Comparing applications for Crowns vs. Porcelain veneers.

This digital smile makeover can give you an idea of some applications where a dentist would probably choose to place dental crowns instead of porcelain veneers, and vice versa.

Either of these types of restorations can be used to give the cosmetic outcome. But they are quite different in nature and construction and therefore are most suited for different situations. (What's the difference between dental crowns and porcelain veneers?)

Case issues and concerns:

  • When you look at this person's smile, it seems that his center three teeth are set back just a little.
  • The biting edges of these same teeth are worn and chipped.
  • The left upper eyetooth seems prominent and especially pointed.
  • Lightening the color of these teeth would give them a more pleasing look.

Causes:

When looking at this smile, there are some tip-offs that a habit of tooth grinding (termed "bruxism") might have been involved in creating the wear. Here's why:

  • The biting edges of the 3 teeth that show are no longer rounded but instead appear very straight across.
  • The edges of two of these teeth also show evidence of chipping.

Both of these signs are characteristic of teeth worn down due to bruxism.

  • Discolored, worn and misaligned teeth.
    Discolored, worn and misaligned teeth. Discolored, worn and misaligned teeth.
  • Smile after dental crown and veneer placement.
    Smile after dental crown and veneer placement. Smile after dental crown and veneer placement.
 

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Treatment solutions:

1) Evening out this smile. -

In the "after" picture we've simulated how a combination of crowns and veneers might be used to improve the appearance of this smile.

His center three teeth (the ones with the wear) have been brought forward. And their biting edges have been straightened and lengthened slightly. (The patient's "bite" will dictate how much is possible.)

The teeth off to each side have been shortened just a little. Overall, these steps give this smile a more even and uniform look.

2) Crowns or veneers? -

  • Due to their strength and durability, dental crowns would probably make the most lasting choice for those teeth that have worn biting edges. (This would be especially true if the wear has been caused by a habit of tooth grinding.)
  • And any teeth that require a substantial shape change should also be treated by placing a crown. (This "crowns vs. veneers" graphic illustrates what we mean.)
  • Porcelain veneers would be more suited for those teeth that just need a color improvement and/or a minor shape correction.

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