Veneers vs. Crowns Pros and Cons

By Mitch Rice

When it comes to dental restoration methods, there are two methods that come to mind. They include veneers and crowns. Both the procedures help improve the look and functioning of the teeth. However, the main difference between the two is that a crown covers the entirety of the tooth, whereas, a veneer only covers the front part of the tooth. Since dental restoration procedures can be expensive, it is important to know more about the procedures. This post takes a close look at the differences between the procedures in terms of pros and cons.

What Is the Difference Between a Veneer and a Crown?

A veneer consists of a thin layer of porcelain or any other material. It measures about 1 mm in thickness and is bonded onto the existing tooth. On the other hand, a crown covers the entire tooth and measures 2 mm in thickness. You can get one in porcelain, an all-metal alloy, or porcelain fused to a metal alloy. Whether you should get veneers or crowns depends on the condition of the teeth and the issue that you want to resolve. Some of the common conditions of restoration are mentioned below.

  • Crooked Teeth
  • Weakened or Decayed Teeth
  • Broken, Cracked, or Chipped Teeth
  • Discolored Teeth

The veneers or crowns that you get will be matched with the color of your teeth unless you opt for all-metal crowns.

What Are Veneers?

Veneers cover the front part of the tooth and are not as invasive as crowns. In fact, the preparation leaves most of the original tooth intact. To roughen the surface of the enamel for bonding the veneers, it has to be grounded down by about half a millimeter. However, the latest types of veneers do not require much grinding. A local anesthetic might be required for the grinding as the process can be painful. In order for veneers to work, your teeth need to have enough enamel for the veneers to be bonded onto.

What Are Crowns?

Crowns cover the entirety of the teeth. If you decide to get a crown, your tooth would require more grinding to ensure that the crown can be placed. If your tooth has been decayed, the dentist would first remove the decayed part before preparing the crown. In such a case, the tooth would first need to be built up for supporting the crown. Moreover, if your tooth has been damaged, it would also need to be built up first. A local anesthetic may be used for the procedure.

Pros and Cons of Veneers

Veneer Pros

  • One of the main pros of veneers is that they tend to be more aesthetically pleasing in comparison to crowns, especially in the long run. The reason behind this is that they do not reveal a gum margin even if several years have passed.
  • Veneers make minimal movement.
  • There are some types of veneers which do not require as much trimming.

Veneer Cons

  • Veneers might not be covered by your dental insurance.
  • They are not reversible.
  • Although composite veneers do not cost as much, they only last about 5 to 7 years.
  • Veneers leave more parts of the teeth exposed to decay.

Crown Pros

  • Dental insurance might cover a major chunk of the cost of getting crowns.
  • Crowns tend to be permanent which means that you do not have to worry about removing them.
  • Porcelain crowns function similar to natural teeth.
  • Crowns cover the entirety of the tooth which means that the tooth would be better protected against decay.

Crown Cons

  • If you decided to get porcelain fused to a metal alloy crown, it would show a thin dark line between the crown and the natural tooth.
  • Since porcelain is fragile, it can get damaged with time.
  • The crowned tooth might become more sensitive to cold and heat initially which means that you would need to be prepared for gum pain.
  • In order to place the crown, more of the natural tooth would need to be removed to provide room.

How Do You Decide Whether To Get Veneers or Crowns?

Deciding which procedure to opt for is not an easy task. Veneers are the right option if your tooth is still intact and you require restoration for cosmetic purposes. They are typically placed for minor corrections. On the other hand, if your tooth has a root canal, large filling, or is cracked, it might be best for you to opt for a crown.