The Difference Between Veneers & Crowns

If you’re considering ways to restore your teeth and enhance your smile, then you have two great options with veneers-and-crowns. Both alternatives are popular, and h can achieve great results.

Alt text = Veneers and crowns
Veneers and Crowns

Although both treatments will improve the appearance of your smile, there are some key differences between them which means it is important to choose the right option for your particular situation. This quick guide will give you all the information you need before discussing your treatment options with your dentist.

What are veneers and crowns?

Generally, both crowns and veneers are forms of dental restoration. Such as they work by adding a covering to an existing tooth to improve its appearance or function. Generally, the main difference between a veneer and a crown is how much of the original tooth is removed, how thick the material covering the tooth is, and how much of the tooth is covered. Both crowns and veneers are effective in improving the aesthetic appearance of teeth.

A veneer is usually made of wafer-thin porcelain and is bonded to the front of a tooth. The porcelain matches your natural teeth. Veneers are strong but brittle, and sharp or repeated impacts can dislodge or crack them.

A crown encases the entire tooth. It may be of metal, porcelain, or a combination of both. It is usually around double the thickness of a veneer, making it more durable and resistant to cracking than a veneer.

Tooth preparation for Veneers and Crowns

Veneers are more conservative treatment than crowns. Your dentist will remove less of the tooth in order to place a veneer. Your dentist will usually just remove a thin layer of tooth enamel from the front of the tooth and will not normally need to touch the core or the back of the tooth.

Crown requires trimming of the existing visible tooth between 60% to 75% before placing the crown. This typically means two to four times as much tooth reduction as veneers.

When are crowns the best choice?

Crowns are typically needed instead of a veneer when there are more fundamental issues with existing teeth. These situations include teeth that are badly broken or cracked, or where root canal treatment has been needed. The crown is used to keep the tooth intact and protect it from any further damage that might lead to extraction. Once the crown is cemented firmly into place, it becomes the new outside surface for the tooth with the nub of the original tooth safely inside.

Veneers and Crowns which are the better choice

Another situation where crowns are a better choice than veneers is where the edge of the tooth has been damaged by grinding. A veneer only covers the front of a tooth, not the edges. Therefore if your teeth have been grind down usually require crowns to improve their appearance.

Crowns are effective solutions for damaged teeth and can deliver a significant change in both the color and shape of existing teeth. Once placing a crown, the tooth will always require some sort of covering.

What to do if your crown comes out

If this happens to you, the most important thing is to retrieve the crown so you can take it to a dentist. There’s a chance that they can clean it up and fit it back into your mouth.

Next, call a dentist to make an appointment. Either your dentist will replace it or get a new one. Ask the dentist if there are any other special instructions that you should follow until your appointment.

Veneers and Crowns

Some dentists might suggest that you try reinserting the crown back into its spot. You would need to gently clean the inside of the crown with toothpaste first. Then, use dental adhesive (or even toothpaste or sugar-free gum) to temporarily “glue” the crown back into its spot on your jawline. You can buy temporary dental cement at a pharmacy or grocery store.

Until you get your new crown, you should also try to be careful when eating and avoid chewing on the crown. Stick to soft foods and liquids until you can get them replaced.

Treating teeth after a crown falls out

After your crown becomes dislodged, a dentist will evaluate both the site of the crown and the crown itself.

Depending on the integrity of the crown and the status of your mouth, they’ll have to decide whether to reinstall the crown or to create and install a new one.

It can be possible to use an existing crown even if your tooth is fractured underneath, although it may need a little work before it can be reinstalled. However, if your tooth underneath is broken, you may need a new crown to ensure a perfect fit.

If you need a new crown and your tooth is damaged, a dentist will need to prepare your tooth, which may mean filing the tooth or adding some filling material to build it up. Then, the dentist will install a temporary crown to allow for some time to make the new one.

Some dentists also offer same-day crowns made out of very strong ceramic material like CEREC. You can forego the temporary crown in this situation.

Why does dental crowns come loose?

You may not even realize that your crown has become loose until it actually falls out. There are a variety of reasons, however, that it can happen.

Sometimes, you can develop tooth decay in the remainder of the tooth under the crown. Bacteria can creep up under the crown and cause decay to begin. Especially if some of the cement gets worn or washed away. As the decay takes hold, it can affect the fit of the crown.

The crown may become loose and more prone to falling out. Sometimes, there’s just not enough tooth left to hold a crown firmly in place.

Other causes of loose crowns can include:

  • an improperly fitted crown
  • not enough cement holding the crown in place
  • also, sticky foods that pull a crown out of place
  • grinding your teeth
  • a seriously weakened tooth

Sometimes a crown can get partially dislodge. If it’s hanging precariously by one side, you might want to go ahead and remove the crown.

Can you prevent a crown from falling out?

There’s not much you can do if your crown wasn’t properly fitted into your mouth or if the cement has weakened. But you can still be proactive about taking care of your crown to reduce the chances that it will come loose.

A few steps recommended by the Academy of General Dentistry include:

  • don’t chew ice
  • avoid or be very careful eating very sticky or chewy foods
  • brush your teeth twice a day
  • floss regularly
  • use an interdental brush (a wider brush that goes in between teeth like floss) to remove any plaque from the area where your gum meets the tooth and crown

If you grind your teeth at night, a dentist might also recommend that you wear a mouthguard to protect your crown and your other teeth.


If you lose a crown, you’re not the first or the last person to do so. The most important thing to remember is to call a dentist to schedule an appointment to have the crown refitted or replaced. In the meantime, hold onto the crown and go easy on your mouth when eating.

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.

Your dentist will match the color of both the crowns and veneers of your teeth, except for all-metal crowns.

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 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.

How do you know which one is right for you?

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 is good for minor shape corrections.

Costs of veneers and crowns

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.


Porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite veneers, but they last longer. 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. Porcelain and ceramic crowns tend to be slightly more expensive than all-metal crowns.

Ways to save for Veneers and Crowns

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.

Generally, dental prices in your area may vary. Call other local dentists to see if there are better options.

Pros and cons of veneers and crown

Veneer pros

  • 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.

Veneer cons

  • 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.
  • Also, veneers aren’t reversible.
  • Dental insurance may not cover veneers.

Crown pros

  • Crowns cover all the teeth so your tooth is more protected from decay.
  • Porcelain crowns look and feel just like your natural teeth.
  • Thus you don’t need to remove it as dentures for cleaning.
  • Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost of a crown.

Crown cons

  • Your dentist will remove more of your natural tooth 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.

Question to ask your dentist about Veneers and Crowns

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 depending on your particular needs, but some questions you may want to ask to 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 mouthguard?
  • Do you recommend any special care for the veneer or crown?

Suggestions from dentists

The most important things to consider when deciding between veneers and crowns 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. Veneers, when suggested, are usually available for anterior (front) teeth and occasionally bicuspids. If the existing tooth structure is minimal, then full coverage crowns are generally good over veneers.

The dentist 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.

The bottom line of Veneers and Crowns

Both veneers and crowns can improve your smile and the function of your teeth. Both are costly procedures, especially if you need more than one tooth.

If you like covering crooked or chipped teeth, especially your front teeth then Veneers are a good cosmetic improvement.

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 is vital for maintaining your veneer or crown and the rest of your teeth.

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