There’s more than one way to fix a tooth or enhance your smile. Two popular solutions for repairing cracked or unsightly teeth are dental veneers and crowns, or caps.
But which one is right for you? What is the difference between crowns and veneers? Which option is right for you?
This guide will answer your questions and help you make the right choice.
What Are Crowns and Veneers?
Crowns and veneers are both restorations that can make damaged teeth look whole and beautiful again. They both can be made from materials that blend in perfectly with the surrounding teeth to create a natural look.
'A dental crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that covers the entire tooth from the chewing surface to the gumline.'
Crowns can be made from metals like gold or from tooth-colored materials like porcelain which help them to blend in with your smile.
'Veneers are thin shells of restorative material that fit over the front of teeth.'
They’re made from a material that matches your teeth because their goal is to make teeth look naturally beautiful. Porcelain veneers are the most traditional and longest lasting type, but composite veneers are also available for a cheaper price.
The process for getting a crown or a veneer is similar:
The Difference Between a Crown and a Veneer
If you’re trying to decide between getting veneers or crowns, then you first need to know what the differences between the two restorations are.
The primary difference between crowns and veneers is the amount of coverage they provide. While dental caps average about 0.5 millimeters thick and cover the whole tooth, snap on veneers replace only half a millimeter of enamel on just the front of the teeth. Some veneers don’t require any tooth preparation and are only 0.2-0.3 millimeters thick.
When you get a crown, your tooth is gently shaped into a cone-like nub so that an entire cap can easily slip over it. That nub will have to be covered by a cap at all times. But when you get veneers, you only need to have a little bit of enamel from the front of your teeth trimmed away. This amount is so slight, in fact, that you may hardly notice it and won’t need to wear temporary veneers while you wait for the final product.
Another difference between crowns and veneers is that any tooth can get a crown while only certain teeth can get veneers. This is because dental crowns are designed to provide strength and support to weak teeth. Veneers, on the other hand, are very thin and can only provide cosmetic enhancements.
Lastly, crowns and veneers differ in their intended use. Crowns can certainly improve the looks of a tooth, but their main purpose is to restore and protect compromised teeth. Veneers are strictly cosmetic. They’re not meant to bear the force of biting so they only go on front teeth.
In comparing porcelain crowns vs veneers, you can’t necessarily say that one is any better than the other. Both crowns and veneers are excellent restorations that can last a long time and change your smile for the better. They just impact your smile in different ways.
Crown vs Veneer Cost
You likely want to know the cost of veneers vs crowns since the price could impact your choice of treatment.
Veneers and crowns cost close to the same amount, but the actual price depends on the materials used and on where you get the treatment.
Dental Veneers Cost
Cheap dental veneers are made from dental composite, or resin. The more expensive porcelain veneers at the other end of the price range last longer, however
Tooth Crown Cost
Crowns vs Veneers: The Pros and Cons
This list of the pros and cons of both restorations can help you determine whether you need a dental crown vs veneer.
- Conservative with little or no tooth preparation
- Look realistic and natural
- Can correct a wide range of aesthetic flaws
- Instant smile enhancement
- Don’t protect teeth from decay
- Cannot provide structural reinforcement to teeth
- Permanently alter teeth, if enamel is removed to prepare them
- Not reversible
- Expensive and not covered by insurance
- Can only be used on front teeth
- Protect your entire tooth from damage and decay
- Can be used to rebuild severely damaged teeth
- Usually covered by dental insurance
- Last for many years
- If it contains metal, a crown can create dark lines in your smile
- Require more drastic tooth reduction
- Can cause some temporary sensitivity
Crown vs Veneer: Which Option is Better?
As discussed above, you can’t really say that a crown or veneer is the better option because they’re both reliable and beautiful restorations, if made well.
The important thing is to simply choose the restoration that your teeth need the most and then make sure it’s done by a skilled dentist.
You should probably get a crown if you have a tooth with large cracks or chips or spots of decay. Crowns can keep a damaged tooth intact and prevent cavities and infection. A crown is also ideal for back teeth like molars which have to hold up to the forces of biting and chewing.
Veneers work best for front teeth that have only minor cosmetic damage. They’re an excellent way to fix all kinds of things about your smile you might hate including the color, size, spacing, and positioning of your front teeth.
Veneers are actually a great alternative to teeth straightening. If you have only minor orthodontic involvement in your front teeth, then you can make them look straighter instantly with the help of veneers instead of waiting months for braces to adjust them.
You should know, however, that it’s not always enough to just cover up crooked teeth with veneers or even crowns. If your teeth need to be straightened out to improve your bite and preserve your dental health, then you should consider straightening your teeth, instead.
What if you can’t decide between getting crowns or veneers for front teeth? Either option could work well if all you need are a few cosmetic enhancements.
In this case, veneers would probably be the best option for the following reasons:
On the other hand, crowns would be the better option if:
So as you can see, even when your treatment is totally elective there’s still no clear answer as to which restoration is better. Whether you get front teeth crowns vs veneers depends on your unique situation.
You should visit a dentist in your area to find out whether crowns or veneers are right for you. Only your dentist can evaluate your oral health to determine what your restorative needs are. He or she will use x-ray imaging and other diagnostic tools to examine your teeth and then recommend the best treatment for you.
We covered a lot of material in this article comparing dental crowns and veneers. Here are the main points you should takeaway to help you understand the differences between these two dental restorations: