3 Scenarios When A Dental Crown Is A Better Choice Than Porcelain Veneers

Dental crowns and porcelain veneers can serve similar functions in cosmetic dentistry and, therefore, can be used somewhat interchangeably. Both consist of a tooth-colored material used to cover imperfections on the surface of the tooth. But while a veneer only bonds to the front of a tooth, a crown can cover more or all of the tooth. And sometimes the setup of a dental crown gives this method a clear advantage over a porcelain veneer.    

Here are a few scenarios when a dental crown will likely be a better treatment choice than a porcelain veneer.

Structural Damage

Does your tooth have substantial structural damage due to a deep cavity or a recent trauma? A dentist (such as Artistic Dentistry by Gerard Wasselle, DMD) will likely recommend a dental crown for treatment.

Veneers only bond to the front of the tooth and so aren't much help when it comes to covering damage on the upper surface of the tooth. A veneer also depends upon the structure of the tooth to hold the veneer in place. So structural damage could in fact threaten the stability of the veneer.

A dental crown, however, can be bonded around the entire exterior of the tooth to serve as a protective shell. The crown still needs enough viable tooth for sanding and bonding, but that's far less needed tooth than with a veneer.

Undersized Teeth

Are a few of your teeth smaller than the corresponding teeth on the other side of your mouth? Undersized teeth can cause bite issues and appear to give you an asymmetrical smile.

A veneer could make the front of a tooth look larger. But if you have several teeth that need substantial building, you might be better off with a dental crown. The crown itself is somewhat bulky. So even after the tooth is shaved down for bonding, the crown can make the overall tooth look larger.

Molar Issues

The molar teeth in the rear of your mouth are wide and cusped to take the brunt force of your chewing or bite force. Cosmetic dentistry on molars is made difficult because of that bite force, which is strong enough over time to chip or otherwise damage a porcelain veneer.

A dental crown would offer better protection to a molar as the crown has more surface area to absorb the bite force. But you still want to be more careful than usual when chewing with a crowned molar. Even the metal-backed porcelain crowns can chip under too much force.