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Veneers vs Crowns – Key Facts and Differences

Cosmetic dentistry can improve the look of your natural teeth. If you want to preserve an existing tooth, veneers can enhance its appearance.

However, dental implants and crowns are better suited for broken or damaged teeth.

What are Dental Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin shells that are bonded to the front of the tooth to enhance their appearance.

Veneers are made differently depending on the material used. Composite veneers are made from organic and inorganic composite materials. They have a variety of colours to match your teeth and can be immediately stuck onto the tooth.

In contrast, porcelain veneers are made differently. The dentist will take an impression of the patient’s teeth to create a model of their mouth for correct shaping and sizing. From there, a ceramist can build the veneers using thin porcelain using the correct colour and shape to match the patient’s teeth.

The core function of veneers is to treat many cosmetic issues simultaneously such as a damaged tooth, chipped tooth, small tooth, gaps between teeth, misalignment, and even a crooked tooth.

People who are unhappy with their smile and want to improve their confidence can consider getting veneers.

Furthermore, for people with any of the cosmetic blemishes mentioned above, veneers can be a great fit for you. However, veneers aren’t ideal for people with oral health problems like tooth decay and signs of gum disease.

Types of Veneers Available

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are slim wafers that are about 0.5mm thick that fit over the front surface of the tooth.

Typically, trimming involves removing a portion of the tooth enamel to allow the layer of porcelain to stick on through a dental bonding process.

Composite Veneers

Composite veneers are thin tooth-coloured shells made of a composite resin material that go over the front of your teeth.

These veneers are the best option to cover discolouration and broken teeth due to their thickness and opaque shading.

However, they are less durable and may not withstand the effects of bacteria buildup or bad dental hygiene.

countouring edges before and after

Ultra thin Veneers

Ultra-thin veneers, or no-prep veneers, are a conservative option that doesn’t require shaving your tooth. It’s about 0.2mm thick and helps to cover up flaws in the front of your teeth.


Lumineers are a popular brand of ultra-thin veneers manufactured specifically in the DenMat lab. They are typically less expensive, thinner, and look more natural than traditional veneers.

What is Involved in Getting a Veneer?

The process of getting veneers involves three steps. These are preparing the tooth, mould preparation, and veneer placement.

After the initial consultation, an impression of the patient’s teeth will be taken in the dentist’s office. The image or mould created will be sent to the dental lab where the veneer will be built to custom-fit the patient’s teeth.

Next, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing a layer of enamel off the tooth. The layer stripped off is typically equal to the thickness of the veneer that will be placed. Once the prepared tooth is finished, a temporary veneer will be placed on the tooth. Typically, it takes two to three weeks for the permanent veneer to arrive.

Permanent veneers made out of porcelain are more natural-looking due to the translucent material. The dentist is now ready to bond the veneer to the tooth using an ultraviolet lamp. When shining the light on the material, it will harden and cement the veneer onto the surface of the tooth.

What are Dental Crowns?

Crowns are a cosmetic treatment that covers the entire tooth. They are made differently depending on the type that is used. It can be constructed from many materials, such as metal (alloy or gold), ceramic, resin, or stainless steel.

However, when a temporary crown is used, typically, it is manufactured with an acrylic-based material.

The core function of dental crowns is the improve the appearance of teeth. Like veneers, you can consider crowns if you are unhappy with your smile.

Additionally, crowns typically are geared towards more serious cosmetic flaws. Patients who are missing their original tooth, have severe tooth decay, damage, discolouration, cracking, or root canal would consider receiving dental crowns.

Types of Crowns Available

Metal Crowns 

Metal crowns can be made from a variety of materials such as nickel, gold, copper, chromium, and palladium. These types of crowns are the strongest and most durable. They tend not to wear away teeth and are fracture-resistant.

One of the main benefits of metal crowns is that they require the least amount of removal of the tooth structure, making them the most conservative option.

Furthermore, these crowns can endure plenty of hard chewing and biting.

Unfortunately, the downside is that the metallic colour isn’t visually appealing and will become apparent when you smile.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal Crowns

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are bonded through a heating process that fuses the porcelain chemicals and oxides into the metal. They provide a better look compared to metal crowns since their colour can be matched to your other teeth.

Unfortunately, they aren’t as strong as metal crowns since they can break or chip off. However, the underlying strength of the metal can provide support to the front or back teeth.

Permanent Crown

Permanent crowns are usually made in the dental lab. These crowns require time to make and temporary ones are placed onto the patient in the meantime. They can be made from many types of materials such as ceramic, resin, metals, and stainless steel.

Permanent crowns provide many advantages over temporary ones. They are fabricated from stronger materials, custom fit the patient’s teeth, and appear more natural-looking.

Ceramic Crown

Ceramic crowns cover front teeth and provide the most natural look. That’s because the crowns are tooth-coloured, which provides a more authentic appearance to match your other teeth. These crowns are made entirely of ceramic material.

These crowns are ideal for people with metal allergies, as they are as strong or durable as other metal crowns.

However, ceramic crowns are more likely to potentially wear down the teeth more than resin or metal crowns. 

Comparison final veneers vs hand made trial veneers

Porcelain Crown

Porcelain crowns are widely considered the most beautiful crowns available. That’s because they have a highly-desired translucent appearance, meaning they appear natural.

Since they are metal-free, they won’t affect people with metal allergies and can help to reduce teeth sensitivity. Unfortunately, these crowns are more expensive than most crowns and are somewhat vulnerable to cracking and breaking.

Porcelain crowns are a type of ceramic material. However, they can be specifically made from many types of porcelain such as Emax, Zirconia, Lava, Procera, feldspathic, and empress.

Resin Crown

Resin crowns are the least expensive option. However, they are more susceptible to wearing and fractures compared to other metal or porcelain crowns.

That’s because resin materials are more fragile and thinner, making them less durable. However, resin crowns are best used for decayed baby teeth instead of permanent teeth.

What is Involved in Getting a Crown?

Depending on the type of crown you get, the dental procedures may differ.

However, generally, it takes two visits to the dentist for the crown to be implemented.

The first step is to prepare the tooth for the crown, which takes about 50 to 90 minutes. The dentist will eliminate any tooth decay or plaque and measure the outer portion of the tooth. He or she will also evaluate the core of the tooth to see if the crown needs additional support.

Next, the dentist will use a digital scanner to take an impression. A mould may be created from paste or putty and sent to a dental lab for fabrication.

While the mould is being created in the dental lab, a temporary crown will be placed on the tooth. The temporary crown is used to safeguard the prepared tooth, while the permanent one is being made.

While wearing the temporary crown, the patient should avoid sticky foods or chewing gum. Typically, it takes about two weeks to build the new crown. Once the permanent crown is finished, it will be sent to the dental office.
Placing the permanent crown onto your teeth takes only about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. The dentist will check to see that the crown fits perfectly. If the fit is good, he or she will cement the crown into position.

When considering the cost of a crown, it’s important to check whether your dental insurance covers crowns. In some cases, insurance companies do not cover cosmetic dentistry procedures.

Knowing Which One is Right For You

When considering whether a crown or veneer is the right option for you, it’s best to contact a professional dentist for advice. They can evaluate your situation by looking at your oral health and understanding your goals to recommend the best option.

In general, veneers are ideal for a tooth that is intact but where you may want to cover up some blemishes such as minor shape corrections, misalignment, or discolouration. However, crowns are best used when a tooth is cracked, worn, has a large filling, or root canal.

Veneers on model

Summarising the Main Differences between Veneers and Crowns

Although veneers and crowns both provide the patient with a smile makeover, there are big differences between the two.

Area Covered

Veneers only cover the front of a tooth, while crowns cover the entire tooth. Both require good oral health and proper maintenance after the procedure, such as flossing, brushing, and routine check-ups.

Teeth Damage

Crowns are designed for more serious tooth damage such as a cracked tooth, root canal, or damaged tooth. Veneers are minimally-invasive and don’t show the gum line after years, whereas crowns do.

A patient needs a crown if they suffer from severe tooth damage, a root canal, a cracked tooth, or a receding gum line.

If a person has their tooth intact and prefers a minimally invasive procedure, veneers can cover up the front teeth without significantly trimming each tooth.

Bespoke Smile aims to provide each patient with their dream smile. We’re dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic dentistry at affordable costs while easing dental anxiety. Our dental clinic aims to deliver a tailored experience to suit your individual needs.

Whether you’re looking for veneers or crowns, contact us today and let us help you with your smile.

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