Are Teeth with Veneers More or Less Likely to Have Decay Than Crowns?

What's the chance a tooth with veneers will have problems with decay (assuming that the patient takes good care with cleaning and flossing and a reasonable diet). What's the chance of decay with crowns under the same maintenance and care?

Doctor Answers 8

Chance of decay under veneers vs. crowns

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Any kind of dental restoration, whether veneers or crowns, is susceptible to decay at  the margins  where the gum and tooth meet.  Decay begins with bacteria building up and working its way under the restoration. The modern techniques for placing veneers, non prep veneers and crowns  are so good that this seldoms happens if the patient has good oral hygiene. This means brushing and FLOSSING  your teeth at least three times a day!  Your restoration is only as good as the oral hygiene you practice !

Van Nuys Dentist

Are Veneers Likely to Decay

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My experience with doing thousands of veneers is that I have rarely seen decay in follow up visits.  The conservative or no prep techniques leave considerable enamel to bond the veneer to the tooth securely and are extremely well sealed.  The edges of veneers are rarely placed below the gumline and thus are usually very easy to clean.  Patients are thrilled with their new smile and take good care of their new investment.

With crowns the recurrent decay rate is low but still higher than veneers.  More tooth structure is removed, margins are sometimes below the gumline and thus harder to clean.  If decay is detected early with a veneer it can usually be repaired easily with composite resin.  With a crown, it is much harder to repair decay and in most cases the crown has to be replaced.

Proper design of veneers are key to long life.

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Veneers that finish on enamel and have the margins end in easily cleansable areas will actually be extremely resistant to decy.  When the margins are in dentisn or placed in dificult to clean area there is a much greater risk of decay. 

Attention to detail during bonding procedures is essential for excellent results.

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Are veneers more likely to decay than dental crowns?

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Porcelain veneers are generally placed in non cavity prone areas of the mouth.  These areas are easy to see and keep clean.  We tell our patients that most patients oral hygiene will improve drastically since they will love their smile after this procedure.  When people love something, they take care of it and keep it looking new.  If you went by surface area alone, there may be more marginal area that can be exposed to decay with a porcelain veneer than a crown.  But generally, the marginal area  of the crown is place at the gum line only whereas the marginal area of the veneer can travel up towards the biting edges of the tooth.  Good luck.  Dr. David Frey

Can you get decay under a veneer

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Both restorations, crowns and veneers can develop decay at the margin( where the Restoration and the tooth meet) . A well placed and well made crown or veneer reduces that chance. So does great hygiene and good genetics !

Soheyla Marzvaan, DDS
Orange County Dentist

Great home care can prevent decay

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The way that decay can form around any kind of dental restoration is that the bacteria that can cause decay will find it's way under the restoration through a gap at the tooth/restoration interface (or margin).  The main things that can prevent this from happening are quality of a person's homecare (flossing, brushing, etc), the quality of the fit of the restoration (how large is the gap?),  accessibility of the gap to homecare (can a person clean the tooth where it meets the restoration or is it too hard to access i.e. between teeth in the back of the mouth and deep).

Porcelain veneer margins are generally very accessible to home hygiene procedures and so are less likely to decay than crowns.  However, if the crowns fit very well and a person's homecare, as you have said, is really meticulous, decay is unlikely to form on veneers or crowns.

Martin Frankel, DDS
Toronto Dentist

Chances of Decay Under Veneers Vs. Crowns

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The restorations that are placed today have great longevity and a small risk of decay in patients that have great hygiene.  This would consist of brushing 2-3 times daily (preferably with an ultrasonic brush), flossing daily, and committing to professional cleanings 2-3 times a year.  With the preparation techniques and bonding procedures used today with all porcelain restorations, the chances of decay are reduced greatly when they are maintained as they should be.  Concerning your diet, staying away from an excess of sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks  that contain high concentrations of sugar will keep your risk of future decay to a minimum.  Hope this helps. 

Decay under veneers and crowns.

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There is a smaller chance of decay under veneers than crowns by the virtue that less tooth structure is covered with porcelain veneers and veneers are typically placed on front teeth which are easier to keep clean.  The bottom line is that good home care including careful brushing and flossing will help prevent problems with decay. 

Dan Hagi, DDS
Toronto Dentist

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.