Although porcelain veneers and caps (also called crowns) are somewhat similar dental treatments, they serve different purposes. The best choice between the two will depend on the needs and desires of the patient.
Veneers and crowns both require part of the natural tooth to be altered in order to be bonded to it. Because of this, both are considered permanent treatment options.
Typically, veneers are used for aesthetic reasons only on the front, “smiling” teeth. When a patient would like to correct the shape or color of their teeth, veneers make an excellent choice. Usually made of porcelain, veneers are formed into the thickness of a contact lens and are bonded to the natural tooth to disguise teeth that are crooked, cracked, broken, or discolored. The porcelain material looks, feels, and functions just like a natural tooth. For veneers, about 0.1 to 0.5 millimeter of the tooth’s enamel is etched away. Although this is a small amount, it will permanently alter the appearance of the tooth, and it will not look the same without the veneer attached to it.
Crowns are most often used in cases where much of the tooth structure is missing, which can be caused by tooth decay, root canal therapy, or accidental breakage. Since crowns are usually applied to posterior teeth, they are available in both natural-looking porcelain as well as less expensive materials that do not match surrounding teeth, such as gold, nickel, or chromium. Unlike veneers, crowns cover the tooth on all sides and require more of the natural tooth to be etched away. Although crowns can achieve all the aesthetic purposes that veneers can, they should only be used if absolutely necessary.
If you are considering porcelain veneers or caps in the Beverly Hills area, celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands can help determine which treatment is right for you. Please schedule a consultation today by calling (310) 273-0111 or filling out our online contact form.