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Crowns vs. Veneers – Know the Difference and Choose the Right One for You

Crowns and veneers are restoration methods that your dentist can use to improve the appearance and function of your teeth. The crown covers the entirety of the affected tooth while a veneer only covers the front.

The procedures to restore the beauty and function of your teeth can be costly, and it’s one of the primary reasons behind many people’s refusal to undergo such a dental procedure. Crowns and veneers follow different procedures, and their success rates are good.

Below are the differences between the two procedures, their uses, and the pros and cons.

Difference Between Crown and Veneer

A veneer is about one millimeter thick, and it is bonded to the outer layer of the front tooth that has a problem. It is usually made of a very thin layer of porcelain or resin composite materials.

A crown is around two millimeters thick, and it covers the entire tooth that has a problem. It is made of porcelain, all-metal alloy, or porcelain-fused-to-metal alloy.

The common conditions that crown or veneer can fix are:

  • Crooked teeth

  • Decayed teeth

  • Broken, cracked, or chipped teeth

  • Teeth discoloration

Your dentist will suggest the best solution according to the condition of your teeth. Both veneers and crowns can be made to match the natural color of your teeth, with all-metal crowns as an exemption.

What is Veneer?

A veneer, which only covers the tooth's front surface, is not as invasive as a crown. If you choose veneer, you will be able to keep most of your original teeth intact when preparation begins.

Making the Surface Rough to Bond Veneer Better

Your dentist may use a mold or digitally scan your tooth to prepare your veneer. You may need to wear a temporary veneer until your permanent veneer is finished. Dentists commonly send the mold or image to a technician who will make the veneer.

Preparing the Tooth Impression

Your dentist must grind the surface of the affected tooth to make it rough so the veneer will bond better. Some types of veneers don't require the same amount of grinding. The dentist usually applies local anesthesia before grinding your tooth to prevent pain.

Getting Ready to Replace the Temporary Veneer

When ready, the temporary veneer is removed and the permanent one will replace it. Your dentist will bond the veneer to the tooth using a type of cement and use an ultraviolet lamp to harden it. You will notice a slight movement of the tooth after putting the veneer in place. This typically happens and should not cause an alarm. However, you may need to wear a night guard if you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep. The night guard can help you to protect your veneer.

What is a Crown?

The crown serves as an armor that must cover the entire tooth to protect it. To prepare for the placement of the crown, your dentist must file or grind more of your affected tooth.

Removing the Tooth Decay First

Your dentist may need to perform root canal treatment first if your tooth is at risk of injury, if you the pulp of the tooth is infected, or if your tooth has an extensive decay. Having a crown is pointless when the decayed part is not removed or when the risk of infection is not addressed properly.

Reshaping the Tooth

Your dentist must anesthetize the tooth and gum tissue before he starts the process of making the crown for your tooth. Your dentist must also reshape the tooth that will receive the crown. Reshaping requires filing or removing some parts of your tooth to give room for the crown or cap. The amount removed depends on the crown type that you will use.

The Need to Build Up the Tooth

After extracting the decayed part, your dentist will check if the remaining area of the tooth is enough to support the crown. If a large area is missing, your dentist needs to build up the tooth using filling material to make sure that your tooth will be able to support the crown.

Producing the Tooth Impression

When creating an impression of your tooth to be crowned, your dentist can either use a mold or digital scan to create the image of your tooth. The created image will be sent to a laboratory that will fabricate the crown if your dentist has no facility to make the crown. Your dentist may put a temporary crown to cover the ground-down tooth while you are waiting for the permanent crown to be made.

Getting Ready to Replace the Temporary Crown

When ready, the temporary crown is removed and your dentist will replace it with the permanent one. Your dentist will need to adjust the crown and make sure that it fits perfectly. You must be able to bite properly with the new crown in place. After that, the dentist will cement the crown in place. The slight movement of the tooth after putting the crown in place is a common occurrence. It may change your bite. When that happens, you must tell your dentist, and he will adjust the crown for you.

Choosing the Right One For You..

The crown is your best option if your tooth is cracked, very worn, must undergo a root canal, or has a large filling.

A veneer is your best option if your tooth only needs the restoration procedure to make it aesthetically appealing and is still basically intact and functioning. You can also use veneers to make minor corrections on the shape of your teeth.

Cost of Crown and Veneer

The size of the affected tooth, its location in your mouth, and the average prices in your area can affect the prices of crowns and veneers, which are costly anyway. You may consult with your insurance company regarding the coverage and ways you can save for your dental procedure.


The cost of the veneer is between $500 and $2,500 per tooth. Porcelain veneers are more expensive than the other materials, but they last longer. Composite veneers are usually between $250 and $1,500 per tooth. You may need to add more to cover the prep work and extra fees.


The cost of crown is between $1,000 and $3,500 per tooth. The price does not include the other procedures that must be done first before preparing the crown. Porcelain is the most expensive material in producing the crown and also the most durable.

Ways to Save

You can ask your dentist if he offers payment options and ways that you can save some money for your dental procedure. You may also opt to take the services of dental students who charge less than the professional dentists.

Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons

Veneer Pros

  • More aesthetically pleasant to look at than crowns.

  • Some veneers don’t need a lot of grinding.

  • Teeth have minimal displacement.

Veneer Cons

  • More areas of your tooth are exposed to possible rotting.

  • Cheaper veneers may only last between 5 and 7 years.

  • Other long-lasting materials may still need to be replaced.

  • They are not reversible.

  • They may not be included in your insurance coverage.

Crown Pros

  • The tooth gets better protection from tooth decay because it is fully covered.

  • Porcelain crowns look and feel natural.

  • Crowns are permanent and so not need to be removed when cleaning them.

  • Your insurance may cover a portion of the total cost.

Crown Cons

  • Most part of your tooth must be removed to give way to the crown.

  • A crowned tooth is more sensitive to cold and heat, and it may give you gum pain.

  • Porcelain can be fragile and sustain damage in the long run.

  • Porcelain fused to the metal alloy can produce an unsightly dark line.

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