Veneers are a thin porcelain facing while crowns wrap 360 degrees around the tooth. Other than the amount of coverage over the tooth, there should be no other aesthetic differences. To see if you have a crown try to visualize the back of the tooth through a mirror if it appears to be the same color as the facing there is a good chance it is a crown.
How Can I Tell if my Dentist Used Crown or Veneers?
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Determining Crown or Veneer
Determining whether you have crowns or veneers is not difficult. Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that only cover the outside of your tooth. Crowns are pieces of porcelain that cover the entire tooth (360 degrees). If the inside portion of your tooth is still showing then you have a veneer. If not, then you have a crown. You may have to use a small hand mirror to determine this.
Communicate with your doctor!
Anything that being treated in your mouth, you can always ask your dentist! Generally, a crown covers the whole tooth while veneers only go in the front part of the tooth, which is where people see when you smile. It depends on the case, sometimes your doctor choose veneers over crowns or vice versa. Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor to which is a better treatment solution for you. good luck!
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Crowns vs Veneers
Porcelain Veneers are intended to be a very conservative solution to esthetic problems - there is little tooth removal and viewing from the back side should reveal much of the natural tooth in tact. Crowns are needed when the tooth is highly broken down, decayed, has large fillings, or replaces and existing crown. It requires more tooth reduction and encircles the entire tooth. Viewing a crown from the back side will reveal nothing but porcelain or metal.
Ask your dentist if crown or veneers were put on you
Patients can't really tell most of the time because they aren't dentists. Like the above answers, a crown covers the entire tooth all the way around and the veneer just covers the front of the tooth. Hold a mirror inside your mouth in front of another mirror and see if you see your own tooth color or a porcelain color of a particular tooth. But really? Just ask your DDS.
Did my dentist use crowns or veneers?
Why not try asking your dentist? It would not hurt to say you are confused and would like to know the difference between the two and why he used one over the other.
Veeners cover the front and tips of the tooth where the crown literally wraps around the entire tooth. You can see if it is a veneer from the back of your tooth. Your dentist should have explained to you his treatment plan and made sure you were ok with it. I am sorry you were not given enough information.
Veneers vs Crowns
Generally, veneers only cover the front (visible) portion of the tooth. Since a veneer is made completely of porcelain, it can be bonded to the tooth. A traditional crown (one that has porcelain fused to metal) cannot be bonded, therefore, the dentist has to wrap all the way around the tooth in order to get mechanical retention (the cement won't hold without it).
When I prepare a tooth for an all porcelain restoration, I only remove the part of the tooth that needs reduction. If every part of the tooth is strong and it only needs porcelain for aesthetics, I will only reduce the front side (as minimal as possible). If the tooth has large fillings already in it, I will often reduce between the teeth to cover those areas making a 3/4 bonded crown. Most dentists seem to only want to do full coverage crowns that require more reduction. I wish to be conservative with the tooth and reduce minimally.
It should be hard to tell to the non-dentist
Visually, they appear the same from looking straight on and from a conversational distance. Veneers generally cover only the front and tips of the teeth, while the back is left alone. There is often a color shift, so if you can see the back of your teeth in a mirror, it should be fairly obvious. It shouldn't FEEL any different than a crown and functions the same.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.