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What’s the difference between porcelain veneers and dental crowns?

Dental crowns and porcelain veneers are both used to improve the appearance of your teeth, but they’re used for different reasons. Veneers have replaced dental crowns as a treatment for some situations, but the two aren’t interchangeable.

So what’s the difference and why are they used?

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers don’t restore teeth; they improve their appearance. They can only be used on the front teeth, and they can correct the following dental issues:

  • chipped or cracked teeth;
  • minor gaps between teeth;
  • minor misaligned teeth; and/or
  • misshapen teeth.

Dentists do not have to restructure the front teeth to make room for a veneer like they do crowns, so veneers are the preferred treatment when possible.

Veneers are also made to match the color of the rest of your teeth, making them nearly impossible to distinguish from the untreated teeth.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are typically used now to restore badly damaged teeth, such as a severely cracked tooth, and unlike veneers, they can be used on any teeth. Placing a crown is an extensive procedure that requires space be made for it in the mouth. As such, sometimes most of the tooth getting the crown has to be removed, but this is a far more favorable option than extracting the tooth.

Sometimes crowns are used to anchor replacement teeth in implants and bridges.

If you think you need either dental crowns or porcelain veneers, be sure to talk to your dentist first and discuss all options available for your situation.