dentist showing samples of Veneers and Crowns teeth

Veneers Vs. Crowns

August 5, 2020

Veneers and crowns are forms of dental restorations that can improve the function and aesthetics of your teeth. The main difference between the two is that veneers only cover the front of the tooth while crowns cover the entire tooth.

While both procedures can help improve your smile, there are some considerable differences between the two that you’ll want to be aware of when choosing the best option for you. Let’s go through the differences between veneers and crowns as well as the benefits of each.

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are thin coverings, about 1mm thick, placed over the front surface of a tooth. They help create a natural-looking white smile, all without the need for prosthetics or dental implants. Veneers aren’t as invasive as crowns as more of your original tooth remains intact during preparation.  A dentist may recommend veneers when one of your front teeth is broken, chipped, discolored, or smaller than average.

Here Is What To Expect When Getting A Veneer:

  • Your dentist will trim about a half a millimeter from the surface of your tooth to make room to bond the veneer.
  • The dentist makes an impression of your prepared tooth by using a mold or digitally scanning it.
  • If the dentist doesn’t have a facility on-site, the mold will be sent to a laboratory, where technicians will create your veneer(s).
  • You may have a temporary veneer placed on your tooth depending on how much your tooth was trimmed in the meantime.
  • Once complete, the permanent veneers will replace the temporary one. It will be bonded to the tooth with special cement. The dentist will then use an ultraviolet light to quickly harden the cement.

Dentists can create veneers from porcelain or other composite materials depending on your needs. Porcelain veneers look natural as they have a translucent appearance, much like your original tooth. They are more expensive than composite ones, but last between 10 and 15 years before showing signs of wear. Composite veneers usually last between five and seven years before showing considerable wear.

What Are Crowns?

Crowns fit over existing teeth or implants and cover the entire tooth. They can restore the cosmetic appearance of a discolored or misshapen tooth or protect and stabilize a damaged tooth.

Crowns are 2mm thick and are made of only porcelain, porcelain fused to a metal alloy, or an all-metal alloy.

Here Is What To Expect When Getting A Crown:

  • The tooth is prepared by filing down enamel to make room for the crown. If your tooth has decay, your dentist will remove the decayed part.
  • Your dentist will create an impression of the tooth by digitally scanning it or making a mold.
  • The image or mold is sent to a laboratory if there isn’t a lab facility on-site.
  • You may receive a temporary crown on your tooth in the meantime so that you can use it while you wait for the permanent crown.
  • Once it’s complete, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the permanent crown on your tooth. They’ll adjust it so that it fits correctly before bonding it into place.

Advantages Of Veneers And Crowns

While there are some similarities in how they’re implemented, there are distinctly different benefits between veneers and crowns. Here are the benefits of each.

Veneer Benefits

  • Teeth with veneers have minimal movement
  • Many veneers don’t need a lot of trimming, allowing for more of your healthy natural tooth to remain.
  • Long-term, veneers can be more aesthetically pleasing than crowns, as they don’t show a gum margin after some years the way crowns sometimes do.

Crown Benefits

  • Your tooth is better protected from decay as the entire tooth is covered.
  • Crowns are somewhat permanent and don’t need to be removed for cleaning as dentures do.
  • Porcelain crowns look and feel like your natural teeth.
  • Dental insurance may cover part of the costs of a crown.

How To Know Which Is Right For You

The right option for you will depend on the condition of your teeth and what you’re looking to fix. Common conditions for dental restoration include:

  • cracked, chipped, and broken teeth
  • crooked teeth
  • decayed teeth
  • discolored teeth

A veneer is your best option when your tooth is mostly intact and the restoration is only for cosmetic purposes.

However, if your tooth is seriously worn or cracked, or has a large filling or root canal, a crown is usually your best choice.

How Much Do Veneers And Crowns Cost?

The cost of veneers and crowns will vary based on where the tooth is in your mouth, the size of the tooth, and the prices in your local area. Most dental insurance plans have a maximum annual coverage limit and won’t cover cosmetic dentistry. Because veneers are considered cosmetic, they will likely not be covered. However, most plans will cover a portion of the cost of crowns. You’ll want to check with your insurance provider to see what they cover.

The cost of porcelain veneers can range from $925 to $2,500 per tooth while composite veneers are less expensive, ranging from $250 to $1,500 per tooth.

The cost of crowns varies based on the amount of prep work needed and the material used to make the crown. The price tends to range from $1,000 to $3,500 per tooth. This estimate doesn’t include other procedures that might be needed before the crown is made.


Carrie Muzny DDS & Associates can help you decide which approach is best for you. We offer a wide range of cosmetic dentistry services to suit your needs and our team has extensive experience in veneers and smile design. Contact us today if you’re looking to enhance your smile and gain that extra boost of confidence.

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Cosmetics, Dental Tips, Veneers/Crowns

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