so that the crown can fit over it while still sitting naturally with the other teeth.


An easy way to figure out which one you need is to look at what kinds of problems are resolved by each type of treatment. Patients typically get porcelain veneers for cosmetic issues that don’t have any effect on the functionality of the teeth. Veneers are good for solving stain-resistant discoloration, damage to the enamel, minor chips and cracks, minor misalignment, and eroded, short, or widely spaced teeth.


While dental crowns can fix these appearance-related problems, they are also an effective option for issues in which the tooth’s function has been compromised. Teeth that have been broken or cracked due to decay or trauma cannot be repaired with a veneer but they can be repaired by a crown. Crowns can also be helpful in building up teeth that negatively affect a patient’s bite. If a tooth has had root canal therapy, a dental crown can be used to protect that tooth.


After you get one of these restorations, it is important to take good care of them. Make sure to practice proper dental hygiene and to visit the dentist regularly. While both of these restorations are made of stain-resistant porcelain, staining is still possible if you don’t take proper care of your veneers or crowns. While natural teeth can be bleached, these restorations cannot. People with veneers or crowns also need to be cautious when eating. Try not to bite down on cherry pits or other hard substances. If you have a habit of chewing your nails or pencils it is a good idea to exercise restraint so as not to damage your veneers or crowns.
There is a big difference between veneers and crowns. If you still can’t decide which option is the best for you, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist. Both of these restorations are lifelong commitments, so it is important to think these decisions through carefully.