Individuals with severely damaged or stained teeth may find the world of cosmetic dentistry intriguing if not a bit puzzling, says OKC dentist Dr. Damon R. Johnson. According to Dr. Johnson, crowns and porcelain veneers are perhaps the two most confused dental procedures. The OKC dentist says that, despite their similarities, crowns and veneers are two distinct options.
Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that essentially replace the tooth’s enamel. Think of them as being similar to contact lenses. A porcelain veneer attaches to the surface of a tooth. The OKC dentist notes that veneers require removal of some of the natural enamel. This 1 mm minimization allows the veneer to stay in place without making the teeth look bulky. Veneers are a wonderful solution for a host of cosmetic imperfections, including poor colorization, undesirable shape, or visually displeasing contours. The OKC dentist further explains that porcelain veneers may be used to cover fractured teeth, change tooth position, or correct minor bite issues. For teeth that do not respond to bleaching, veneers are an excellent option for covering stained or spotted teeth.
A crown differs from a veneer in that it entirely replaces the natural enamel of a tooth, says OKC dentist Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS. The term “cap” is used interchangeably with crown. Regardless of what they are called, the OKC dentist explains that these dental devices replace the external covering of a tooth in its entirety – all the way down to the gum level. A crown will inhibit further decay and guard against future damage.
The OKC dentist recommends crowns when patients have worn their natural teeth through nighttime grinding or poor lifestyle choices. Like porcelain veneers, crowns are exceptionally effective at changing the color and shape of teeth. They are a more appropriate option when the tooth or teeth have been severely damaged and require a greater portion of the surface to be replaced, explains the OKC dentist.
Porcelain veneers and crowns have a similar primary end goal, the OKC dentist explains – to create a beautiful and functional smile. The primary determining factor on which method is chosen is the amount of tooth that is damaged. Both options use a glass-like porcelain material that must be reinforced if used for back teeth, which are prone to more intense biting forces. Though crowns and veneers are an excellent way to correct slight imperfections, they are not a solution for poor tooth position or extreme bite issues, says the OKC dentist. In these cases, orthodontic treatment may be necessary prior to the installation of a ceramic dental device.