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What risks are associated with the use of cosmetic crowns (as opposed to veneers) in a healthy mouth? In other words, if the goal is essentially cosmetic and crowns would give a better cosmetic result, what reasons are there to use veneers even so?

Edit: Googling around this topic (prior to posting the question) brought up a few relevant comments on sites like realself, but they were too vague to be really useful. For example, it was pointed out that since crowns involve removing more healthy material, it's better to go with veneers if possible. That sounds like common sense, but given that it doesn't say exactly what risks go along with removing more healthy material, or what can be done to guard against them, it's not much help when it comes to judging how much of a cosmetic benefit might justify using crowns. Another comment was along the lines that the choice depends on the bite analysis, but it didn't say what it was about the bite analysis that might indicate crowns rather than veneers, or vice versa - hence my question here.

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Yes, this question is definitely relevant. First I will clear some terms.

Filling- The decayed tooth structure is drilled out and replaced with a white (composite) or silver (amalgam) filling.

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Inlay- In case when the cavity is too large. The inlay is fabricated as a single solid piece to fit the specific shape and size of the cavity.

Onlay- More than an inlay, but not quite a crown, this restoration covers a cusp of the tooth as a single solid piece.

Crown- More of a replacement than a repair, a cap is placed over an entire tooth after removing the existing tooth decay. Reference

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Veneers-Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance.

Reference

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Hence,

While they function similarly to dental crowns, veneers only cover the front of the tooth and don’t provide the structural support of a crown, inlay, or onlay.

Reference

Now coming back to your question,

Usually crowns are indicated when there is a dental decaya and a good deal of tooth structure is lost in the decay. The tooth is then prepared, i.e. cut more so as to receive a retentive crown. Aesthetic crowns are given for the front teeth.

Now in veneers are indicated when the teeth are stained, or there is a gap between two front teeth or the shape of one's tooth is abnormal or the teeth are malpositioned.

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So basically, veneers are given when a good amount of tooth structure is remaining.

For a veneer to work properly, your tooth has to have enough enamel on it for a veneer to bond to it.

Also for the same reason,

veneers don’t need as much grinding of the tooth surface.

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And hence,

They’re not as invasive as crowns, because the preparation leaves more of your original tooth intact.

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Which is an advantage over crowns.

Hence between crowns and veneers as such there are no risks to choose either of them, But if the case is that veneers or crowns both can be given and the cosmetic or aesthetic demands of a patients are high then veneers will be a better option-

They may be more aesthetically pleasing than crowns in the long run, because they don’t show a gum margin after several years, as crowns sometimes do.

Some veneers don’t require a lot of trimming, so more of your healthy natural tooth remains.

Teeth with veneers have minimal movement.

Reference

Hope I have satisfactorily answered your questions :)

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