There is much debate as to whether a veneer or a crown is the best for a patient. The question is even more confounded now that beautiful esthetic materials such as lithium disilicate and zirconia materials have become so popular. Since we are in the presidential debate season, we will discuss the pros and cons of a veneer versus a crown.
What is Veneer?
A veneer is a layer of material placed over a tooth, either to improve the appearance of a tooth or to protect the tooth’s surface from damage. There are two main types of material used to fabricate veneers: resin composite materials and ceramic. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth). A ceramic veneer is fabricated by a ceramist in a dental lab and later bonded to the tooth. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth
Routine Use of Veneers
Veneers are routinely used to fix:
- Teeth that are discolored — either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride, or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
- Teeth that are worn down
- Teeth that are chipped or broken
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them
- Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)
Advantages of a Veneer
The primary advantage of a veneer is that they offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape. They generally don’t require the extensive tooth removal (preserve enamel) like traditional crowns, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative. The reason veneers do not require extensive tooth removal is because a veneer requires enamel for its bond strength.
Disadvantages of a Veneer
- High Cavity Risk: If a patient has the presence of significant amount of caries or has a high caries index, crowns should be indicated.
- Abnormal Grindings Habits: abnormal grinding habits can be a contraindication due to the significant risk of veneer fracture.
- Lack of Enamel: If there is a lack of enamel remaining on the tooth, crowns should be indicated due to the decrease in bonding of the veneer.
- Teeth with Significant Malalighment: When teeth are not in the correct position, veneers can fracture. This is caused by the abnormal bite relationships of the teeth. Placement of veneers should be done when major tooth repositioning does not need to be accomplished.
Ceramic veneers are excellent restorations for some patients. Making the decision concerning which is best for a specific patient requires the proper diagnosis. Both veneers and crowns are excellent restorations that will provide function for many years of service. Our on-site ceramists have 20 plus years of fabricating ceramic veneers and crowns.
Please, contact PDG for your Smile Design Consultation!