What is the Difference Between a Veneer and a Crown?

Both veneers and dental crowns are considered as the topmost cosmetic dental treatments for correcting damaged teeth and restoring the smile. Additionally, veneers and crowns help to improve the functions of the teeth, such as chewing and speaking. Ideally, the purpose of veneer and crown is more or less the same, which is to provide a natural smile.

However, the main difference between the two lies in the amount of tooth coverage. Veneers are typically used to cover the front surface of the tooth. On the other hand, dental crowns provide full tooth coverage. Most of the cosmetic dental procedures are often expensive and require different types of tooth preparation. Therefore, it is essential to understand the difference and need to get a veneer or a crown.

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Today’s article will highlight some of the qualities and differences between veneers and crowns. Furthermore, we will also look at the variability in cost for both the restorative treatments.

What is a veneer?

A veneer is a custom-made thin shell of porcelain that is bonded on the tooth surface. Veneers are one of the best cosmetic dental treatments for improving the smile by altering the teeth that require minimal tooth corrections. (1) In this procedure, about half a millimeter of enamel is removed from the front surface of the tooth to create space for the veneer.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a cosmetic dental prosthesis that covers the entire tooth. As a result, crown placement requires extensive tooth preparation. Dental crowns are an excellent choice for replacing missing teeth, strengthening a decayed tooth or root canal treated teeth. (2) Usually, the dental crown comes in three varieties depending on the type of material used –

  • All metal
  • All ceramic
  • Porcelain fused metal

What is the difference between veneer and crown?

Now that you’ve got a general idea on both the veneers and crown let’s look at some of the differences between the two –

  • A veneer is usually made from a thin layer of porcelain, which measures around 1mm in thickness. This layer is bonded to the front surface of the tooth. (3) A dental crown has a thickness of 2mm, and it provides full tooth coverage. Dental crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused metal alloy, or pure metal alloy.
  • Veneers are used for cosmetic purposes. They can restore minor tooth corrections such as chipping of the teeth, mild tooth stains, shape alteration, and to fill the gaps between teeth. Dental crowns are used to restore extensive damage to the tooth. Some of them include permanent tooth discoloration, large dental filling, root canal treated the tooth, cracked tooth, severely worn out tooth, and crooked teeth. (4)
  • Although the cost of both the treatments may vary, depending on the size and type of the tooth involved. Moreover, the cost of cosmetic dental procedures varies from one location to another. Ideally, the cost of porcelain veneers ranges from $925 – $2500 per tooth. The cost of dental crowns depends on the type of material used, the amount of tooth preparation, and the size of the tooth. Typically, the cost of dental crowns may range from $1000 – $3500 per tooth.
  • Veneers are weaker than crowns and are mainly used to improve the appearance of the smile. Whereas, dental crowns provide natural appearance and functionality to the teeth.
  • Dental crowns can last for about 10 – 15 years. The longevity of veneers is short as compared to the crown, which is 5 -7 years. (5)

What are the benefits and disadvantages of veneer and crown?

Benefits of veneers and crowns

  • Veneers are more aesthetically pleasing than dental crowns in the long run. This is because veneers blend with the underlying tooth and do not show a gum margin after several years as compared to the crown.
  • Veneers require minimal tooth preparation as compared to the crown.
  • In contrast to veneers, a crown protects the entire tooth from dental caries.
  • Crowns are relatively permanent and do not require frequent repair as veneers do. (6)

Disadvantages of veneers and crowns

  • Veneers do not protect the tooth from decay and damage. Moreover, they have less strength and may require frequent repair and restoration.
  • Dental insurance usually doesn’t cover the cost of the veneer.
  • Crown fabrication requires extensive preparation of the tooth. This can lead to increased tooth sensitivity and, in some cases, gum pain.
  • Porcelain fused metal crowns tend to show a dark margin between the natural tooth and the crown, which is not aesthetically pleasing.

What is the selection criterion for veneers and crowns?

Some of the things you must keep in mind while selecting the best treatment option among the two are listed below –

  • Consult your dentist and consider all other options such as implants, dentures, or tooth filling.
  • Look at the longevity of the veneer or crown
  • You must be aware of the estimated cost of the treatment. Moreover, look out for insurance policies that may cover the charges.
  • Ask the dentist about post-treatment care

Take away message

Veneers and crowns have always been the most popular types of cosmetic dental treatments. As people are becoming more self-conscious about their smiles, they are leaning towards cosmetic smile enhancement procedures. Veneers and crowns may serve a similar purpose. However, they vary in terms of the design, tooth coverage, cost, and longevity of the prosthesis.

Veneers are usually thin shells of porcelain that are used to cover the front surface of the teeth. They are placed to provide a natural-looking smile while correcting minor tooth discrepancies. A dental crown is used to restore extensively damaged teeth. It strengthens the tooth structure by providing a full tooth coverage.

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It is best always to consult a dentist and choose the best suitable option to treat your dental concern.

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