Dental Crowns vs. Porcelain Veneers: What’s the Difference?

Cosmetic Dentistry for Beverly Hills & Los Angeles, CA

Dental crowns and porcelain veneers are both used to achieve the same end result: restoring teeth with cosmetic flaws or superficial damage. However, these two types of dental restorations are used in different circumstances, and have different applications.

The main difference between porcelain veneers and dental crowns is how much of your tooth they cover. Veneers are only attached to the front surface of the tooth – the part that shows when you smile. Crowns encase your entire tooth, acting as a “cap” that protects them.

Other Differences Between Crowns and Veneers
Some other major differences between crowns and veneers include:

  • Thickness – Crowns are typically 2 millimeters thick or more, while veneers are 1 millimeter thick or less.
  • Tooth reduction – Since crowns are thicker than veneers, they require more of your natural tooth to be trimmed before placement.
  • Protection – Although porcelain veneers can be used to improve the stability of a chipped or cracked tooth, they cannot protect teeth as well as a dental crown. A significantly weakened tooth can benefit more from a crown, since it is protected on all sides.

When to Use Veneers and When to Use Crowns
The individual characteristics of porcelain veneers and dental crowns usually make one more suitable than the other in a certain situation.
For example, dental crowns are used to:

  • Change the shape of a tooth
  • Strengthen a tooth that is decayed or badly broken
  • Cover a tooth that is exposed to heavy biting or chewing forces

Meanwhile, porcelain veneers are used when:

  • There is less biting force placed on a tooth (e.g. front teeth and canines)
  • Less tooth reduction is desired
  • Only minor shape changes are needed for the tooth
  • The underlying tooth structure is mostly healthy and intact

If you have more questions about dental crowns and porcelain veneers, please contact Kevin B. Sands, DDS today to schedule a personal smile consultation. We serve patients throughout Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, California.