Veneers vs. crowns – what’s the difference?

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July 26th, 2018

Veneers and crowns can both be used to change the color and shape of a tooth when used in cosmetic dentistry, but are very different procedures. Wondering what separates them? Learn more below.


When a tooth needs to be rebuilt or strengthened, a crown is the procedure that is often recommended.

A dental crown is a treatment which covers the entire tooth. To place a crown, a significant part of a tooth is ground down, and the crown is cemented over the entire tooth – becoming the tooth’s new outer surface. Because so much more of the tooth is reduced and covered compared to a veneer, crowns are significantly thicker than veneers. In addition, they can improve function, prevent future tooth fracture, and improve esthetics.


When a tooth is healthy and strong, but there is a desired cosmetic change, a veneer is often recommended. Veneers can be used to change the color, alignment, or length of a tooth.

A veneer usually only covers the “smiling surface” of a tooth – the front surface that shows when you smile. Because they are cemented only on that surface and because veneers are so thin, about 1mm or less, placing a veneer requires significantly less tooth removal, and in some cases may not require any tooth reduction at all. It is important to receive a thorough evaluation from a specialist before progressing to a veneer – if you clench or grind your teeth, a veneer will not work for you.

As always, be sure to consult with your dentist on what procedure is best for you – and check your benefits to see what might or might not be covered. Need more info? Get a pre-treatment estimate here.