This may seem like it is coming after the fact, but I am curious about something. I recently had a smile makeover done. I thought I was going to have all porcelain veneers placed, but when I look at the backs of my teeth, it looks like the porcelain goes all the way around. Is it normal to place porcelain crowns instead of porcelain veneers for purely cosmetic reasons? I thought crowns were just for teeth that were damaged. I guess the reason this concerns me is that maybe my teeth were in worse shape than I though, if they needed crowns.
I’ve since seen my general dentist, and she seemed very impressed with the work, so I am not concerned about the quality of the workmanship. Is this standard, to have crowns instead of veneers for a cosmetic smile makeover?
Thanks for your insight,
Ben in Oregon
Porcelain crowns and veneers differ only in degree–there really is no specific line of demarcation where a veneer becomes a crown. The fee for a porcelain veneer is usually the same or nearly the same as that for a porcelain crown, because the effort to place each type of restoration is about the same.
It is actually quite common to see porcelain crowns used on the front teeth for cosmetic reasons rather than protective ones. If your teeth were not weakened or damaged, your dentist might have decided to go with crowns to control your bite.
It is surprising that the dentist did not discuss this in detail with you during the course of your treatment. Typically, smile makeovers involve a great deal of give and take between the dentist and the patient, because the dentist will want to make absolutely sure he or she knows exactly what the patient wants.
The simplest solution is simply to ask your cosmetic dentist why he decided to go with porcelain crowns rather than veneers. Crowns are the more aggressive form of treatment, and require more reduction of the natural tooth structure. Veneers require only a little bit of shaving on the front of the tooth. For that reason alone, I would expect your dentist to have a sound reasoning for choosing the crowns. Most dentists will always pursue the least aggressive form of treatment and strive to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible.