Dental Veneer and Crown: What is the Difference?

Veneers and crowns offer long-lasting solutions for patients suffering from various functional and cosmetic dental issues, aiming to restore their smiles. Dull, discolored, or misshapen teeth, gaps between teeth, and broken teeth can be addressed with veneers and/or crowns.

Both veneers and crowns are dental restoration methods capable of improving the appearance and function of your teeth. The key difference between them is that a veneer only covers the front surface of your tooth, while a crown covers the entire tooth. Here’s a look at the differences between veneers and crowns, their pros and cons, and how they are used.

What is a Veneer? A veneer covers only the front surface of your tooth. Unlike crowns, veneers are considered a conservative solution for a compromised smile because they leave almost all of the original tooth intact. When choosing veneers, half a millimeter of enamel is removed to allow placement of the porcelain veneer over the remaining enamel.

What Does Getting a Veneer Involve? Your dentist will take an impression of your prepared tooth using a mold. After the impression is taken, it will be sent to a dental laboratory. Depending on how much your tooth was cut, a temporary veneer may be placed on your tooth until the new one is ready.

After 3 days, the permanent veneers will be ready for a function, aesthetic, and fit check. If adjustments are needed, they are sent back to the laboratory. Then, if everything is perfect, the veneers are bonded. A light-sensitive resin is applied between the original tooth and the veneer. A special light is then shone on the area to cure or harden the resin, creating an irreversible bond between the tooth and veneer.

Typically, there is minimal movement of the tooth after a veneer is placed. However, if you grind or clench your teeth at night, you may need to wear a night guard to protect the veneer.

What is a Crown? Crowns are considered a more aggressive solution than veneers. They are usually recommended for teeth that are heavily broken or cracked or have undergone root canal treatment. Unlike veneers, which are thin layers of porcelain covering the front and biting edge of the tooth, a crown is made from thicker porcelain and completely covers the entire tooth down to the gum line.

If there is decay in your tooth, your dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth before making a crown. After filling, crown preparation is done.

What Does Getting a Crown Involve? Your dentist will take an impression of your tooth using a mold. The mold is sent to the dental laboratory for crown fabrication. While the permanent crown is being made, your dentist may place a temporary crown on your tooth so you can use it. When the permanent crown is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary crown. Then, they will place the permanent crown on your tooth and adjust it to ensure it fits properly and your bite is correct. Finally, they will cement the new crown in place. Some movement may occur with crowned teeth, which could alter your bite. In such cases, you might need to have the crown adjusted.

Veneers vs Crowns: Which is Right for You? A veneer is a very thin layer of porcelain or other material, about 1 millimeter (mm) thick, that is bonded to the front of your existing tooth. Veneers are primarily used for cosmetic improvement.

A crown is about 2 mm thick and covers the entire tooth. If you have lost 50-60% of your tooth structure due to decay, trauma, or other reasons, we choose crowns for your treatment. We know that enamel is the strongest substance in the body, and once it is damaged or lost, the remaining part of the tooth is the most fragile. A crown replaces all of the lost enamel, essentially replacing the tooth itself.

Pros of Getting a Crown:

  • Strong and long-lasting
  • Can be budget-friendly as they are made from various materials (porcelain fused to metal alloy (PFM), zirconia, or emax)
  • Provides protection from sensitivity
  • Becomes the main support for the remaining tooth structure after a root canal procedure
  • No need to worry about chewing forces with crowns
  • Any tooth (anterior/posterior) can be restored with a crown
  • If a crown falls off, it can be reattached without the need for replacement

Cons of Getting a Crown:

  • Tooth preparation is required

Pros of Getting a Veneer:

  • Looks great without extensive orthodontic treatment
  • Offers an option for an instant smile makeover
  • Requires minimal tooth preparation
  • Provides an excellent illusion of natural teeth

Cons of Getting a Veneer:

  • Veneers are prone to breaking, especially if the person has bad habits like grinding teeth or biting hard objects
  • It is more challenging for dentists to create things like contact veneers because their use and attachment to the teeth are very difficult
  • Experienced dentists and technicians are required to create these small porcelain pieces
  • Therefore, veneers are more expensive than crowns

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