Dental Crowns in Cosmetic Dentistry

Porcelain veneers are widely known as the quintessential smile makeover solution, so much so that it can be a surprise when a cosmetic dentist recommends an alternative. Dental crowns are one such alternative that may leave you wondering, “But why use crowns instead of veneers?”

Every smile makeover is different because they are uniquely designed to meet your needs—both in regards to your aesthetic goals as well as your oral health. These differences also include the individual procedures your dentist may use to achieve your overall smile makeover goal.

Let’s take a closer look at why an experienced cosmetic dentist may recommend dental crowns rather than veneers.

Dental Crowns — Functional and Beautiful

Most people are familiar with dental crowns as a restorative dentistry procedure. A damaged tooth or a tooth that has had a root canal would get a dental crown because a filling wouldn’t be able to adequately protect the tooth. You might also know that dental crowns are a last resort to save a badly decayed tooth from needing to be extracted.

While dental crowns are traditionally a restorative procedure, they can also be used for cosmetic purposes. A dental crown completely encapsulates the tooth being treated, which means it can change the color and shape of the tooth to match the rest of your smile. The final result is a restoration that’s completely functional but also very beautiful.

In the case of a smile makeover, the combination of regaining function or strength and aesthetic appeal is a win-win.

Dental Crowns Versus Porcelain Veneers

Dental crowns and porcelain veneers do have some similarities, which is why crowns can be used in the place of a veneer while still getting a cosmetically similar result.

Both crowns and veneers change the appearance of a tooth. In the case of veneers, multiple teeth are usually treated. Porcelain veneers are placed individually, but are typically designed as a set to cover multiple teeth or even the entirety of a person’s visible smile.

Where these two procedures differ is the extent of repairing vulnerable teeth. Porcelain veneers will add some strength to otherwise healthy teeth, but they can’t compensate for badly damaged, chipped, or unhealthy teeth. Veneers are designed with cosmetic dentistry in mind, meaning they simply aren’t as durable as dental crowns.

In nearly all cases, dental crowns can be used as an alternative to porcelain veneers, but porcelain veneers can’t always be used as an alternative to crowns. For smile makeovers on fairly healthy, structurally sound teeth, veneers are a great solution! They are realistic, very beautiful, and make treatment very efficient. But for smile makeovers on teeth that have experienced some issues, veneers aren’t always the best choice.

When to Use Crowns for a Smile Makeover

A great cosmetic dentist will recognize when porcelain veneers may not be the most durable or effective procedure for a smile makeover. During your consultation, they will go over the reasons why they recommend dental crowns instead of veneers and discuss any concerns or questions you might have.

Here are the 5 most common examples of why a dental crown or multiple crowns would be recommended instead of veneers.

1. The tooth has significant damage or missing enamel.

A tooth that isn’t structurally sound will need more protection than veneers can offer. Remember, veneers require a layer of tooth enamel to be removed. If a tooth is already badly broken, cracked, or otherwise missing healthy enamel, a dental crown is going to offer the best protection.

2. The tooth requires significant reshaping or resizing.

Veneers can alter the shape of teeth, but these changes can only go so far. For a tooth that’s abnormally shaped or very small, a dental crown is going to make it much easier for your dentist to create a new “tooth” that will match your smile goals.

3. The tooth has experienced chronic dental issues.

A troubled tooth that has chronic sensitivity or ongoing issues with decay would likely benefit more from being treated and protected with a dental crown. Since a crown covers the entire tooth rather than just the visible front surface, your tooth will have complete protection.

4. The tooth’s malocclusion may affect the patient’s bite.

Veneers and crowns can change the visual alignment of a crooked tooth, but crowns can allow your dentist to adjust the shape much further. If you have a tooth that is quite crooked but orthodontic care isn’t necessarily needed, a crown can help you achieve a final result that looks very straight and properly spaced.

5. The patient’s makeover includes a missing tooth restoration.

If your smile makeover involves replacing a missing tooth, a dental crown could be a very important part of the process. Dental crowns are not only used as the prosthetic tooth for a dental implant but they’re also used on “anchor” teeth for dental bridges.

If you’re receiving a dental bridge as part of your smile makeover, your dentist will recommend crowns placed on the teeth neighboring the gap to add additional strength to the pontic. This is often the case, even if veneers are used to complete the rest of the smile makeover.

Stunning, Realistic Dental Crown Makeovers in Millennium Park

If you’re looking for an exceptional dental care team to help you achieve your smile makeover goals, Drs. Barr and Diachenko are eager to assist. They provide complete dental care for busy professionals living in the downtown Chicago area, including stunning smile makeovers. Their state-of-the-art office also offers same day crowns!

To schedule a consultation, call our Millennium Park office or use this online form.