Coverage Crowns vs. Veneers

Full Coverage Crowns vs. Veneers


Dental veneers and full coverage crowns can both be used to improve the appearance and function of the teeth, but there are some significant differences between these two types of restorations. The most notable difference between these two options is the full coverage crowns cover the entire surface of a tooth that’s visible above the gumline, while dental veneers cover only the fronts of the teeth. Each type of restoration is used for different reasons, and each has its own set of pros and cons, though both veneers and full coverage crowns are effective and successful when used properly.


A dental veneer is a very thin layer of material, usually porcelain and no more than a millimeter thick, that’s affixed to the front of an existing tooth with durable bonding material. A full coverage crown is made of material that’s thicker than a veneer – about two millimeters thick – and covers the entire surface of a tooth above the gums. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or a combination of porcelain and metal, depending on patient preference and the location of the tooth that’s being restored. The best choice for your treatment will depend on what kind of damage you’re trying to repair and the location of the damage, and it will also be based on the condition of your teeth. Both veneers and crowns can repair teeth that are discolored, crooked, weak or decayed, or fractured or chipped, and both veneers and fractures can be made to match the natural teeth in color and luster.


Ultimately, a dental professional should weigh in on which treatment’s ideal for your clinical needs. In general, however, a crown may be preferable if the tooth has a very large filling, is significantly cracked or worn down, or has recently undergone a root canal, as crowns can help protect and support the tooth structure while restoring the appearance of the smile. If the restoration is more cosmetic in nature, covering discoloration, masking a small crack in an otherwise intact tooth, or correcting minor issues with the shape of a tooth, veneers could be the right choice. Veneers are custom-crafted, based on impressions of the teeth; before shaping and placing a veneer, the dentist will remove a thin layer of dental enamel so that the veneer sits flush under the gumline and aligns properly with its neighbors. Once the veneer is bonded into place, it masks imperfections and redesigns the smile, though veneers are only an option when there’s sufficient dental structure present to support them. Crowns are also custom-designed and made, with materials chosen by the aesthetic needs of the patient and the structural and functional needs of the tooth. Crowns provide stability and restore structural integrity to a weak or damaged tooth, though more of the natural dental tissue must be removed to accommodate a crown than a veneer, and the structure of the tooth may need to be partially restored with dental composite so that the crown is properly supported.


Veneers provide less protection than dental crowns, leaving more of the tooth area exposed to decay or damage, though the aesthetic outcomes of treatment with veneers may be more attractive than with crowns, depending on the materials used. Some veneers last longer than others, depending on the materials used and the habits of the patients, and, because they are considered a cosmetic procedure, veneers aren’t usually covered by dental insurance, while crowns, a restorative procedure, are often at least partly covered.

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