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Many of our Massachusetts patients in the Cambridge and Belmont area come to Dental Restorative Group inquiring about the differences between dental crowns and porcelain veneers to improve the structure and appearance of their teeth. 

There are several differences, as well as some similarities, between crowns and porcelain veneers, but basically, while crowns may be used to reconstruct damaged teeth, porcelain veneers are generally considered a cosmetic treatment. Here is an explanation of the basic differences between dental crowns and porcelain veneers.

Dental Crowns

Cambridge’ Dental Restorative Group use dental crowns to rebuild damaged, broken, or severely decayed teeth, producing significant changes in color and/or shape. Dental crowns are thick and strong, making them extremely durable.

Dental crowns are appropriate for use on teeth that are used for heavy chewing or biting, or teeth that are exposed to forces created by bruxism, or clenching and grinding of teeth. 

To place a crown, your natural tooth must be reduced in size and once a crown has been placed on a tooth, that tooth will always require a crown. Well-made crowns can last for a long time, so we recommend going to a practice with lots of experience.

Porcelain Veneers

While dental crowns are considered interventions to rebuild, strengthen, and protect teeth, the primary goal of porcelain veneers is typically cosmetic in nature, and the objective is simply to improve the appearance of the teeth and smile.

Porcelain veneers are significantly thinner than dental crowns meaning that less reduction of the tooth is required for the placement of veneers. While crowns cover the entire tooth, veneers are bonded only to the front side of the tooth, meaning that no reduction is required at all on the tooth’s backside. Some newer techniques for applying veneers require no tooth reduction at all.

Porcelain veneers may produce less dramatic changes in a tooth’s shape or color, while typically being placed over healthy teeth with a solid and intact underlying structure.

While porcelain veneers are strong and durable, they are less durable than dental crowns and are typically more suitable for situations where the teeth are not exposed to excessive forces placed upon them. 

In some cases, porcelain veneers may be removed; however, once a tooth has had a veneer placed on it, it will always require some type of covering, whether it is another porcelain veneer or a dental crown. 

If you’re interested in improving your dental appearance by means of porcelain dental veneers, or repairing broken, damaged teeth with dental crowns, your best bet is to contact our office in Cambridge and schedule a consultation for an evaluation with one of our specialized dentists. We will be able to advise you as to whether a dental crown or dental veneers may be more suitable for you. 

If you or someone you know needs help in making a decision between crowns and veneers, come in and talk with our doctors about the best decision for you dental health. Make your appointment today by calling our Cambridge office at (617) 492-5081.

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