PacificWest Dental

What is better for me…. Crowns or braces?

pacific west dental smileHaving straight teeth and a beautiful smile is something that you want.  The question is “what is better for me…crowns or braces”?  To know which type of treatment is better for you, it is important to know what their advantages and disadvantages are before you decide.

Advantages of Dental Crowns or Veneers

  • Good esthetics – Dental crowns or veneers are made of porcelain, a material that can mimic the color and the appearance of a real tooth.   They are great and are needed in cases where teeth are discolored due to internal stains, are chipped or fractured, are badly broken down by cavity, have large fillings or are worn down.
  • Fast Results – They can mask some minor imperfections of your smile in a matter of a couple of appointments.  It can be a quick solution to your problems.

Disadvantages of Dental Crowns or Veneers

  • Removal of Tooth Structure – Each tooth that needs a crown or veneer has to be “prepared” or shaved down before they are cemented on your teeth. Because these teeth will never be the same as before, preparing healthy teeth that are in perfect condition purely for the purpose of esthetics may be too invasive.
  • High Maintenance – Maintenance of crowns and veneers is even more important because any gum disease or cavity can create a lot of problems and oftentimes they will need to be replaced when these problems occur.
  • Inability to correct bite problems – Crowns and veneers can only mask very minor problems.  Crowns and veneers will not be able to solve problems like overbite, deep bite, underbite, narrow arches and/or crossbite.
  • Cost – Depending on the area and the amount of insurance coverage, each dental crown or veneer can cost $1000 or more.
  • Longevity – Usually crowns or veneers last 10-15 years, even with great home care. They may need to be replaced from time to time. Improper bite or grinding/clenching habits may cause cracks or chipping of the porcelain.

first-visitAdvantages of Orthodontic Treatment

  • Comprehensive Care – Orthodontic treatment is a comprehensive treatment that addresses all the issues so that you will have straight and properly functioning teeth at the end of treatment.
  • Longevity – Braces are temporarily glued onto your teeth, leaving your teeth are just the way they were before orthodontic treatment at the end.  Your very own natural teeth can last forever if they are well taken care of.  No need to worry about replacement of restorations.
  • You have options! – There are many different types of braces that you can choose to cater your lifestyle.  There are traditional metal (with or without colors) and clear braces as well as clear aligner systems (such as Invisalign).  Also, lingual braces (braces that are mounted on the back of your teeth so they are truly invisible) are ideal for those adult patients who highly value esthetics.
  • Cost – Although the cost of orthodontic treatment can be high initially, it is usually a one-time cost.  When retainers are worn properly, patients who had braces before rarely need to have braces again.  Think of it as spreading the cost of braces treatment over a lifetime.  This cost is much less than crowns and veneers, which usually need replacements from time to time.

Disadvantages of Orthodontic Treatment

  • No Instant Gratification – Depending on the severity of the problem, orthodontic treatment usually takes approximately 18-24 months, on average.
  • Multiple Visits – Each patient needs to have their routine orthodontic adjustments every 4-8 weeks.
  • Temporary Discomfort – Every orthodontic patient will experience an adjustment period when braces are first put on.  Discomfort of teeth and the change of eating and speaking habits are the common complaints but these problems usually go away in 1-2 weeks after initial placement of braces.

When considering what approach is the best for you, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of the options that you have.  It is also important to have the long term health and stability of your teeth in mind.  Dental crowns and veneers are a good option for those that have very minor problems or have problems that cannot be resolved with orthodontic treatment, such as chipped or discolored teeth. However, when the problems are more than just mild rotations or spaces, comprehensive orthodontic treatment is the more appropriate option.  Empower yourself with a complete understanding of all the possibilities-contact our office and schedule your complimentary consultation today at our Surrey or Vancouver location.

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Dr. Wang, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C)
Dr. Kevin Lee, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)

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