dental crown procedure

Crowns vs Veneers – What’s the Difference?

Today, we’re lucky to have a variety of different options when it comes to tooth replacement and enhancing our smiles. Two options you may want to consider are crowns and veneers.

While both crowns and veneers are tooth replacement options, there are key differences between the two, from the purpose to the process.

In this article, we’ll explore crowns vs veneers to help you decide which one is right for you.

What Are Dental Crowns?

Before analyzing crowns vs veneers differences, let’s explain their differences.

A dental crown is a permanent cap placed over an entire tooth that is weakened or damaged. Crowns can be made from various materials, though porcelain crowns are quite popular.

The purpose of a crown is to protect and cover your damaged tooth. They also sometimes hold a dental bridge in place. Dental crowns are commonly added to teeth after procedures that increase the existing tooth’s sensitivity, such as a filling or a root canal. Overall, a crown restores your tooth’s strength and appearance.

Dental Crowns – The Process

Getting a dental crown will depend on whether your dentist recommends a multi-day or same-day procedure. As the multi-day process is more common, let’s take a look at that process.

A multi-day visit usually requires two appointments. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Your dentist will assess the damaged tooth that needs the crown. This may require them to take a mould of your teeth.
  • On another day, they will file down part of the outer layer of the natural tooth to make room for a crown.
  • Your dentist will take an impression of the filed-down tooth and put temporary crowns overtop while they send the impression to the lab.
  • Your crown will come in, and the dentist will cement it onto your tooth.

While the process does take several weeks, it is generally seamless.

Now let’s take a look at what getting veneers involves.

adding dental veneers

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are thin tooth-coloured shells placed on the front surface of your teeth. These shells are typically made from porcelain and are custom-made to fit the shape and colour of your teeth.

The goal is to make your smile as natural as possible, so if you only get one or two veneers, they’ll match the rest of your teeth. However, most people opt to get at least the top front row of their teeth done.

The purpose of veneers is simply cosmetic: to improve the look of your teeth. They are most often used for cosmetic problems such as:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Discolouration of tooth enamel
  • Uneven sizes in teeth or crooked teeth

Veneers – The Process

Getting traditional veneers can be a lengthy process, a lot of it having to do with grinding down your teeth.

The first step is to grind your original tooth structure to remove enough of the tooth to make room for the replacement shell. From there, your dentist takes a mould of your mouth to send to a lab to create your custom veneers. With your dentist’s advice, this process requires you to choose the shape and colour that best fits your tooth enamel. You will likely get a temporary veneer at this time.

A second appointment is set to place the porcelain veneers, using a dental bonding agent and a light beam to harden the dental veneer onto the teeth. Once that’s done, your new smile is ready.

Now that you understand crowns and porcelain veneers, let’s compare the two options.

applying dental crowns

Crowns vs Veneers

Still on the fence about whether to get crowns or veneers? To help you out, here are the main differences between crowns and veneers.

The purpose

The purpose of crowns vs veneers is the biggest differentiating factor between the two artificial tooth replacement options.

Veneers are mainly used for a more aesthetically pleasing smile, while getting a crown is often out of necessity to protect your tooth and improve the functionality of your mouth. Veneers may not be the best option if you have other underlying dental issues.

Moreover, porcelain laminate veneers are only meant for the front surface of your front teeth. If you want to replace your molars, you’ll need a crown.

The process

The process of getting crowns vs veneers is relatively similar. In both cases, your tooth must be filed down and shaped to fit the artificial tooth.

In general, the process of getting veneers is longer than that of getting a crown. This is partly because patients typically get one crown but multiple veneers at once.

That said, a crown may be needed due to another dental procedure, such as a filling or root canal. Therefore, the entire process may be longer than that of getting veneers.


With proper care, veneers can last up to a decade. This all depends on how you take care of them. If you experience an injury or accident, your veneers may need to be replaced sooner.

In contrast, a dental crown can last much longer, anywhere from 15-30 years, if well taken care of. Once again, this depends on how well you maintain your oral health.

For both veneers and crowns, you must keep in mind that your natural teeth are underneath, and they may still be prone to infection and cavities if not properly cared for, requiring not only replacements but additional dental work.


Both veneers and crowns are relatively pricey – as with most tooth replacement options.

Depending on where you live, a single porcelain veneer can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000. An entire row of veneers can cost upwards of $16,000.  Similarly, crowns can range in price from $800 to $1,500 — or even more — depending on the crown’s material and the tooth’s size.

While crowns are sometimes covered by dental insurance, veneers usually aren’t, so you may have to cover the cost out of pocket.

Both procedures, however, are an investment and may be worth it in the end.

Recap of Crown vs Veneers: Which Should You Choose?

In summary, understanding crowns vs veneers will help you make the right choice for the health of your mouth and the look of your smile. The option truly depends if you’re doing it for aesthetic purposes or looking to improve functionality.

If you want to continue to explore your options, contact You Make Me Smile to book a free consultation today.