Veneers and crowns are both dental restoration methods that can improve the look and function of your teeth. The main difference is that a veneer covers only the front of your tooth and a crown covers the entire tooth.
Dental restoration procedures are costly, so it’s important to know which one may be best for you. Although the procedures are different, both have good success rates.
Here’s a look at the differences between veneers and crowns, the pros and cons of each, and how they’re used.
A veneer is a very thin layer of porcelain or other materials, about 1 millimeter (mm) in thickness, that’s bonded to the front of your existing tooth.
A crown is about 2 mm in thickness and covers the whole tooth. It can be all porcelain, porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM), or an all-metal alloy.
Whether a veneer or a crown is right for you will depend on the condition of your teeth and what you’re trying to fix. Common conditions for restoration are:
- discolored teeth
- chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
- decayed or weakened teeth
- crooked teeth
Both crowns and veneers are color matched to your teeth, except for all-metal crowns.
A veneer covers only the front surface of your tooth. They’re not as invasive as crowns, because the preparation leaves more of your original tooth intact.
About half a millimeter of the enamel on the front of the tooth is ground down to roughen the surface for bonding the veneer. Some newer types of veneers don’t need as much grinding of the tooth surface. You may need a local anesthetic for this, because the grinding may be painful.
For a veneer to work properly, your tooth has to have enough enamel on it for a veneer to bond to it.
What’s involved with getting a veneer?
- The dentist will make an impression of your prepared tooth by digitally scanning it or using a mold. The image or mold may be sent out to a lab if your dentist doesn’t have a facility on site.
- Depending on how much your tooth was trimmed, you may have a temporary veneer placed on the tooth until the new one is ready.
- When ready, the permanent veneer will replace the temporary one. It will be bonded to the tooth with a special cement and hardened with an ultraviolet lamp.
- There’s typically minimal movement of the tooth after the veneer is in place. But you may need to wear a night guard to protect the veneer if you grind or clench your teeth at night.
A crown covers the entire tooth. With a crown, more of the tooth needs to be filed or ground down to prepare for the crown placement.
If you have tooth decay, your dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth before making the crown. In this case, your tooth may need to be built up to support the crown.
Your tooth may also need to be built up if it’s damaged. You may have a local anesthetic for this procedure.
What’s involved with getting a crown?
- Your dentist will produce an impression of your tooth by digitally scanning it or by making a mold. The image or mold will be sent out to a lab for fabrication of the crown, if the dental office doesn’t have a lab facility.
- The dentist may place a temporary crown on your ground-down tooth so that you can use your tooth while the permanent crown is being made.
- When the permanent crown is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary crown. They’ll then place the permanent crown on your tooth and will adjust it so that it fits correctly and your bite is right. Then they’ll cement the new crown into place.
- Teeth with crowns may have some movement, which can change your bite. If this happens, you’ll need to have the crown adjusted.
If your tooth has a large filling, a root canal, or is very worn or cracked, a crown is likely the best option.
If your tooth is basically intact and the restoration is for cosmetic purposes, a veneer may be the best option. Veneers can also be used for minor shape corrections.
Veneers and crowns can be costly. Individual costs vary, depending on the size of your tooth, where it is in your mouth, and the average prices in your area.
Most dental insurance programs won’t cover cosmetic dentistry. Also, most dental plans have a maximum annual limit of coverage. Check with your insurance company to see what they’ll cover.
According to the American Cosmetic Dentistry organization, the cost for a veneer can range between $925 to $2,500 per tooth.
Porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite veneers, but they last longer, according to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry. The price of composite veneers ranges from $250 to $1,500 per tooth.
The cost of a crown varies by the material used to make the crown, the amount of prep work needed, and the size of the tooth.
According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, crowns can range in price from $1,000 to $3,500 per tooth. This figure doesn’t include other procedures such as core buildup or root canals that might be needed before the crown is made.
Porcelain and ceramic crowns tend to be slightly more expensive than all-metal crowns.
Ways to save
Ask your dentist if they have a budget or payment plan, or if you can space out your payments over one or two years without interest.
Dental prices in your area may vary. Call other local dentists to see if there are better options.
If you live near a university with a dental school, you may be able to find a dental clinic where supervised dental students perform dental procedures for crowns, veneers, and other dental needs at reduced rates.
- They may be more aesthetically pleasing than crowns in the long run, because they don’t show a gum margin after several years, as crowns sometimes do.
- Some veneers don’t require a lot of trimming, so more of your healthy natural tooth remains.
- Teeth with veneers have minimal movement.
- Veneers leave more areas of your tooth exposed to new decay.
- Composite veneers cost less, but may only last 5–7 years. Other materials last longer, but may have to be replaced.
- Veneers aren’t reversible.
- Veneers may not be covered by dental insurance.
- All of the tooth is covered, so your tooth is more protected from decay.
- Porcelain crowns look and feel just like your natural teeth.
- Crowns are relatively permanent and don’t have to be removed for cleaning as dentures do.
- Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost of a crown.
- More of your natural tooth is removed to make room for the crown.
- Your crowned tooth may be more sensitive to heat and cold initially and you may experience gum pain. If sensitivity increases, schedule a follow-up visit.
- Porcelain is fragile and can be damaged over time.
- Porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM) crown shows a thin dark line between your natural tooth and the crown.
You’ll want to know at the outset how much your crown or veneer is going to cost, and how much, if anything, your insurance will pay toward the cost. You’ll also want to know about your dentist’s experience with both procedures.
Other questions for your dentist depend on your particular needs, but some questions you may want to ask include the following:
- Are there other options to consider, such as dentures or implants?
- How long do you expect my veneer or crown material to last?
- Will the initial cost cover subsequent visits if the crown fit isn’t right?
- Will I need to wear a mouth guard?
- Do you recommend any special care for the veneer or crown?
Advice from a dentist
Kenneth Rothschild, DDS, FAGD, PLLC, has 40 years of experience as a general dentist and is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry and Seattle Study Club. He’s been awarded a Fellowship in the Academy, and he’s completed mini-residences in prosthodontics and orthodontics.
“The most important things to consider when deciding between veneers and crowns,” Rothschild said, “are that porcelain laminate veneers require less tooth reduction than full crown coverage preparations. They are also more aesthetically pleasing, when indicated.”
“The costs of veneers and crowns are similar,” Rothschild said. “Veneers, when suggested, are usually available for anterior (front) teeth and occasionally bicuspids. If existing tooth structure is minimal, then full coverage crowns are generally preferred over veneers.”
Rothschild recommends asking if your dentist uses conservative depth cutting techniques when preparing teeth for porcelain laminate veneers.
Also, because color match is important, ask whether lab porcelain technicians are available to aid in shade and tint selections.
Both veneers and crowns can improve your smile and the function of your teeth. Both are costly procedures, especially when more than one tooth is involved.
Veneers are used when you want cosmetic improvement, like covering crooked or chipped teeth, especially your front teeth.
Crowns are used when the tooth has a lot of decay or is broken or needs a root canal. Crowns may also be more appropriate when you need to brace adjoining teeth.
Getting regular dental checkups and practicing good dental hygiene are vital for maintaining your veneer or crown and the rest of your teeth.
Dental crowns are typically the best option if your tooth is very damaged, has a large filling, or has undergone a root canal, since the tooth enamel is more compromised and will need better protection. Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are best for purely cosmetic purposes.What is the difference between veneers & crowns? ›
Structurally, veneers cover the front tooth surface while leaving the rest of the original tooth intact. A crown procedure can also change the way teeth look. The main difference is that crowns are used when there is significant damage (such as wear) or when restorations such as a large filling is not appropriate.Do veneers or crowns look more natural? ›
Many people prefer veneers because they look more natural since they do not show a gum margin after a few years. A crown protects teeth from decay because the entire tooth is covered. Veneers are often not covered by dental insurance because they are for cosmetic purposes.Why are people getting crowns instead of veneers? ›
A dental crown can be applied to improve the appearance of your teeth, where there is not enough tooth structure to support a veneer – but still creating the smile you've always dreamed of! In some cases, you may require a dental crown where your tooth has become weak from wear and tear, decay or breakage.Which last longer veneers or crowns? ›
Shorter term: Veneers will typically not last as long as crowns or other dental restoration methods, with the more durable options being more expensive. Limited insurance coverage: Often, veneers will not be covered by dental or medical insurance as they are not considered to be medically necessary.Do crowns on front teeth look natural? ›
Will a front crown look natural? Yes. The dentist can match the color of the crown to the shade of the surrounding teeth by using tooth-colored resin or by using porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal crown.How long do crowns last on front teeth? ›
On average the dental crowns for the front teeth last for up to fifteen years. Some good quality dental crowns will last up to thirty years. Most dental cover insurance providers are willing to pay for a replacement of the dental crowns after five years of the initial installation.How long does a crown last? ›
The average lifespan for a well-maintained dental crown is typically around 15 years. However, when taken care of properly, it is common to see them last upwards of 25-30 years.Are teeth rotting under veneers? ›
One of the most common questions we get from our patients about porcelain veneers is: Do teeth rot under veneers? The quick and simple answer is: No. Under normal circumstances, teeth should not rot under veneers. As long as your veneers are properly applied and maintained, your natural teeth are well protected.How much is a full set of crowns? ›
The price of a crown depends primarily on the material used to make it, which may be porcelain, ceramic, metal, or combination of materials. Prices average between $1,000 and $1,500, while topping out around $2,500. Dental insurance should cover the cost if you're getting a crown due to medical necessity.
Most people do not have any regrets about moving forward with veneers. If anything, they regret having waited so long to correct their smile. Veneers can erase years and years of insecurities and confidence issues.Do teeth have to be shaved down for crowns? ›
A crown is a cap that fits over a damaged tooth or a tooth with a root canal. Typically, a dentist will need to trim your tooth down (known as preparing the tooth) before applying the crown.Can crowns be whitened? ›
Since crowns can't be whitened, your smile can only ever be as white as your crown. If possible, whiten your teeth before placing your crown to ensure an ideal shade match. Shade-matching prior to treatment is the best way to get the results you want because you have the most control before your permanent crown.Which crown lasts the longest? ›
Metal crowns rarely chip or break, last the longest in terms of wear down and only require a small amount of your tooth to be removed. They can also withstand biting and chewing forces. The metallic color is the main drawback of this type of crown. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.What crown is best for front teeth? ›
Porcelain and Ceramic Crowns: These are the most natural-looking crowns and can be shaded to perfectly match your front teeth so that they are indistinguishable from them. That is why they are the most common type for the front teeth.What are the disadvantages of veneers? ›
- Veneers are permanent.
- They can make teeth a bit more sensitive to heat and cold.
- While porcelain veneers are less susceptible to staining, composite veneers may stain.
- Veneers aren't a solution for failing teeth. Talk with your dentist about other options such as crowns.
Biting on your crown should be no different from biting on any other tooth. It should be just as strong. But, avoid using it for the first couple days of getting your cap. It can take time for the cement bond to fully seal.What should I avoid with crowns? ›
- Hard or crunchy foods like pretzels, seeds, or nuts. ...
- Sticky foods like steak and candies. ...
- Popcorn and nuts. ...
- If you're the type that likes chewing on ice, it is important that you stop as this can cause damage to your dental crown.
- Raw vegetables.
Full-ceramic crowns are often the most aesthetically pleasing, offering what many people consider the most natural look.How much is a dental crown 2022? ›
Dental Crown Cost. As of 2022, over 90% percent of porcelain dental crowns cost between $850-1,750 per tooth, not including dental procedures that may be required before they are applied. There are a few factors that play a role in the wide range in costs. These include issues inside your mouth as well as location.
When you have your natural tooth, the light can pass through. But with the crown's metal, the light cannot pass through it causing the crown to look darker.How long does it take to prepare front tooth for crown? ›
Preparing Your Tooth for a Dental Crown
This step typically takes 50 to 90 minutes to complete. First, your dentist will remove any decay if present and measure your tooth's outer portion to ensure the crown will fit properly and precisely.
In most cases, at least two millimeters of tooth structure is required in order to place a crown. Generally, this means that at least one-quarter of the visible portion of the tooth must be present and healthy enough to support a dental crown.Can you put crowns on all your teeth? ›
Regardless of the number of teeth that need treatment, your dentist can help you. Crowns can fit over multiple teeth, even if they are severely damaged. Make an appointment today so you can start on the path to achieving a beautiful smile.How many times a crown can be replaced? ›
You can replace the crown as many times as you want if there is nothing wrong with it. What we mean by that is that there is no tooth decay underneath the cap. In this case, your dentist can simply remove it and just remake a new one without harming the underlying tooth structure.Can a permanent crown come off? ›
Whether you have a temporary or permanent crown you should be aware that it may eventually come off. For some it may be painful, but when most people have a crown fall off it is simply more of an inconvenience.What age do people get crowns? ›
Thus, for this reason, dentists should not perform cosmetic dentistry – such as veneers, crowns and implants until teeth maturity, generally at about 17/18 years of age.Why do veneers smell? ›
Bad smells that seem to come from your veneers or areas of your tooth and gums around your veneers are unfortunately common because tooth decay, gum disease, and poor oral hygiene are also common.Do veneers make your breath stink? ›
If porcelain veneers aren't fitted properly, they can create small ledges around the veneer that allow for the accumulation of food particles and oral bacteria. This makes reservoir of oral bacteria that can then contribute to decay, gum disease, and, of course, foul smells.Why do people destroy their teeth for veneers? ›
Once your teeth are healthy and ready to go, we need to prep your teeth. To prep your teeth for porcelain veneers, we must first remove a thin layer of your enamel to make room for the veneers. Although this might sound harmful to your teeth, it's not because we're bonding veneers over your teeth.
Yes, dental crowns are worth the cost depending on the reason why you need them. When you have severely worn out or damaged teeth, they can be strengthened with dental crowns.How much is a full mouth of porcelain crowns? ›
Determining the Full Mouth Veneers Cost
The industry average for a single porcelain veneer ranges from $900 to $2,500 per tooth. Based on that price, a full set of porcelain veneers can range from $7,200 to $20,000. It's difficult to estimate a cost for any single patient because everyone's needs are different.
If your crown and tooth are in good shape, it can simply be reattached with dental cement, and this repair will last for years to come. However, it may be possible that either the crown or tooth is damaged, making crown reattachment inadvisable.Which veneer color is best? ›
Use the whites of your eyes for guidance. Your veneers should never be whiter than the whites of your eyes. Fairer skin tones should pick from the whitest colors available. Since fairer skin doesn't contrast with the color of the teeth very much, a lighter shade is necessary to make your teeth appear white.What is the highest grade of veneer? ›
There are four grades of plywood veneer: A, B, C, and D. A-grade plywood is the highest quality.What is the best type of veneer to get? ›
Ceramic veneers are one of the most popular types of veneers used and are generally considered an excellent choice for many patients due to their: Natural appearance. Ability to mimic your natural teeth. Durability.Can you go back to normal teeth after veneers? ›
Keep in mind that veneers are permanent and require preparation (light shaving) of your natural teeth. Once you receive them, you can't go back to your natural teeth.Can you tell someone has veneers? ›
When designed by an experienced dentist and fabricated by a master dental technician, it is tough to tell if someone is wearing veneers. This is because well-designed veneers become virtually indistinguishable from your teeth.Who shouldnt get veneers? ›
Placing veneers on a patient with gingivitis could end up with two undesirable results: Bleeding or swollen gums will interfere with the impression process, resulting in veneers that don't fit very well. If the gingivitis goes untreated, the gums will continue to recede and reveal the margin of the veneer.Can you chew gum with crowns on your teeth? ›
Dental crowns are strong enough to chew food, gum included. You may want to refrain from chewing gum while getting used to a new crown, and sticky foods can cause the crown to loosen over time.
After the area is numbed, the dentist or periodontist makes small cuts to pull the gums away from the teeth and remove excess gum. In some cases, removing gum tissue is all that is needed to expose more of the crown.Can you brush a crown? ›
Your crown may be “artificial,” but the supporting tooth underneath still needs routine oral care to stay healthy and sound. Even though the crown extends over the entire tooth surface, you still need to brush the crown carefully to remove sticky plaque film and to keep the crown looking its best.Do all crowns turn black? ›
Metal Showing Through
In most cases, a black line forms because the metal from the crown is showing through. Since older dental crowns are typically made of porcelain fused to metal, the metal will eventually become exposed as the gumline moves and recedes over time.
Graying Can Happen From Fillings or Dental Crowns
Not only do silver fillings have toxic mercury in them, but the metal also bleeds and ends up staining the surrounding teeth and gums an ugly color. Tooth-colored fillings and crowns are now becoming more of the standard for restorations.
Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Your dentist will match your veneers and porcelain crowns with your original teeth color. To prevent them from becoming stained or discolored, brush with a whitening toothpaste. Ask your dentist to recommend a good whitening toothpaste that is non-abrasive.
There are multiple reasons a dentist may recommend a dental crown. Some situations make the crown unavoidable, while others can be solved with alternatives. The most common reasons for a dental crown are root canals, tooth decay and tooth damage.Can teeth rotten under veneers? ›
One of the most common questions we get from our patients about porcelain veneers is: Do teeth rot under veneers? The quick and simple answer is: No. Under normal circumstances, teeth should not rot under veneers. As long as your veneers are properly applied and maintained, your natural teeth are well protected.Can your teeth still rot with veneers? ›
While veneers do not make it more likely that you'll suffer from cavities, they do make it more important than ever that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine. The teeth under your veneers can still accumulate plaque and tartar, which means they may eventually develop tiny holes in them.Do your teeth get ruined with veneers? ›
The short answer is no.
Nothing will happen to your teeth as long as you take care of your veneers – which is easy to do. Having said this, decay can still occur if veneers aren't installed properly, or you neglect your dental hygiene.
Biting on your crown should be no different from biting on any other tooth. It should be just as strong. But, avoid using it for the first couple days of getting your cap. It can take time for the cement bond to fully seal.
The price of a crown depends primarily on the material used to make it, which may be porcelain, ceramic, metal, or combination of materials. Prices average between $1,000 and $1,500, while topping out around $2,500. Dental insurance should cover the cost if you're getting a crown due to medical necessity.What is better than dental crowns? ›
If your tooth has a large filling, a root canal, or is very worn or cracked, a crown is likely the best option. If your tooth is basically intact and the restoration is for cosmetic purposes, a veneer may be the best option. Veneers can also be used for minor shape corrections.