Crowns are tooth-shaped ‘caps’ placed over natural teeth to cover all surfaces of the tooth and restore the tooth’s shape and size.
Veneers are really thin pieces of porcelain or dental resin that is glued onto your existing tooth structure. Unlike crowns, veneers usually only cover the front surface of the tooth. They are done to improve the appearance of the tooth.
Most veneer patients are encouraged to wear a nightguard to protect their veneers when they sleep – this is especially so if you grind or clench your teeth at night, as veneers tend to chip more easily.
Sometimes our tooth structure gets weakened by decay or is chipped. In this situation, you will need a crown to protect the remaining tooth structure. Other instances you may need a dental crown include:
Dental veneers can be used to correct:
Between the two, a crown enhances aesthetics and gives more strength. Veneers are usually only done for aesthetic reasons.
You can also do crowns and/or veneers on your front teeth to change the shape and colour and unevenness of the teeth if you think your teeth are too yellow or are not symmetrical! Sometimes the shape of the teeth do not match the shape of your face too. In which case, crowns and/or veneers on the front teeth to match your facial features can really enhance your smile!
If a crown is the best option for you, we will trim away the outer part of your tooth to make space for the zirconia or porcelain. We usually use digital impressions using a computerised scanner to take a 3 scan of your prepared tooth and the crown is fabricated in a digital lab. In some cases, the conventional approach is still needed and we take a mould of the remaining tooth structure. A plaster cast is poured from this negative impression and we then send a replica of your prepped tooth to the lab to fabricate the crown. A temporary crown is placed on the newly trimmed tooth while waiting for the lab to finish the crown. The permanent crown is fabricated in the lab and is cemented onto the prepped tooth a day to 2 weeks later.
If we decide that veneers are a better option for you, we will file away a little bit of your tooth structure on the front tooth surface. We file away a lot less tooth structure compared to a crown. We then make digital or conventional impressions of your tooth and send the information to the lab. Temporary veneers are given so you can “try” on these veneers to see if you like the shape and the way they feel! The final porcelain veneers are then glued on to your teeth permanently a few weeks later.
This includes regular flossing and gentle brushing. Make sure to also visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and to ensure your crowns and veneers are still in good condition!
Hard-bristled toothbrushes can damage the polish of your crowns and veneers, so make sure you use a soft toothbrush when you brush your teeth. Likewise, stay away from abrasive toothpaste that contains large particles. If you need recommendations, our dentists are happy to help.
Even though crowns and veneers are highly durable, you should still avoid biting on hard objects such as nuts, crab shells, ice and even your fingernails as this extra pressure can cause your crowns or veneers to be chipped or damaged.
Crowns and veneers are stain resistant; however, the adhesive used to bond them to your teeth is not. As such, this can cause the edges of your crowns and/or veneers to become discoloured. Staining agents include coffee, tea, and red wine.
With proper care and maintenance, crowns and veneers can last anywhere from 5-15 years.