Dental crowns and veneers are some of the most preferred restorative solutions that can improve the appearance of your smile and the functions of your teeth. Although they seem to offer the same benefits, you cannot use them interchangeably. Depending on your unique dental issues, your dentist will recommend that you choose one of them.

Since these procedures can be costly, it is wise to know which one is best for you before scheduling an appointment with a dentist. We invite you to continue reading this article to better understand the difference between crowns and veneers to make a wise decision for your dental health and smile appearance.

Understanding the Difference Between Crowns and Veneers

Explained below are some of the main differences between crowns and veneers that you ought to know:

Dental Veneers

Typically, a dental veneer is a cosmetic restoration that the dentist will place on the front surface of your teeth to improve their appearance since they look and feel like natural teeth. Typically, your dentist will recommend dental veneers if you have broken, chipped, stained, or discolored front teeth.

Depending on your unique situation, you can have one veneer to cover a chipped or broken tooth or have six of them to create a uniform and asymmetrical appearance for your teeth. Unlike crown restorations, veneer restorations are non-invasive because they require minimal preparations for your affected teeth.

Typically, after your first consultation with your dentist of choice, you will only need to schedule two appointments to complete this restoration procedure. The dentist will prepare your teeth for veneers during your first appointment by filing down about 0.5 millimeters of your teeth' enamel to create room for veneers.

Then, he/she will take an impression of your natural teeth and send it to the laboratory, where the technician on duty will make your custom veneers. Depending on how much of your teeth' enamel the dentist had to file down, you could need temporary veneers or not before you have the "real" ones on your next appointment.

During your second appointment, the dentist will bond your custom-made veneers to your affected teeth using special dentistry cement, which he/she will harden using ultra-violet radiation. Depending on your unique needs, your dentist or laboratory technicians can create veneers from composite or porcelain.

Typically, most people will opt for porcelain veneers for durability purposes because they can last up to fifteen years without showing signs of wear and tear. Once you have your veneers in place, you should take care of them as you would take care of natural teeth. Apart from improving your smile appearance, here are other benefits of dental veneers:

  • They can replace or eliminate the need for braces or teeth whitening procedures
  • The dentist will design them depending on your individual needs

In some cases, before the placement of dental veneers on your tooth, the dentist may recommend a restorative dentistry procedure known as bonding. During dental bonding, your dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin to your tooth. Then, he/she will trim, contour, and polish this resin to match the size, color, and shape of the adjacent surrounding natural teeth for an appealing smile that you deserve.

Dental Crowns

Unlike a dental veneer that covers your teeth' front surface, a dental crown will cover the entire affected teeth. Although a dental crown will give you the same look as veneers, it is particularly ideal if you have:

  1. Decayed Teeth

Tooth decay or cavities is one of the reasons you could need a dental crown or cap to protect the already delicate tooth from further damage and restore its functions. Typically, tooth decay is the breakdown of your tooth enamel due to erosion by acidic excretes produced by bacteria in your mouth.

You will know you have tooth decay if you start experiencing the following symptoms and signs:

  • Sensitivity in your teeth when you sip cold or hot drinks
  • Brownish color on your affected teeth

If tooth decay or cavity is why you require a dental crown, your dentist will first remove the decayed section and clean the teeth to remove bacteria. Then, he/she will rebuild the tooth to make it adhere to your custom-made dental crown. Also, if your teeth are severely damaged, your dentist will need to build them first using fillings before fitting a crown on them.

  1. Cracked or Fractured Teeth

Although your teeth' enamel is the most mineralized part of your body, it has its limits. Below are some of the most common causes of teeth fractures among most people:

  • Biting or chewing hard objects or foods like nuts
  • Teeth grinding
  • Age, especially for people who are past 50 years
  • Root canal or large dental fillings
  • Habits like ice chewing
  • An accident or significant trauma on your face

If you have a deep crack or fracture on your tooth, your dentist could require you to wear a dental crown to protect the inner part of the tooth (pulp section).

When you leave a crack on your teeth unchecked or untreated, it could create a suitable thriving environment for bacteria, leading to more severe dental issues like cavities and gum diseases. Removing the tooth could be necessary to eliminate the bacteria when that happens.

Here are the procedures to expect if a dental crown is an ideal solution for your unique dental issue and needs:

  • The dentist will take X-ray pictures of your teeth to determine the extent of the decay or damage
  • The dentist will file your affected teeth to remove the damaged parts
  • The dentist will create an impression of your tooth using a mold or digital scan, which he/she will send to the laboratory for the fabrication of your custom crown
  • The dentist will fix a temporary crown on your teeth before your permanent crown is ready
  • When your permanent dental crown is ready, the dentist will replace the temporary crown with this new crown. Before cementing this permanent crown into its ideal place on your affected tooth, the dentist will adjust it to ensure your bite is correct and well-aligned

Typically, your dental crown could be porcelain-made or composite-made like dental veneers. However, for a catchy smile you deserve, your dentist can also use other attractive materials like gold to create your custom crown. Below are some of the advantages you will enjoy if you opt for a dental crown as the remedy for your dental issues:

  • Your dental insurance policy can cover your dental crown costs
  • It will enhance your teeth's appearance and strengthen the weak structures of your teeth
  • You can have a dental crown on one tooth instead of several

Typically, the main difference between crowns and veneers is the reason behind needing them and how they fit on your tooth or teeth. For an improved aesthetic appearance of your teeth, your dentist will recommend dental veneers because they are thinner than crowns, meaning they do not show much of your gums while wearing them.

Whether to settle for crowns or veneers is an issue you should discuss with your dentist for knowledgeable advice. Your dentist will understand what is best for you, depending on your unique needs and dental condition.

How Much Should I Anticipate to Pay for Dental Crowns and Veneers?

Dental crowns and veneers can be costly, depending on your tooth size and its location in your mouth. Generally, most dental insurance policies will not cover cosmetic dentistry like veneers. According to American Cosmetic Dentistry, the price for a veneer could range from $925 to $2,500 per tooth, depending on the material used to make it.

On the other hand, the cost of a dental crown will also vary depending on the material used to make it. According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, the prices of dental crowns could range from $1,000 to $3,500 for each tooth. It is worth noting that this figure is not inclusive of other procedures that could be necessary before your crown is ready, for example, dental bonding or root canal.

Typically dental veneers could be more costly than crowns, especially if you want a complete smile makeover where your dentist will place veneers on your front teeth. If you think you are the right candidate for dental crowns or veneers, you should talk with your insurance provider about what they will cover and what they will not.

Your dentist could also have a payment plan to allow you to pay the cost over one year at zero interest instead of paying the total amount at once, regardless of whether you need a crown or a veneer. Because the cosmetic dentistry procedure you will settle for will depend on what you can afford, you should talk with your dentist before making any significant commitment.

How to Select the Right Dentist For Dental Crown or Veneers

When it comes to aesthetics and oral health matters, you should be careful and knowledgeable when choosing your dentist. Regardless of the type of treatment you need, you should consider the following factors when selecting your dentist:

The Dentist's Experience

For outstanding results that you want to improve your smile and oral health, it is wise that you settle for the services of an experienced dentist. Before you settle for the services of your prospective dentist, you should talk to him/her to know whether or not he/she has experience with patients with needs like yours.

Even if all experts were once amateurs at what they do, it is wise to take ample time to look for an experienced dentist for the excellent services that you deserve.

Look for a Qualified Dentist

Ensure the dentist you decide to hire is willing and ready to provide you with documents to prove that he/she is qualified and accredited by a known organization or company. If not, you should take that as a red flag and explore more options to find a qualified dentist for dental veneers or crowns.

Look for a Reputable Dentist

The reputation of your prospective dentist can speak volumes about his/her quality of services. Look for a dentist with a positive or credible reputation because it only means his/her past clients are happy with his/her quality of services. To know whether or not your prospective dentist is reputable, you should check his/her website and review his/her past clients' comments and complaints.

If negative comments outweigh the positive ones, you should consider that as a red flag about his/her competence and find another dentist.

Look for a Licensed Dentist

A dentist who loves his/her work or profession will be compliant with legal requirements. If your prospective dentist is unlicensed, it could be a sign that he/she is unqualified because that is one of the requirements for obtaining a business license.

Look for a Well-Equipped Dentist

Since we live in an era where technology keeps advancing every day, a reliable dentist will stay updated with the latest advancement in his/her field to ensure his/her clients receive the best services they deserve. If your prospective dentist is still using conventional dentistry tools, you should look for a different expert because that is a sign of unreliability.

The Bottom Line

Since crowns and veneers typically provide the same benefits, it is wise to talk to a dentist to know which option is best for your unique situation. If you are more concerned with the aesthetic appearance of your smile, your dentist will recommend veneers.

However, as mentioned above, if your tooth is severely damaged, cracked, decayed, or perhaps you had a root canal recently, your dentist will recommend dental crowns to protect the already delicate tooth.

Find a Dentist Near Me

If you think you could be the right candidate for crowns or veneers but cannot decide which option is best for your unique issue, you should talk with a dentist. Reliable and experienced dentists at Washington Dental are here for you if you are unsure of the difference between crowns and veneers.

Our dentists are ready to hear your concerns and explore your unique dental condition to know which option is best for you. We serve clients from Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance, and Lomita, California.