Veneers And Crowns: What Is The Difference?

Veneers and crowns are common procedures used to restore teeth. While they can both improve the appearance or function of your teeth, it can help to know the differences between each type of treatment.

What is the difference between veneers and crowns?

Veneers and crowns are common procedures used to restore teeth. While they can both improve the appearance or function of your teeth, it can help to know the differences between each type of treatment. Here’s how to figure out which dental restoration method is right for you.

Veneers and crowns at a glance

While both treatments can be used to improve the look of your teeth, veneers and crowns are quite different. 

A veneer is a layer of porcelain or ceramic applied to the front of the tooth. Veneers are about 1mm thick. During the process, a dentist will roughen the front of the tooth before attaching the veneer.

A dental crown is a bit thicker, at around 2mm, and covers the entire surface of the tooth. While veneers are a bit like a strong artificial nail for your teeth, a crown acts more like a protective cap. During the process, a dentist will shape the natural tooth below so that the crown fits snugly on top. More of the natural tooth’s structure is lost during a dental crown than with dental veneers. 

When are veneers used?

Veneers are primarily used for improving the look of your teeth. They are commonly used to treat:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Overcrowding
  • Tooth gaps
  • Misshapen teeth

Veneers aren’t as invasive as dental crowns. The preparation leaves more of the tooth intact and because of this, they can easily be applied to multiple teeth. For a veneer to work, you’ll need to have enough natural enamel for the composite or porcelain to bond to. During the process your dentist will remove half a millimetre of natural tooth enamel before bonding the veneer to the tooth. 

Composite veneers

There are two main types of veneers, composite and porcelain. 

Composite veneers are more affordable than porcelain. The process for a composite veneer can be faster and takes place over one appointment. A dentist can build veneers directly onto the surface of the tooth by applying layers of composite and hardening it with a curing light. 

Composite is less durable and less stain-resistant than porcelain. They last between 3-5 years and will need to then be replaced.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can last 10-15 years if well looked after. This is because they are more stain resistant and more durable. Porcelain veneers can take longer to complete and sometimes need to be completed in two visits.

During the first appointment the dentist will prepare your teeth for bonding. At the second appointment, the veneers are bonded to your teeth. 

When are dental crowns used?

Dental crowns are suitable for treating misshapen or damaged teeth. If a tooth is cracked, broken, chipped or has had a root canal, a dental crown can act as a protective helmet while restoring the natural appearance of the tooth. Dental crowns also allow you to chew and bite without causing further damage that might result in a fracture resulting in a tooth extraction.

Crowns can be made from a variety of materials including porcelain for its durability, zirconia for its strength and even gold which is a strong metal. 

What are the similarities between crowns and veneers?

  • Veneers and crowns are both treatments that can be used to improve the appearance and function of a tooth. Veneers can be used to fix gaps, chipped or worn teeth or treat enamel erosion in the front of the mouth. Crowns are more suitable for fixing weak, cracked and broken teeth, particularly in the back of the mouth.
  • Both crowns and veneers are made to look like natural teeth and can be used to fix a discoloured tooth or teeth.
  • You can care for a crown or a veneer the same way with simple brushing, flossing and regular dental appointments. 

What are the differences between crowns and veneers?

  • Veneers only cover the front of a tooth, while a crown covers the entire surface of the tooth. 
  • Veneers require a natural tooth to bond to. A crown can be fixed over the top of a natural tooth or fixed to a dental implant.
  • Veneers are mostly used on front-facing teeth while crowns are usually used on molars and premolars.
  • Veneers don’t last as long as crowns and may need to be replaced every ten years or less.
  • Veneers are mainly used to improve the look of a tooth.

How much do veneers or crowns cost?

The price of veneers or a crown will differ depending on what materials they are made from. A porcelain veneer will cost more than a composite veneer and can last a lot longer.

Composite veneers are less expensive however easier to repair if they chip as you do not need to replace the entire porcelain veneer.

Dental crowns usually start at a higher price point than a single veneer but it’s important to remember that the two treatments aren’t always interchangeable. Some patients will also need a root canal or implant before a crown is fitted.

The best way to get an accurate price for a dental crown or veneers is to book an appointment  Gentle Dental. Whether you want to improve the look of your smile or fix a broken tooth we can suggest the best treatment for your smile goals.