Veneers and Dental Crowns – What’s the Difference?

Veneers and dental crowns are two of the most common and effective dental care methods to restore your smile’s original brilliance. Not only can they improve the look of your teeth, but they can also boost their functionality. Veneers and crowns may seem similar. However, they actually fulfill different purposes. For instance, veneers are considered a cosmetic dental treatment, while crowns serve a more functional purpose. They are generally not used interchangeably, so it is best to get a dentist’s recommendation. Which of the two methods is right for you, however, can be determined by looking at the differences between them.

What is a Veneer?

A veneer is a covering of very thin porcelain bonded to the front of an already-existing tooth. Because the process leaves more of the original tooth intact, the overall procedure is less invasive than applying a crown. The dentist will grind down a portion of the tooth to bond the veneer to the existing enamel, though the amount of filing required varies by each individual patient’s tooth. They can be used to cover minor aesthetic concerns such as cracks, crookedness, staining, or other noninvasive matters. A veneer is probably the best option if the tooth is mostly intact and only needs slight correction to improve its appearance.

What are Crowns?

A crown is a layer of either porcelain, porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM), or an all-metal alloy measuring about 2mm thick that covers the entire tooth. The process is more invasive than applying a veneer, as the crown requires more filing down of the existing tooth to be completely encased. If there is tooth decay, that portion of the tooth must be removed and built back to apply the crown.

What is the Price Difference?

A veneer usually costs between $925 and $2,500 per tooth, while a crown can range between $1,000 and $3,500 per tooth. Veneers can also be applied as a composite group for a lower price per tooth if multiple coverings are needed to correct a cosmetic point. Though crowns tend to be more expensive than veneers, they may be covered by dental insurance, while veneers, sometimes considered to be aesthetic procedures, may not.

Which is right for you?

The tooth’s state usually determines whether to apply a veneer or a crown in question. Veneers are mostly used for cosmetic purposes on a mostly intact tooth, whether it is cracked, crooked, or needs minor reshaping to improve its appearance. On the other hand, crowns are a better option if the tooth is damaged or eroded in any way. This can include decay, a root canal, or other clinical damage to the tooth’s enamel. Additionally, veneers may need to be replaced after a few years, while crowns are often permanent. Discuss with your dentist which cosmetic dental procedure is best for you and the state of your tooth. A restorative treatment and good dental hygiene will return your smile to its original state in no time.