Dental Crowns versus dental veneers and laminates

Update in January 11, 2024

Dental crowns versus dental veneers and laminates

When choosing cosmetic dentistry, the decision between certain procedures can seem quite daunting–are they that much different? For example, both dental veneers and crowns are used to help cover aesthetically displeasing teeth. But, is there really that much difference between the two options?  Here are the main differences between dental crowns and veneers and laminates, as well as why you might choose one over the other! If you think you need a crown or veneer but aren’t sure which one is the best option for you, then schedule a visit to see dentist.

Front Teeth Crowns Vs Veneers And Laminates

Front Teeth Crowns vs Veneers and laminates

While crowns and veneers are alike in that they restore the appearance of teeth that are chipped, stained, cracked, broken, discolored, decayed, weakened or slightly crooked. Your cosmetic dentist can make crowns and veneers from materials that look and feel like your natural teeth – unless you prefer all-metal crowns, of course. There are differences between dental crowns and veneers, especially when it comes to restoring front teeth.

What Is A Veneer?

Some cosmetic tooth issues can be fixed through whitening, braces, and aligners; some can’t. For those that need more invasive solutions to regain a beautiful smile, porcelain veneers are the best option.

With veneers, the outermost facing layer of your tooth is ground down and replaced with a thin layer of porcelain. Similar to crowns, this layer is custom made to match the shape and color of your teeth. Porcelain fuses to the exterior of your tooth through the use of UV lights, creating a permanent bond between the two surfaces.

As such, veneers fix a variety of cosmetic problems including crooked or chipped teeth, permanent yellowing, and misshapen or gapped teeth.



A veneer covers only the front surface of your tooth. They’re not as invasive as crowns, because the preparation leaves more of your original tooth intact.

About half a millimeter of the enamel on the front of the tooth is ground down to roughen the surface for bonding the veneer. Some newer types of veneers don’t need as much grinding of the tooth surface. You may need a local anesthetic for this, because the grinding may be painful.

For a veneer to work properly, your tooth has to have enough enamel on it for a veneer to bond to it.

Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy. Because they are very thin and are held in place by a special, strong adhesive, very little preparation of the tooth is needed. Some types of veneers don’t need any preparation at all.

How Are Teeth Prepared For A Veneer?

Some of the shiny, outer enamel surface of the tooth may be removed, to make sure that the veneer can be bonded permanently in place later. The amount of enamel removed is tiny and will be the same as the thickness of the veneer to be fitted, so that the tooth stays the same size.

A local anaesthetic (injection) may be used to make sure that there is no discomfort, but often this is not needed. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dental team will take an ‘impression’ (mould). This will be given to the dental technician, along with any other information needed to make the veneer.

The colour of the surrounding teeth is matched on a shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look entirely natural.

How Long Will It Take?

A veneer takes at least two visits. The first is to prepare the tooth and match the shade, and the second is to fit it. Before bonding it in place, your dentist will show you the veneer on your tooth to make sure you are happy with it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.

Will I Need A Temporary Veneer Between Visits?

Because the preparation of the tooth is so slight you will probably not need a temporary veneer. The tooth will look very much the same after preparation, but will feel slightly less smooth.

What Happens After The Veneer Is Fitted?

Only minor adjustments can be made to the veneer after it is fitted. It is usually best to wait a little while to get used to it before any changes are made. Your dentist will probably want to check and polish it a week or so after it is fitted, and make sure that you are happy with it.

How Long Will A Veneer Last?

Veneers and laminates should last for many years; but they can chip or break, just like your own teeth can. Your dentist will tell you how long each veneer should last. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.

What About Alternatives?

A natural-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth. This is excellent when the tooth can support a filling, but may not work so well for broken tooth corners. There will always be a join between the tooth and the filling material.

Dental Crown 

Dental Crown

Dental crowns fit over existing teeth or dental implants. A dental crown can restore the cosmetic appearance of a misshapen or discolored tooth, or protect and add stability to a damaged tooth. Your dentist can create a natural-looking crown that matches the rest of your front teeth, or fabricate one from gold or another material.

When you have extensive tooth decay or have undergone a root canal, crowns help save the original tooth while making it more durable than before. This type of added strength is commonly needed after these procedures as little of the original tooth remains after clearing the decay.

Crowns cover the entire tooth and are custom designed to fit correctly in the mouth. To ensure the prosthetic is the correct size and shape, your dentist will either take a mold or digital 3D image of your original tooth and make the crown in that shape.

Each crown is custom-made to the individual. As such, a temporary crown may be needed to allow for continued use of the tooth while you await your custom crown’s completion.


The procedure for installing a dental crown in most cases takes three separate visits to the dentist. The dentist will examine the tooth on the first appointment. This is to determine whether it can support a crown. This visit normally entails taking x-rays. If there is any form of extensive decay or risk of infection to the tooth, the dentists will have to treat it first before commencing with dental crown.

During the second appointment this is when the tooth and the gum tissue is anesthetized before the crown making process begins. The tooth is then filed down mostly along the chewing surface so that the crown can fit.

The crown must match the neighbouring teeth. So it will be returned back to the dentists after two or three weeks for matching. Your tooth will be fitted with a temporary crown during the first visit to protect it before a permanent one is fixed.

After the tooth has been filled to the proper shape, the dentist will take an impression of it and the surrounding. The impression is sent to a dental lab so that the permanent crown can be created. This protects the tooth until the final crown is ready for permanent placement.

A patient will go for the third and final visit once the permanent crown has been designed. The temporary crown will be removed on the second visit. The dentist will position and fasten this new crown in position with a special adhesive.  There are four common materials dentists use to make dental crowns. They include: all ceramic (porcelain-based) porcelain fused to metal, gold alloys and base metal alloys.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Teeth Crowns Vs Veneers?

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Teeth Crowns vs Veneers

That’s actually a trick question – when performed by a skilled cosmetic dentist, you cannot tell the difference between a crown and a veneer on a front tooth. In fact, unless you choose an all-metal crown, you cannot tell the difference between a restored tooth and a natural one.

If you would like to improve the cosmetic appearance of your front teeth, schedule an appointment with cosmetic dentists

How They Look

How They Look

To begin with, a porcelain veneer is strictly a cosmetic option. This restoration is very thin and looks much like an artificial fingernail.  Veneers are meant to improve the appearance of your front teeth.  These fabricated covers fit over the front of your tooth and slightly overlap the edges of it to help ensure a secure fit.

On the other hand, a crown, while it can give you the same final look as a veneer, is a restoration that’s done to truly restore your tooth.  They are made as complete covers that slide over weak or otherwise compromised teeth to protect them from further trauma. Crowns are thicker than veneers, meaning that dentist has to remove more tooth structure at the initial appointment. This includes the entire back and sides of your tooth.


Like anything in dentistry, the durability, health, and success of your procedure rely on proper care. Brushing and flossing twice a day are recommended, just as with natural teeth, and it is strongly advised to refrain from anything that could cause physical damage to the prosthetics.

The Cost Of Crowns And Veneers And Laminates

Veneers and crowns can be costly. Individual costs vary, depending on the size of your tooth, where it is in your mouth, and the average prices in your area.

Most of the time both veneers and crowns costs vary depending on what they’re made out of. That’s not including insurance, which usually covers a portion of crowns (but not cosmetic veneers.) If you properly take care of your new teeth, then your restorations will likely last for many years before needing to be updated.

Caring For Crowns And Veneers

Having good home care will help ensure that your restoration and natural tooth underneath stay strong and healthy.  Brushing twice daily is important, especially at the gumline where the tooth meets the porcelain. This area is called the margin, and it’s where plaque will sit and eventually decay your tooth if it’s not cleaned off properly. Flossing will help you remove food particles from between your teeth that you can’t reach when brushing.

In addition to proper hygiene at home, you’ll need regular dental visit for professional cleaning and for dentist to do a thorough exam.  While you’re here, dentist can x-ray your dental work to check the condition of the tooth underneath.  Usually, if dentist can catch problems early, treating them is easier and less expensive.

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