Porcelain Veneers Vs Dental Crowns?

it's not like i'm in front of the camera, smiling all the time, but my teeth need help..especially how dull and uneven they look. when does a dentist suggest crowns and when do they recommend veneers?

Doctor Answers 38

Dull and uneven teeth need help

Don't do it
Mother Nature gave you your teeth so do something that is gentle and natural.
Teeth can discolour over time and can be easily whitened. Uneven teeth could be either orthodontic movement of the teeth, chipping and wear of the teeth or simply the edges have become uneven during your life time.
The easiest treatment is to whiten the teeth and then gently contour the enamel edges; trimming the long edge and or building the shorter edges with composite.
Veneers involve removing at least 0.5 - 1 mm of the enamel surface and is irreversible.
Sometimes when your bite has caused the chipping then veneers are not a good idea.
Crowns are even more destructive, leaving teeth as pegs in some cases.
So if you want to keep your teeth for life then contour the edges and whiten and then see if that was all you needed?
God giveth and the dentist takes it away......

Porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns

it appears to me that you have many good answers to this question already listed. I would like to add that your bite is a consideration. If you are doing porcelain veneers because your teeth are worn, chipped and broken, then you should find out why this happened first.  What would keep you from wearing your new veneers or crowns down the same as your teeth. 

This is where neuromuscular dentistry can truly help.  On the flip side if this is only a cosmetic case, then porcelain veneers are definitely the treatment of choice.  Depending on your smile, and the size of your teeth, consider minimal prep veneers.

Ronald Konig DDS
Houston Dentist

Veneers or Crowns

Typically the determination of whether a patient should have veneers or crowns is based on what the patient and dentist are looking to achieve.

While both procedures can be highly aesthetic, the two treatments have different uses.

Typically veneers are used when a patient would like to improve the shape and color of their teeth. Crowding and excess space issues can also be alleviated. Veneers are thin (approximately fingernail thickness), beautifully shaped porcelain that is customized for the individual patient.

Frequently crowns are used in cases in which there is less tooth structure due to tooth decay or in cases in which a tooth has undergone root canal therapy. Crowns can achieve all of the aesthetic advantages of veneers and should only be used when necessary.

Helpful hints:

  • Look for a dentist who has a ceramist in-house. This will help with communication between the patient, doctor and ceramist. Achieving the best result requires great attention to detail, often requiring small adjustments and tweaks.
  • If your dentist does not have a ceramist, make sure they are photographing and documenting the work's intricate details to be communicated to their ceramist. This will save time and ensure your are happy with the final result.
  • Very Very Important! Make sure your dentist is taking into account how the new restoration will function in the final result. It's less of a challenge to make beautiful teeth, more of a challenge to make beautiful teeth function properly and endure a lifetime of use.
  • A very thorough analysis of function and the ability to listen and communicate patient desires are the most important aspects of smile success! The first consult with patients seeking to improve their smile typically takes about an hour and a half and is finalized with a second consult for about another hour before the vision of a personalized beautiful smile can be achieved.

Ryan Sellinger, DMD
Manhattan Dentist

Veneers vs Crowns

In general, veneers are preferable to crowns - they leave more natural tooth structure.  But there are many considerations that go into the equation.  If the teeth are straight and healthy then definitely veneers.  If the teeth are not so straight or have had a history of previous work or require significant preparation (cut-back) then crowns may be indicated.  Because of bonding technology - there is a continuum or range between pure veneer and full crown.  In other words there are a lot of hyprid situations where its more than a veneer, but less than a crown.  A good dentist will know when what design to use in any specific situation.

Lawrence Singer, DMD
Washington Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Be conservative, when possible...

Veneers are the most conservative treatment option.  It is always my first choice when that treatment option can be used for a patient.  Crowns would the next treatment option if patient is not a candidate for veneers.  Also, a combination of crowns and veneers could be used to achieve the desired result.  Usually, a crown is the treatment option of choice when there is already an existing crown, or a tooth has a very large old filling or decay.  

Kimberly Johnson Genc, DDS
Newport Beach Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Veneers are generally preferable because there is less...

Veneers are generally preferable because there is less tooth reduction. However, if a tooth does not have sufficient enamel, or is broken down, a crown is necessary. Additionally, if someone's occlusion must be altered, crowns are the best option.

Function and Aesthetics

There has been so much advancement over the years with the material we use for restorations. Whereas before metal/porcelain restorations were standard now all-porcelain restorations are the gold standard for aesthetics!
In smile transformations, this is a very common questions. The short answer here is that the material used is generally the same. A veneer covers the front surface and a crown extends 360 degrees around the tooth using the same exact material in most cases. Smile design is not just about creating a beautiful smile but function as well. In determining where a crown or veneer will be placed we look at things like bite and wear and existing decay.
We always have a blueprint for the smile before we start. The way we do this is take impressions and photographs and send them to the lab. The lab will then do a "wax-up" or a mock-up in wax of the smile before we start. Once they look at the function of your smile and how your teeth come together they can determine where placing a crown or veneer would be best. Since the materials are generally the same, it isn't a major concern in terms of the aesthetics of the smile .It has more to do with function and longevity. That's something your dentist and ceramist can help decide.
Good luck!

They may not differ as much as you would think. Talk to your dentist about what you are trying to accomplish.

The difference between porcelain veneers and crowns has decreased significantly as materials in dental medicine have advanced.  In many cases this will simplify the decision-making process that patients are faced with when considering treatment.  In the past, porcelain veneers, or laminates, were one option and these thin porcelain shells that could be bonded to a tooth varied dramatically from thick crowns wrapping around the entire tooth which often had one material on their inside (either metal or ceramic) and then a second material which would be a tooth colored porcelain on their outer surface.


As ceramic materials have become increasingly sophisticated, it is now more common for veneers and crowns to essentially be the same thing; varying only in how much tooth they actually cover.  Given that these are custom made restorations, and that the restoration on each tooth is created individually, we will often create restorations that blur the line between what is a veneer or what is a crown.  If a tooth has more need to be covered, perhaps because of a history of earlier cavities or because the position of the tooth is being in some way modified, then it can have porcelain advance and cover specific areas either in between the teeth or on the backside of the tooth (facing the roof of the mouth or tongue).  In some cases more conservative placement of the porcelain will be designed in which it does not cover as much of the tooth.


The decisions in designing the shape of the underlying tooth, we call this the preparation, is influenced by multiple factors.  This is what determines the shape of the restoration, and so whether it is a veneer or crown.  The design has to create a seamless appearance so the illusion of natural teeth can be maintained.  The design also needs to create a restoration which will be maintainable and easily kept clean, while at the same time being durable and able to function.  Depending on the expressed goals of the patient, and the condition of the underlying teeth, it is not uncommon to have some cases in which each porcelain restoration varies to some degree in its shape from the back, even though from the front (what is seen when smiling) everything looks identical.  This is sometimes done when balancing efforts to address differences from one tooth to another, with efforts to be as conservative as possible.


So in many cases it wouldn't be wrong to say that the difference between many modern veneers or crowns is simply a matter of semantics.


I hope this information will be valuable to you.  Good luck in your research!  Dr. Geen

Porcelain Veneers versus Crowns..Every Case is Different!

There are many excellent answers listed here on this subject!  I feel its the Dentist's responsibility to Educate the Patient on the Ideal applications for each procedure. The patient's goals and objectives and his or her preoperative condition are the two most important parameters in deciding whether Porcelain Veneers or Crowns are the best option. If a patient has no TMJ or Bruxism issues and they are trying to improve their smile then Porcelain Veneers would be the best choice assuming they have enough healthy  Tooth Structure available! If the prospective patient has teeth that are very thin, worn, chipped or exposed with decay then Full Porcelain  Crowns would be by far the best option. Veneers can provide for the ultimate in Dental Esthetics and Smile Enhancement providing they have healthy and plentiful Tooth Structure to work with. In this case Veneers are the best choice because it is a more conservative procedure and the patients Tooth Structure will significantly be preserved (no back or lingual preparation)... Again the most important aspect in treatment planning is proper Diagnosis and excellent communication with regard to Patient's goals and expectations.

Porcelain Veneers or Crowns - What is better?

Porcelain veneers would be the optimal choice as long as your teeth are stable and have minimal existing fillings if any at all.  If your teeth have previously been heavily restored than the ideal option would be porcelain crowns. In many instances a combination of veneers and crowns can be used.  

Porcelain veneers are the more conservative approach since they require less drilling of your existing teeth.  But once again, it all depends on the condition of each tooth.  A good cosmetic dentist would be able to work with either and give you a great reason to smile.

Dan Haas, DDS
Toronto Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.