Difference between a Crown and a Veneer

December 20, 2016 by Editorial Team

Whether you face the camera every day or not, a beautiful smile is the best “makeup” you can put on and without a doubt, discolored and imperfectly shaped teeth can easily lower your self-esteem. Luckily, professionals discovered innovative procedures that will help you achieve that perfect smile that will definitely give your confidence a boost: veneers and crowns. If you are considering enhancing your smile, it is important to know what the two techniques involve. This article does not substitute expert advice, but will give you an idea of the difference between the two.


Crown vs Veneer
A crown encases an entire tooth

A dental crown is used to encase a damaged or imperfect tooth or to strengthen a decaying one that is affecting your bite. It has the same color as your original tooth so you can hardly tell it is there, although a crown may notably change the shape of a tooth. To make sure the crown fits properly, a reasonable amount of real tooth enamel will be removed.

There are several types of dental crowns available today. The porcelain type of crown is used for the front teeth because of its natural finish, while the gold type is usually used for the back teeth as it is more resistant. Another type of crown, which is the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown, is the most versatile type as it can be used for both front and back teeth. It looks like porcelain but is as strong as metal.

A veneer is a thin shell that covers the outer surface of a tooth

A veneer is a very thin shell (less than 1 mm) used to enhance a tooth that was damaged by chipping, discoloration, misalignments, or gaps. Before the veneer is bonded to the outer surface of the tooth, a small part (about 1 mm or less) of the tooth structure is removed to make sure the veneer fits securely and to make sure your bite is not affected.

There are two types of veneers available on the market today: composite resin and porcelain. Both are durable but porcelain has a very natural look.

Crown vs Veneer

What, then, is the difference between a crown and a veneer?

In terms of application, a veneer is a wafer-thin shell that covers only the outer surface of the tooth, while a crown encases an entire tooth. To make sure the veneer bonds to the tooth perfectly, a small amount of the real tooth enamel will be scraped. On the contrary, fitting a crown normally requires a notable amount of tooth structure to be changed or removed.

Further, a veneer enhances a tooth that is worn, stained, chipped, deformed, or misaligned. A crown, on the other hand, not only improves the aesthetics of the tooth but also strengthens it. This is especially important if it is a decaying tooth affecting your bite. A veneer does not affect your bite and does not significantly change the shape of your tooth unlike a crown, which can create notable changes to the shape of your tooth.

Additionally, a veneer can be composite resin or porcelain, while a crown can be porcelain, gold, or porcelain-fused-to-metal.

Comparison Chart

Encases an entire toothA thin shell that is bonded to the surface of the tooth
Enhances the shape of the tooth; strengthens a decayed tooth that is affecting your biteCovers stains on tooth; improves crooked shape, gaps, chipping, or misalignment
Requires a significant amount of real tooth enamel to be removedMay require tooth enamel to be removed, but only a maximum of 1 mm in most cases, to make sure the veneer sits perfectly
Can be porcelain, gold, or porcelain-fused-to-metalCan be composite resin or porcelain