Veneer vs Crown: What’s the Difference?

While veneers and crowns may look similar, they serve different purposes. The main difference is that veneers cover the front of the tooth and are mainly used for aesthetic purposes, whereas crowns cover the entire tooth and are used to restore the shape of the tooth and increase its strength.

Here, we’ll break down what to consider when you want to get a veneer or crown.

What is a veneer?

Dental veneers, also known as porcelain veneers, are a very thin shell of custom tooth-colored material designed to cover the front surfaces of teeth. This is done to improve your appearance.

The shells bond to the front of the teeth, changing their color, shape, size or length.

It is important to consider the various types of dental veneers, which can be made of porcelain or resin composites. These can be called porcelain veneers or composite veneers.

Veneers can be used to repair discolored teeth due to:

  • root canal treatment
  • Stains from tetracycline or other drugs
  • Too much fluoride

Veneers can also be used to repair worn, chipped, broken, misplaced or spaced teeth.

Porcelain and composite veneers

Composite veneer is the most cost-effective option in the long run. Of course, the cost of veneers may vary depending on where you live and the experience of your dentist.

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Dental veneers usually require three visits to the dentist; one consultation and two to make and apply the veneer. Your dentist will need to examine your teeth to confirm that veneers are right for you and to discuss the full procedure.

To prepare the tooth for veneers, the surface of the tooth needs to be remodeled. Next, your dentist will make a model or impression of your teeth. The model is then sent to the lab. Meanwhile, temporary dental veneers can be used.

Your dentist will examine the veneers on your teeth to check their fit and color. They will remove and trim the clip to achieve a proper fit before sticking it permanently to your teeth. The color of the veneer can be adjusted according to the cement tone used.

Next, to get your teeth ready for veneers, the teeth will be cleaned, polished and etched. Etching roughens the teeth for a strong bonding process. A special cement is applied to the veneers and placed on your teeth.

Once the veneer is positioned correctly, your dentist shines a special beam on it to activate the chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden quickly.

The final steps include removing excess cement, checking the occlusion and making any necessary adjustments. Your dentist may ask you to visit in a few weeks to check the position of your gums and veneers.


There are multiple advantages when considering veneers.

  • They provide a very natural look similar to teeth.
  • The gums tolerate porcelain well.
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
  • Colors can be chosen to make dark teeth appear whiter.

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While veneers have their advantages, there are also some risks to consider.

  • Once completed, the process cannot be undone.
  • Your teeth may be more sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks because the enamel has been removed.
  • Veneers may not exactly match the color of your teeth.
  • The color of the veneer cannot be changed once it is placed.
  • Although unlikely, the veneer could come off or fall off.
  • Even with veneers, you can still experience decay.
  • Veneers are not a good option for people with dental problems such as gum disease or cavities.
  • Veneers are not suitable for people who gnash or grind their teeth, as this can cause the veneer to crack or chip.

What is a crown?

A crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over the entire tooth. This is done to cover the tooth and restore its shape, size, strength and improve its appearance.

When crowns are in place, they completely envelop the entire visible portion of the tooth at and above the gum line.

Crown use

Crowns can be used to protect fragile teeth from breaking, and to cover and support teeth with generous fillings when there are not many teeth left. Crowns can also serve to secure bridges, cover dental implants, or cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth.


You will usually need to visit the dentist twice to prepare your crown. At your first visit, your dentist may take a few X-rays to examine the roots of the teeth that receive the crown and surrounding bone. If there is extensive cavities, or if the pulp is at risk of infection or injury, root canal treatment may be required first.

Before the process of making a crown begins, your dentist will numb (numb) the tooth and the gum tissue around the tooth. The tooth receiving the crown is reshaped along the chewing and lateral sides to make room for the crown. The type of crown used will determine how much of your tooth will be reshaped or removed.

If you have a large missing tooth, your dentist will “build” the tooth with a filling material to support the crown.

After tooth shaping, your dentist will use paste or putty to make an impression on the tooth to receive the crown. Sometimes, impressions are made using digital scanners. Your dentist will also take impressions of the teeth above or below the tooth receiving the crown to make sure the crown doesn’t interfere with your bite.

Impressions or scans are sent to a dental laboratory where crowns are fabricated. This process may take two to three weeks. If the crown is made of porcelain, your dentist will also choose the color that best matches the color of the adjacent teeth.

During your first visit, your dentist will make a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while the crown is made.

At your second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the fit and color of the permanent crown. If all is acceptable, the tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic and the crown will be permanently fixed in place.

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Crowns provide solutions for many dental problems, including:

  • Support teeth that are severely damaged by decay
  • covered dental implants
  • hold severely cracked or broken teeth together
  • Improve the appearance of teeth by changing their shape or color

Crowns are durable and can last from 5 to 15 years, depending on maintenance.


There are risks and complications to consider when getting a crown, including:

  • After receiving a crown, your teeth may be sensitive to heat or cold.
  • Certain types of crowns, especially porcelain crowns, may be more prone to chipping.
  • If there is not enough cement to hold it in place, the crown can loosen or even fall out.
  • Although uncommon, some people may have an allergic reaction to the metals used in certain crowns.
  • If the gums around the crown are sore, inflamed, or start to bleed, you may have gingivitis or gum disease.


When considering veneers or crowns, it’s important to keep in mind the cost of each procedure.


The cost of a veneer can vary, depending on the type of veneer you plan to get. Composite veneers cost between $250 and $1,500 per tooth, while porcelain veneers cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth. Of course, the cost of veneers may vary depending on where you live and the experience of your dentist.


Since veneers are considered a cosmetic procedure, it’s important to note that they’re usually not covered by insurance. Crowns can be covered by dental insurance when surgery is required to maintain good dental health.


Generally, the price per crown ranges from $800 to $1,700. Once again, the cost of veneers can vary depending on where you live and your dentist’s experience.

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If you’re considering veneers or crowns, it’s important to remember to perform maintenance after either procedure.

The recovery process after receiving the veneer is fairly short. Once the veneers are glued and the anesthetic wears off, you can eat and chew as usual.

Traditional porcelain veneers usually last 10 years. Taking certain precautions can help ensure you use them for as long as possible. These precautions include:

  • avoid chewing hard objects
  • Avoid opening packages with your teeth
  • Avoid chewing with your front teeth
  • Wear a mouthguard if you play sports

You should avoid sticky and hard foods for the first 24 to 48 hours after receiving a crown. Beyond this time, you may start to treat your crown like a natural tooth.

While crowns don’t require any special care, keep in mind that just because they’re crowned, it doesn’t mean the teeth are protected from cavities or gum disease.

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Whether it’s veneers or crowns, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash.

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When choosing veneers and crowns, keep in mind that the goal is to improve your smile and the function of your teeth.

Veneers can often be used when looking to improve the appearance, such as missing teeth. A crown should be considered when there is extensive decay in the tooth.

Consult with your dentist to weigh your best options, taking into account your dental health, desired end result and budget.

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When considering veneers or crowns, take the time to sit down with your dentist to discuss what you think is the best option. Keep in mind what you want to achieve in the long term, but also consider maintenance and cost.

It’s also important to remember how important dental hygiene is to your health. Regular dental checkups and good dental hygiene are essential when maintaining your veneers or crowns and other teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which is better, veneers or crowns?

    There are pros and cons to both veneers and crowns. If your teeth have a lot of fillings, root canals, or are very worn or cracked, a crown may be the best option. If your teeth are mostly intact and the restoration is for cosmetic purposes, veneers may be the best option.

  • Which is more durable, veneers or crowns?

    Veneers typically last 5 to 10 years, while crowns have an average lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. However, with proper care, good dental hygiene, and regular dental checkups, some crowns can last for decades. Depending on the material used and your dental habits, veneers have a similar lifespan compared to crowns, but veneers may not last as long as they are thinner.