In the realm of cosmetic dentistry, both dental veneers and dental crowns serve as popular options for enhancing the appearance and functionality of natural teeth. Dental veneers, whether made of porcelain, ceramic, or composite resin, are thin shells custom-made to cover the front surface of the teeth. They are particularly useful for addressing issues like chipped teeth, discolored teeth, or minor misalignments. On the other hand, dental crowns, also known as caps, encase the entire tooth, providing both aesthetic improvement and structural support. They are typically recommended for more extensive damage, such as broken teeth or large fillings.
At our clinic, two popular aesthetic cosmetic dentistry and procedures we often carry out are dental veneers and dental crowns, and patients often ask about the difference between the two. Granted, both veneers and crowns are often used to treat the following conditions:
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Discoloured teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Crooked teeth
They are somewhat similar in their design process and appearance; however both have their own specifics and serve separate purposes in different situations.
What are dental veneers?
Veneers are thin layers of porcelain bonded to the front of teeth to give the impression of healthier, more pleasant looking teeth. They are usually used on the front teeth and designed to look like the rest of your neighbouring teeth. While veneers can be made from various materials, we prefer porcelain as porcelain veneers look the best and composite veneers are longer lasting.
For a veneer to be placed, your tooth must have sufficient enamel. We also remove about 0.5mm of enamel from the treated tooth for the bonding procedure to take place.
Find out more about Dental Veneers with Dental Design today!
What is the process of getting dental veneers like?
Getting dental veneers briefly look like this:
- Your dentist will take an impression of your prepared tooth. At Dental Designs, we take x-rays, digital 3D scans and use the Digital Smile Design tool to create the framework of your veneer and smile.
- For bigger cases (more than 4 teeth), we make a temporary set of veneers to allow you to try on your new smile for about a couple of days. For cases less than 4 veneers, this process might be simplified and we might be able to bond your veneers on the same day.
- If you are satisfied and once your final veneer is ready, we will bond the veneers to your tooth permanently.
What are dental crowns?
Unlike veneers, dental crowns cover the entire tooth to provide protection and improve the appearance of your smile. Like veneers, dental crowns are made from a select few materials such as porcelain or composite resin, but we use high-quality ceramics due to their natural appearance and strength.
Compared to veneers, the procedure of getting dental crown is more invasive and may require more trimming of your teeth. Local anaesthesia may be involved in some cases. If you have cavities or tooth decay, the decayed portions of broken teeth might need to be removed first. Here are some things to know before getting a dental crown.
What is the process of getting crowns like?
- Similar to dental veneers, we take impressions of your tooth with a digital CEREC scan to create a custom crown.
- We make your crown on the same day with high quality materials. We call this a same-day crown.
- Crown is cemented on.
What are the main differences between veneers and crowns?
|More for aesthetic purposes,
not suitable if you have dental issues like tooth decay.
|More for aesthetic and functional purposes,
suitable if you have a very large cavity or crack,
discolouration from old fillings or wish to protect
your tooth after root canal treatment.
|Less invasive; about 0.5mm
of enamel is required to bond veneer.
|More invasive; the tooth needs to be filed down
in order to make space for the crown.
|Patients can get their veneers on the day itself.
Temporary veneers might be needed to trial the smile.
|Patients can get their crowns on the day itself.
One of the main differences between veneers and crowns lies in the amount of tooth preparation required. Veneers usually require minimal removal of natural tooth enamel, about half a millimeter, to accommodate the thin layers of the veneer. In contrast, dental crowns necessitate more significant tooth preparation, as they cover the entire tooth. This process involves reshaping the tooth to ensure a proper fit for the crown.
Another distinction between veneers and crowns lies in their durability and longevity. While both options can last for many years with proper care, crowns tend to be more resilient due to their thicker structure. Porcelain crowns, in particular, are known for their ability to resist staining and mimic the appearance of natural teeth effectively. On the other hand, veneers may be more prone to chipping or cracking, especially if subjected to excessive biting forces.
Is a veneer or crown more suitable for me?
This will largely come down to the condition of your affected tooth. Generally, if the damage to natural tooth is more aesthetic without any underlying dental issues at hand, then veneers are a better option. The best candidates for veneers are those with healthy natural teeth that have visible flaws, such as discolouration, cracks, chips or gaps. Those who wish to have bigger or smaller teeth can opt for veneers too.
However, if your tooth has damages like tooth decay, large cracks and cracked fillings that normal fillings cannot fix, then veneers may not be of help. Instead, a crown can cover the entire tooth’s surface, restoring the existing tooth's health and giving it more strength.
When considering dental veneers vs. crowns, patients should consult with their dentist to determine the most suitable option based on their specific dental needs and treatment goals. An initial consultation will involve a comprehensive examination of the teeth and a discussion of treatment options. Whether opting for veneers or crowns, proper care, including regular dental visits and good oral hygiene practices, is essential to maintain the longevity and beauty of the new smile achieved through cosmetic dentistry. Ultimately, both veneers and crowns offer transformative solutions for achieving a brand-new smile and enhancing overall dental health and confidence.
If you think you are likely to have dental issues or more age-related wear to your teeth down the road, then perhaps it’s better to invest in a crown now to save you more dental work in future. But again, it comes down to several factors including dental insurance and budget concerns.
If you are unsure whether to get veneers or crowns, feel sure to reach out to us and our dentists are happy to help.
- Patel, D. R., O'Brien, T., Petrie, A., & Petridis, H. (2014). A systematic review of outcome measurements and quality of studies evaluating fixed tooth-supported restorations. Journal of prosthodontics : official journal of the American College of Prosthodontists, 23(6), 421–433. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopr.12160
- Janus, C. E., Unger, J. W., & Best, A. M. (2006). Survival analysis of complete veneer crowns vs. multisurface restorations: a dental school patient population. Journal of dental education, 70(10), 1098–1104.