Everyone wants a fantastic smile. Porcelain veneers and dental crowns are two very popular and seemingly similar procedures that can help you achieve a memorable smile, so which one is right for your needs? The treatments are similar, but they are used in different situations.

Woman pointing at her teeth.  Are those crowns or veneers?

The Difference

It is important to understand the difference between these two similar procedures. Porcelain veneers differ from crowns in that they are mostly for cosmetic purposes. When you get porcelain veneers typically only the front of your teeth will be reshaped and bonded to the veneer. Porcelain veneers are a great option if whitening has not been successful, or if you want to adjust the shape or length of your teeth. Porcelain veneers can also be used to straighten your teeth instead of orthodontics. Sometimes people who have previously had orthodontics want veneers because they’re still unhappy with the appearance of their smile.

Crowns operate in much the same way as porcelain veneers, but whereas veneers are only bonded to the front of your teeth, crowns actually fit over the entire tooth. They will cover the entire visible surface of the tooth. This makes them a great option if the actual structure of the tooth has been compromised. If your tooth has been weakened by decay, crowns can restore strength. Crowns are great if the tooth has decayed or has been damaged to the point that inner pulp has been exposed. Once the pulp has been exposed, we will generally recommend a root canal in case the pulp chamber has been infected.

Although dental crowns are often considered a reconstructive procedure compared to the cosmetic procedure of porcelain veneers, crowns are often used cosmetically when restorations have to be stronger, such as when we’re building up a small tooth like a peg lateral or retained baby tooth.

Ask Your Dentist

If you find that you aren’t sure which is right for you, we recommend that you visit a dentist before you make up your mind. A good dentist will be able to examine your teeth and identify troubled areas that may require crowns instead of porcelain veneers. Plus, both porcelain veneers and crowns are a lifelong commitment, so you should really weigh what options are available to you before you make your decision. Dr. Siegel can sit down with you and help identify which procedure is right for your individual needs.

If you would like to discuss porcelain veneers and crowns with a cosmetic dentist in Philadelphia, please give Dental Excellence of Blue Bell a call at (610) 272-0828 today.