Crowns vs Veneers: How Do They Compare & Which Is Better?

Crowns vs Veneers: How Do They Compare & Which Is Better?

Lack of awareness or lack of care can cause teeth to become crooked, chipped, yellowed, or misaligned. You can even lose them entirely. Unfortunately, these problems are sometimes unavoidable. An injury could be caused by a bad fall, getting sick, or experiencing blunt trauma. However, in all these cases, dental restorations can be beneficial, which is why “crowns vs veneers” is hotly debated.

Many people opt for the two either for functional or cosmetic reasons. Our teeth are an important physical asset. Our facial features work in harmony to create a blend of beauty unique to each individual. But one feature stands out the most and is considered most important in making first impressions, and that is our smile. Crowns and veneers can help make them beautiful again.

What are Dental Veneers? 

Many people seek dental veneers if their teeth have gaps between them or they’re yellow, broken, or chipped. They are most suitable for those individuals who have minor dental problems. Through thin layers of porcelain, ceramic, or composite, the teeth are laminated. Although in the case of dental veneers, only the front surface of the tooth is covered.

Porcelain veneers are more commonly used and recommended because they give a natural appearance and are greater in their likeness to other teeth, including strength. The aim of these procedures is to improve the overall functionality of your teeth as well as to improve the appearance of your smile.

As far as the tooth prepping for veneers is concerned, it is quite minimal. The veneer itself is going to be 1mm thick. The dentist will shave the enamel only half a millimetre so that the veneer does not appear boxy or unnatural.

What are Dental Crowns? 

Unlike porcelain veneers, a dental crown is like a cap that covers the existing tooth in its entirety. This leads many people to think that crowns are just full veneers, which causes confusion. Although it may not be completely wrong if you think about them in that way. 

Dental crowns are recommended when the tooth has experienced significant damage or decay. It could be because of many reasons, such as smoking or protecting a fractured tooth from completely breaking. A weak tooth may also find greater safety in the cocoon of a crown. As crown treatments require full coverage, more tooth-prepping is required.

It will require shaving down the teeth to half their original size. The crowns themselves are filled with cement and then anchored to the existing teeth. If the natural tooth structure has completely degraded, you’d need an implant for the placement of a crown.

However, crowns are also more durable than veneers because they mimic the structure of the actual tooth. Additionally, they are recommended for back teeth over veneers because their durability allows them to withstand strong pressure from food grinding. They’re also better if you have bruxism.

Crowns vs Veneers: What’s the Difference?

The following is a summary of the differences between crowns vs veneers:

Crowns Veneers
Structure A dental cap that surrounds the whole toothA wafer-thin shell that only covers the front surface of the tooth 
Preparation Tooth is shaved down to stubs, and the crown is placed on them using dental cementHalf a millimetre of the enamel is shaved, and composite resin cement is used for sticking the veneer
Suitability Extensive tooth damage due to decay, injury, trauma and fixing crooked teethRelatively minor dental problems like chips, gaps, discolouration
Strength More durable Relatively less durable 
AppearanceLooks like natural teeth, especially if the crown is made of zirconium there will be no black gumline Looks as good as a crown, like natural teeth
Permanence Irreversible and lasts for 10-15 yearsIrreversible and lasts for 5-10 years
Staining Does not stain easily Does not stain easily 
Crowns vs veneers

Are Veneers Cheaper Than Crowns? 

In general, veneers are cheaper than crowns. Veneers are available on the NHS if there is a “clinical need” for them. As for crowns, they are available in the same scenario in the Band 3 for £282.80. And since these dental restorations will have to be replaced in the future, they can get quite expensive. The starting cost of crowns and veneers in Turkey is £180, which is why many people get dental treatments in other countries.

Keep in mind that the prices of these dental restorations can vary depending on the material from which they’re made. Porcelain veneers are the most expensive among veneers, and zirconium crowns are the most expensive among crowns due to their durability and aesthetic appeal. However, it should also be noted that crowns last for longer than veneers, and they’re also more protective of the underlying tooth. The treatment you need will depend on the condition of your teeth. You should discuss crowns vs veneers with your dentist in detail.

Crowns vs Veneers: What Are They Made Of? 

While both of them have a tooth-like appearance, they’re made of different materials. Knowing about them will help you decide which one you want to go with. Some types of materials are used for the preparation of both crowns and veneers. The choice of material can depend on:

  • Location of the tooth
  • Colour of the surrounding teeth
  • Aesthetic concerns 

Porcelain

Both crowns and veneers are prepared with porcelain because it looks the most natural. This material also doesn’t stain easily. So, if you’re in the habit of drinking tea, coffee or red wine, you can benefit more from this, especially if it’s front teeth crowns vs veneers. As far as veneers are concerned, they have pure porcelain varieties.

But when it comes to crowns, pure porcelain ones are not typically used. Instead, porcelain fused zirconium or metal crowns are used. Both of these have a coating of porcelain on them, but their bases are made of different materials, which are stronger than porcelain. Because porcelain is strong and promises good functionality when applied, it is widely used in different dental restorations.  

Zirconium 

Zirconia, also known as zirconium dioxide, is a white crystalline oxide made from the metal zirconium. The material is extremely durable, more so than porcelain. It’s also more stain-resistant than porcelain. Further, zirconia acts as an ideal base for porcelain because the bonding process between the two elements is strong. They may be used without any fear of an allergic reaction by the body. For a darker tooth, zirconia is usually used. 

Zirconium is commonly used in the preparation of crowns and not veneers. The reason why it’s not used for veneers is that it is difficult to bond it to the tooth when resin cement is used. This does not make it suitable as the veneers would keep coming off.

Emax

Emax is made from lithium disilicate glass-ceramic. This material is also used for the preparation of both crowns and veneers. As Emax is more translucent than zirconia, it may help you attain more natural results by allowing more light to pass through. It has a wider shade scale, and you’re more likely to find a colour that is more like that of your “original” teeth.

Which is Better: Veneers or Crowns?

When it comes to crowns vs veneers, both can improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile. Veneers are not primarily concerned with improving function, even though it does help with it. Between the two, the final decision will depend on the condition of your teeth. If your existing tooth is badly damaged and you want to conserve the remaining structure, crowns will suit you better. However, if you want to take care of minor chips, gaps, crookedness and discolouration, you can benefit more from a veneer.

It is almost entirely up to the patient’s needs and desires. You can choose among different materials for crowns vs veneers depending on how much you’re willing to spend on them while keeping the different trade-offs between durability and aesthetics in mind. You should discuss your lifestyle and nutritional habits with your dentist to come to a better decision in this regard.

Concluding Remarks

Not everyone is looking for the same thing when it comes to taking care of themselves. Certainly, not everyone has the same problems. So, you shouldn’t think that you should also be getting what others are. Crowns vs veneers are so hotly debated because many people don’t understand the difference between the and the kind of preparation they require. The main difference between crowns vs veneers is that a crown covers the whole tooth while veneers only cover the front surface. No single dental restoration is one-size-fits-all. You need the one that best meets your needs.

Keep in mind that dental crowns are no thicker than 2mm while veneers are only 1mm thick. Because of this reason, they require different kinds of prepping. More of your tooth needs to be shaved down for a crown. And since that process is irreversible, you need to make sure that you find a surgeon whose judgement you can trust. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about getting crowns vs veneers.