I have a couple of crowns on my front teeth, but I would really like to replace several of my upper teeth with a set of new porcelain veneers – including the ones with crowns. Can crowns be replaced with veneers? — Sheila in New Mexico
While both a crown and veneer are made of porcelain, one of the biggest differences is that a crown is made to cover the entire tooth structure and a veneer is bonded only to the front of the tooth. Because of this, the prep work your dentist has to do for each respective treatment is very different and makes it impossible to replace a crown with a porcelain veneer. Here’s why…
When your dentist prepped your teeth for the crowns you currently have, he or she had to aggressively remove some of the tooth structure and actually taper it on both sides so the crown could essentially fit like a “cap” over the tooth (see photo). You cannot remove the crown and just place a veneer because that would leave the back and the sides uncovered.
There are some dentists who will actually shave down the front of a crown and place a porcelain veneer over it, but this is not recommended. Not only will you spend the same amount of money it would cost to simply do a new crown, but from an aesthetic standpoint, it won’t look as good and it won’t be as strong – which could lead to failure later down the road. Your best advice would be to find a good cosmetic dentist will replace the crowns, and who will utilize a good cosmetic dental laboratory that will match the new crowns to the color of the porcelain veneers.