Veneers vs Crowns: What’s Better For Your Smile?

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

If you're at home and you're not happy with your teeth, because maybe they're too yellow or brown, or maybe you have unsightly white spots or brown spots in your teeth, maybe they're too short or too long, or maybe they're crooked or spaced, but you just don't want to wear braces. Today, I'm going to talk about the two most popular smile makeover procedures that can help, veneers vs crowns, and what's right for your smile.


I'm going to tackle some of your most frequently asked questions that I get about porcelain veneers and dental crowns.

  • What are veneers and what are crowns?
  • What are the differences between veneers and crowns?
  • What are the pros and cons of veneers and crowns?
  • Are crowns more expensive than veneers?
  • And overall what's the better choice?

So what are veneers, and what are dental crowns, and what's the difference between the two cosmetic dental procedures?

What are Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are placed right on the front surfaces of your teeth. They are generally used to cosmetically enhance your smile. The preparation for a dental veneer is very, very conservative, more conservative than crowns. In most instances, depending on the position and the shape of your teeth, we only have to take about half a millimeter to one millimeter off the front surfaces of your teeth, and sometimes the biting surfaces as well.  The key to a successful porcelain veneer procedure is that you've got to have enough tooth enamel structure in order for the dental veneer to bind.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a thicker restoration and it covers the entire surface of the tooth. Crowns are less about cosmetic enhancements and more about protecting the existing tooth. If you have tooth decay, your dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth before making the dental crown. In this case, your tooth may need to be built up with a filling to support the crown. A crown can be all porcelain, porcelain fused to metal material, or all metal.




What Oral Conditions Can Be Corrected Crowns and Veneers?

Whether a porcelain veneer or a dental crown is right for you will depend on the severity of the condition of your teeth, and what you're trying to fix. Common oral conditions that veneers and crowns are used to correct include:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Chipped teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Decayed or weakened teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Tooth defects
  • White spots
  • Brown spots
  • Irregularly shaped teeth like pegged lateral incisors
  • Undersized teeth


What Is The Difference Between A Crown And A Veneer?

Now, let's just take a look at the differences between veneers and crowns, the pros and the cons of each, and how they are used.  Veneers and crowns are both dental restoration methods that can improve the look and function of your teeth. The main difference is that veneers are very, very conservative. They require significantly less drilling and shaping up the teeth. Again, they only cover the front surfaces of your teeth, and most patients request porcelain or composite veneers for cosmetic enhancements when they want to quickly improve the color, the shape, and the position of their teeth without braces, whereas crowns require more drilling and shaping of the entire circumference of the tooth.

A dentist may recommend a crown when they believe that your tooth is either going to fracture because it's weak, or you have a severe chip, severe cavity, or after having a root canal. Dental crowns may also be recommended to mask any moderate to severe discolorations that teeth whitening or veneers can't mask. Both crowns and veneers are color-matched to blend in with their surrounding teeth, but if you're getting a full set of crowns and veneers on your entire mouth for cosmetic enhancements, you can select whatever color you want.  Although both cosmetic procedures are different, with the right dental team, they can look very, very natural, which is the goal, and both can have long-term success rates.


Crowns vs Veneers Pros And Cons

All right, let's talk about the pros and cons of veneers and crowns.


veneers before and after


Benefits of Dental Veneers:

1. Because less trimming is needed with the veneers, more of your healthy natural tooth structure remains.

2. Also because less trimming is needed, they are sometimes more natural-looking and cosmetically pleasing than crowns.

3. You can quickly improve the position of your teeth without braces by getting veneers because they are a great alternative if you are a candidate.

4. Veneers can improve the shape and the color of your teeth, you can also do that after you've had braces.

Veneer Cons:

1. Costs: composite resin veneers cost less, so the alternative is a lot cheaper.

2. Veneers are not reversible

3. Veneers are generally not covered by insurance because they're considered cosmetic enhancements.

Benefits of Dental Crowns:

1.  All of your entire tooth structure is protected from decay. so if you've had an injury or decay to your teeth, you'll get full-coverage protection.

2. If you have dental insurance, your insurance may cover up to 50% of the dental crown.

Dental Crown Cons:

1. You have to take away a lot more tooth structure in order to get a dental crown.

2. The procedure is not reversible.

3. You could possibly have some tooth sensitivity after the procedure because of that additional tooth structure that's taken away.

4. Could cause unsightly dark line at the gum line: Finally, we gotta be really careful about the aesthetics because, especially if your dentist is doing a porcelain crown with metal underneath, we don't want to see that unsightly dark line at the gum line.




Crowns vs Veneer Cost

All right, how much do they cost? Veneers and crowns can be quite costly. The cost may depend on the material being used, the skill of the cosmetic dentist, and your zip code, or where you live. Most dental insurance plans won't cover cosmetic dentistry, especially veneers. There must be evidence on the x-rays of tooth decay or tooth damage in order to get those approved by your insurance.

Most people only have about $1,500 a year in dental insurance to use on all dental services, so you may find that you don't have enough money to get multiple dental restorations. So you may be required to pay in full sometimes, and some dentists don't even take insurance, so you may be required to pay in full, and if you do have some of the insurance money, you'll get reimbursed.


Which Is Better For Your Smile?

So, which is the better choice for your smile, veneers, or crowns? If your teeth are healthy, but you just want to cosmetically enhance them, especially if you don't want to invest the time in wearing braces, a veneer could be your best option. Now, if your tooth has a large filling, a root canal, or is very worn or cracked, or maybe you have moderate or severe tooth discolorations, a dental crown is likely your best option.

If you've been thinking about enhancing or repairing your smile with veneers or crowns, and you want to start planning the smile makeover process at home before you visit a cosmetic dentist for a consult, I have a great resource that can help you. Click here to download my free pre-smile make-over workbook that'll help you evaluate your smile, show you some smile styles, and give you an opportunity to write down a list of questions to discuss with your dentist when you have your consultation to get the most out of your visit.

If you've enjoyed this article, and you want to continue more cosmetic dentistry goodness with me, please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and turn on the notifications, and like the videos so I can know what is bringing value to you, and I can bring more of what you're looking for.

Catrise Austin, DDS