Dental Veneers vs Crowns vs Implant Crowns

Crowns vs dental veneers — what’s the difference? And implant crowns? Which one’s right for your tooth reconstruction? That’s one of the first things your dentist will consider when choosing which direction to take when restoring a tooth. The decision really comes down to how much tooth structure your dentist has to work with.

In general, both restorative and cosmetic dentists try to save a natural tooth’s structure as much as possible, as opposed to shaving it down and crowning it, or worse, having to extract it. But trauma, decay, broken fillings and teeth cracked up to the nerve can sometimes put a wrench in the best dentist’s plan.

  • A dental crown covers the whole surface area of the tooth, and is used in back chewing teeth, as well as if so much of the tooth is broken that it can’t be fixed with dental bonding or a veneer.
  • A dental veneer only covers the front surface of the tooth, and is a good way to repair mildly-chipped teeth, discolored or crooked front teeth, or to stabilize teeth with cracked tooth syndrome.
  • An implant crown is an entire false tooth that caps a dental implant, which completely replaces an extracted or lost tooth.

All these methods are effective cosmetic dentistry procedures to improve the look of your teeth, but vary according to their functional use. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about the look of your smile, it’s about its function; so tooth veneers are appropriate in some cases, where crowns or even implant crowns are more appropriate in others.

What are Tooth Veneers?

When your tooth is mildly crooked, spaced weird, discolored, or chipped, the easiest way to repair it is with dental bonding or porcelain veneers. Veneers made of dental resin can cover more severe discoloration, but are a bit more opaque than natural teeth. Porcelain veneers look more like natural teeth, but are more prone to chipping, and just a little bit more translucent than natural teeth.

Both need to be replaced every so often, but your tooth doesn’t have to be permanently altered in an extreme way, such as with a crown, or completely removed, like with implant crowns. Do remember, though, both dental bonding and veneers do not whiten or stain the way your natural teeth do, so you can’t have teeth whitening done with tooth veneers or bonding.

What are Dental Crowns?

Most dental crowns are about 2mm thick. They cover the whole tooth and are ideal for rebuilding the strength of decayed or broken teeth. The beauty of dental and implant crowns is they are a very durable option. Versus veneers, crowns are ideal if you grind your teeth or your teeth are highly worn. Sometimes there is just not enough tooth structure to support a tooth veneer. A dental crown can be used to look like a healthy tooth in a beautiful smile.

What are Implant Crowns?

Implant crowns are the biomechanical upgrade to dental crowns. While a crown can cap a partially-extant tooth, an implant crown is meant to replace an entire tooth that’s been lost or extracted, and is one part of a 3-part titanium installation in your jaw. The implant itself replaces the lost tooth’s root. The abutment attaches to the implant and is what the implant crown is fitted to. Once the implant crown, which is usually porcelain or zirconia, is installed, the tooth looks and functions just like a natural one, long-term.

Not Everyone is a Candidate for Implant Crowns

When you are considering implant crowns vs tooth veneers vs dental crowns, keep in mind that implant crowns aren’t for everyone. Since part of an implant crown essentially screws into the bone of your jaw for a foundation, we naturally need to have enough bone to drill in, and healthy enough bone to properly integrate the implant so the implant’s crown remains stable and in place.

Unfortunately, if a tooth socket has been left empty for too long, the jaw starts to deteriorate or reabsorb. Smokers, especially heavy smokers, may also have problems with dental crowns. Their jaw line may be too deteriorated. Also, smoking blocks blood flow, making it more difficult for your mouth to heal. You may not be able to recover properly from the procedure if you smoke.

With veneers and crowns, we don’t have to take the jaw bone into account, so virtually all patients can have these restorative/cosmetic dental procedures done to repair broken teeth. But the viability of implants and implant crowns depends on the individual.

Sometimes we can do a bone graft to support the deteriorated jawbone. But if there’s too much damage or too many broken and lost teeth to repair, we’ll have to find another option for you, like dentures or a tooth-supported dental bridge.

The good news is, quitting smoking can improve your body’s ability to heal. It’s never too late. It’s good for your health, and that includes dental health. But that’s just the advice of a top Cincinnati family dentist.

Tooth veneers are ideal if:

  • Your teeth have become discolored.
  • You need a chipped tooth repaired.
  • A front tooth is slightly crooked but not enough to justify orthodontia.
  • You need to disguise any teeth irregularities like gaps.

It only compromises the enamel and covers only the front portion of the tooth with a very thin layer of porcelain, instead of the whole tooth. A dental veneer is essentially surface deep, and is something you can choose not to do if you end up disliking having veneers on your teeth. Your teeth can be cleaned, polished, and if properly cared for, there’s no permanent damage.

Dental crowns are the right choice for:

  • Severely broken or chipped teeth
  • Severely discolored or irregular teeth
  • Teeth with severe decay
  • Damaged molars/chewing teeth

Since a crown covers the entire tooth, it makes more sense in cases where the tooth is already moderately to severely compromised. A crown, versus veneers, is a permanent choice, because the tooth has to be shaved down into a nub to have a crown fitted to it. The good news is, crowns, as opposed to veneers, completely protect and seal the entire tooth, protecting the pulp and the nerve. Veneers can stabilize teeth with mildly-compromised structure, but they only protect the front of the tooth.

Is it Time for Implant Crowns? Factors You & Your Dentist Will Consider

At its core, a tooth veneer is more of a cosmetic dentistry procedure. Crowns are used to fix damaged or broken teeth. Both can be used to repair a chipped tooth, but crowns are more comprehensive and for function, whereas veneers are really more for aesthetic purposes.

Dental veneers are specifically done by cosmetic dentists. Since the crown covers the entire tooth, it provides comprehensive coverage over the damaged area. Crowns are often used to cap root canals to protect the tooth from further decay. Tooth veneers on the other hand are used to cover stains and minor cracks.

Implant crowns are a whole different story, because we are talking about replacing not just the appearance and function of your smile, but the integrity of your jaw and all your other teeth. Implant crowns have different benchmarks because of their level of restoration and what it requires.

However, if you’re someone with missing teeth or teeth so severely damaged they can’t be saved, implant crowns, or even implant-supported bridges, are a superior option to more cosmetic dental installations like dentures or tooth-supported dental bridges.

More than Just a Cosmetic Dentist: We Offer Comprehensive Dental Work for All Your Family’s Needs

We are cosmetic dentistry specialists in the Cincinnati area, but we offer a complete range of dental services for your family. Essentially, we are a one stop shop for your family’s dental care – including dental emergencies. Whether you need a dental cleaning, regular checkup, emergency dental care, professional teeth whitening, or a root canal, we’re happy to help. Beckham Square Family Dental is here to serve you.

Getting all your care under one roof has its advantages. Cosmetic and general dentistry often overlap, and they also change over the course of life. We are experienced with and skilled in dentistry for all ages, from pediatric to geriatric, and we understand the unique needs of each.

Naturally, you’d seek a cosmetic dentist for such cosmetic procedures as teeth whitening and dental veneers, but working with a cosmetic specialist for other procedures is a good idea, too. Any work you need done can be designed to beautify your smile, including root canals, implant crowns, and dental bridges. Being able to seek skilled cosmetic dentistry from your family dentist is great because your cosmetic procedure like teeth whitening or dental veneers is done by someone who is familiar with the health of your mouth.

Whereas most dentists don’t pay as much attention to tooth color or how a filling will look in your smile, with us it’s always a primary consideration – after the health of your smile, of course. Healthy smiles are naturally beautiful smiles, too. And just as important as being able to chew and speak easily is appearing healthy and friendly because of a perfect smile. General, restorative and cosmetic dentistry are all interconnected.

Beckham Square Family Dental is the combined practices of Dr. Andrea Schmerler and Dr. Scott Malavich, top dentists in Cincinnati, Blue Ash and beyond. We focus on gentle dentistry. And yes, we’re accepting new patients. We’re great with kids. We’re gentle with adults. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form. We can’t wait to meet you!