Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: What is the Difference and Which One Should You Get?

There are many types of dental restoration methods that people use to improve the overall look and functioning of their teeth. Dental veneers and dental crowns are two of the most commonly used dental restoration techniques, but people often end up confusing one procedure with the other. While a dental veneer only covers the front of the tooth, a dental crown covers the entire tooth. Both of these dental restoration techniques can be expensive, so it is good to understand and be clear about which procedure is the best one for your teeth. However, while both these procedures are different, they both have very good success rates and are widely used today. Here’s a detailed analysis of dental veneers versus dental crowns, what is the difference and which one should you get?

Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: What is the Difference?

Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: What is the Difference?

Dental Veneers

A dental veneer is a very thin, tooth-colored shell that is made of porcelain or other resin composite materials.(1) It is around 1 millimeter (mm) in thickness, and it gets applied or stuck to the front of the existing tooth.

Dental Crown

A dental crown, on the other hand, is around 2 mm in thickness, and it covers the entire tooth. It can either be made entirely of porcelain, or it can be made from an all-metal alloy or even from porcelain fused to a metal allow (PFM).(2)

The decision of whether you need to get a dental veneer or a dental crown depends on the condition of your teeth and what dental problem you are trying to correct.

Some of the common conditions that require restoration techniques such as veneers and crowns include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Chipped, broken, or cracked teeth
  • Weakened or decayed teeth
  • Discolored teeth

Both dental crowns and veneers are color-matched to your teeth, except in the case of all-metal dental crowns.

Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: What the Procedure Involves?

Dental Veneer

A dental veneer is only used for covering the front surface of the tooth. The procedure of getting dental veneers is not as invasive as getting crowns. The preparation for veneers also leaves more of the original tooth intact.

The process of getting a veneer begins by getting half a millimeter of the enamel ground down using a grinding tool. This roughens the front surface of the tooth to allow better bonding of the veneer to the tooth. However, the newer types of veneers do not need too much grinding of the enamel. In some cases, you may require a local anesthetic for the procedure as the grinding may be quite painful.(3)

After the grinding down of the enamel has been completed, your dentist will then make a mold or impression of the prepared tooth. This is usually done either by using a mold or by digitally scanning that tooth. The mold or image is then sent to a lab if there is no on-site laboratory available.

It takes around a week or two for the veneer to become ready and available for putting on the affected tooth. During the time the new veneer becomes available, a temporary veneer might be placed on the tooth.

The permanent veneer will then replace the temporary one. The new veneer is bonded to the tooth with the use of special dental cement and hardened into place with an ultraviolet lamp.

There is usually a minimal movement of the tooth once the veneer has been put in place. However, if you clench or grind your teeth at night, then you might need to wear a nightguard to protect the veneer.(4)

The most crucial factor to consider in getting a dental veneer is that in order for the veneer to sit correctly on your tooth, there has to be enough enamel present on the tooth to allow the veneer to bond to it.

Dental Crown

A dental crown covers the entire tooth, and not just the surface of the tooth. With the placement of a crown, more of the teeth need to be ground down or filed down to allow for the proper placement of the crown. In cases where there is some underlying condition, such as tooth decay, then the dentist will first remove the decayed part of the tooth before making the crown for that tooth. In such cases, the tooth will have to be built up in order to support the dental crown.

The tooth may also need to be built up in case it is damaged. You will be given a local anesthetic for this procedure.

The process of getting a crown is as follows:(5)

  • The tooth is ground down or filed similar to the process involved in getting a veneer.
  • The dentist then takes a mold or impression of your tooth by making a mold or by digitally scanning the tooth. This mold or image is sent to the lab for the manufacturing of the crown. This is done in cases where a laboratory is not present on-site at the dentist’s office.
  • The dentist may place a temporary crown on the grounded tooth so that you are able to use the tooth till the time the permanent crown is being manufactured. It takes around a week or two for the new crown to be ready.
  • When the permanent crown is ready, your dentist will take off the temporary crown.
  • Then the permanent crown will be placed on your tooth and adjusted to make sure it fits correctly, and you are able to bite properly.
  • The new crown is then cemented into place with dental cement and hardened with an ultraviolet lamp.
  • Teeth that have crowns placed in them may experience some amount of movement, leading to a change in your biting style. In such cases, the crown may have to be adjusted to fit your bite.

Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: Which One Is Right For You?

A dental veneer is more of a cosmetic procedure, while a dental crown can either be done for aesthetic reasons or to correct dental problems.

For example, if your tooth is more or less intact and the restoration is only being done for cosmetic reasons, then a dental veneer is the best option. Veneers are also recommended for people who need to undergo minor shape corrections.

However, if your tooth h as a root canal, a large filling, gets cracked, or becomes very worn out, then opting for a dental crown is the best option.

Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: Costing of Dental Veneers and Crowns

Both veneers and crowns can prove to be a costly procedure. The original cost of these procedures varies and depends on the size of the tooth, placement of the tooth in the mouth, the average price of dental treatments in your locality, and on the experience of your dentist.

However, most dental insurance plans do not cover any type of cosmetic dentistry, so veneers are most likely not going to be covered by your insurance. Most dental insurance programs also have a maximum annual limit on how much cost will be covered. This is why you should always check with your insurance company to see whether they will cover the cost involved in either procedure.

Dental Veneers

According to estimates from the American Consumer Dentistry Organization, the cost of getting a dental veneer can range anywhere between $900 to $2,500 per tooth.(6) Remember that porcelain veneers are far more expensive than resin composite veneers, but they also tend to last longer. In fact, as per the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, the price of resin composite veneers range between $250 to $1,500. However, they only last for five to seven years, while the porcelain veneers can last for even ten years.(7)

Dental Crowns

The cost of getting a dental crown depends on the material used for making the crown, the amount of preparatory work involved in making the crown, and on the size of the tooth. Of course, general dentistry prices in your locality and the experience of your dentist also have a role to play.

According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, a dental crown can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $3,500 per tooth.(7) However, this price does not include the cost of other procedures such as root canals or core buildup that might be required before the crown gets manufactured.

Ceramic and porcelain crown tends to be more expensive than the all-metal crowns.

If you want to save some money, then you can always ask your dentist if there is any kind of budget or payment scheme they have that can allow you to space out your payments over a year or two without having to pay any interest.

Remember that dental prices vary from area to area, so it is a good idea to call other dentists and check for better pricing options.

If you happen to live near a university that has a dental school, then you might be able to find a dental office where dental students are supervised to perform certain dental procedures for veneers, crowns, etc., at a lot cheaper rate.

Dental Veneers vs. Dental Crowns: Pros and Cons

Pros of Dental Veneers

They are more cosmetically pleasing than dental crowns in the long run because veneers do not expose a gum margin after several years have gone by. This can happen with crowns in some cases.

Teeth with veneers experience minimal movement after the procedure.

Some dental veneers do not need too much trimming or grinding down of the tooth, and therefore more of the healthy natural tooth is left as it is.

Cons of Dental Veneers

Getting a dental veneer procedure is not reversible.

Veneers leave more areas of the tooth exposed to potential new decay or disease.

Composite veneers cost less, but they also last for a lesser time. Other materials tend to last longer, but they will eventually have to be replaced.

Veneers are unlikely to be covered by dental insurance.

Pros of Dental Crowns

Dental insurance is likely to cover a portion of the cost of the crown

Porcelain crowns look and feel exactly like your natural teeth.

All of the teeth gets covered in the procedure with the crown, so the tooth is more protected, and there is a lesser chance of any decay happening.

Crowns are permanent and do not need to be removed for cleaning as compared to dentures.

Cons of Dental Veneers

More of the natural tooth gets removed to place the crown.

The tooth on which the crown is placed might become more sensitive to heat and cold in the starting, and you may also experience some level of gum pain. If the sensitivity increases, then you might even need a follow-up visit.

Porcelain crowns are very fragile and can get damaged over time.

Crowns made from porcelain fused to a metal alloy tend to show a thin dark line between the natural tooth and the crown.

Conclusion

To ultimately decide whether a veneer or crown is the better option for your teeth problems, you should always take the advice of your dentist. You need to ensure that you are well aware of all the costs involved in getting either a veneer or a crown put in and how much your insurance will cover. Keep in mind that insurance coverage is unlikely to cover a cosmetic procedure such as dental veneers. Also, find out about the dentist’s experience with both types of procedures before finalizing your dentist.

References:

  1. Centres Dentaires Lapointe. (2020). What are the different types of veneers? | Our blog. [online] Available at: https://centreslapointe.com/en/blog/different-types-veneers [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
  2. Carolina Dentistry @ The Stateline. (2020). Types of Dental Crowns and Their Advantages | Carolina Dentistry. [online] Available at: https://statelinedental.com/types-of-dental-crowns-and-their-advantages/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
  3. Oralb.com. (2020). Dental Veneers – What to Expect | Oral-B. [online] Available at: https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adults/dental-veneers-what-to-expect [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
  4. Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. (2020). Three Things About Porcelain Veneers and Teeth Grinding | Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. [online] Available at: https://www.atlantacenterforcosmeticdentistry.com/blog/porcelain-veneers-teeth-grinding/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
  5. Colgate.com. (2020). Dental Crown Procedure: What to Expect | Colgate® Oral Care. [online] Available at: https://www.colgate.com/en-in/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/bridges-and-crowns/your-dental-crown-procedure-what-to-expect [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
  6. Dentistry, C. (2020). Cost of Cosmetic Dental Procedures | American Cosmetic Dentistry. [online] Americancosmeticdentistry.org. Available at: http://www.americancosmeticdentistry.org/cost-of-cosmetic-dentistry/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
  7. Your Dentistry Guide. (2020). Porcelain Dental Veneers | Treatment, Recovery & Cost (Updated 2019). [online] Available at: https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/veneer-procedure/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].

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