Veneers vs. Crowns: Which Is Best for You?

Want to know the difference between a veneer and a crown? How do you know which is right for you? We’ll cover it all in this Aspen guide

If you’re looking for a way to restore your smile, you may be aware of two popular options—veneers and crowns. Both veneers and crowns can help you get your confident smile back, but which one is right for you? Whether you’d like your teeth to appear straighter and whiter, or need to protect a damaged tooth, both veneers and crowns can help you reach your dental goals.

In this guide, we’re going to discuss in detail all you need to know about crowns and veneers so you can decide which one to speak to your dentist about.

We’ll cover:

  • What veneers are and their benefits
  • What crowns are and why you might need one
  • The pros and cons of veneers and crowns
  • How to care for veneers and crowns
  • How to decide which one is right for you, between a veneer or a crown
female dentist looking at a patient with a call to action on the right side saying “find an office”

What is a veneer?

Curious to know more about veneers? You’ve come to the right place

two young women smiling and holding each other
Veneers are a great way to get a brilliant smile.

If you’d like to finally get the smile you’ve always wanted, veneers might be a good choice for you. This type of tooth enhancement is designed to seamlessly attach to your tooth to create a beautiful smile. Patients who are interested in veneers typically do so for a few reasons:

  • Close gaps. If you’ve always had a gap between your teeth, you may be looking for a way to easily close it. Whether it’s just one gap or a few, veneers can help smooth out the appearance of gaps in your teeth.
  • Fix small misalignments. Small misalignments happen as we age and our teeth shift. If this problem has been bothering you, it may be time to look into fixing it with veneers.
  • Whiten teeth. Who doesn’t want a brilliant, white smile? If traditional methods of whitening your teeth just don’t seem to cut it, or you want all your teeth to be an even shade of white, consider discussing veneers with your dentist.
  • Cover up chips. Small chips in teeth can be embarrassing. While no one but you may notice them, they prevent you from having a smile you love. 
  • Have a straight smile. If you’ve always wanted to have straight teeth that create a winning smile, veneers might be a good option.

But what exactly is a veneer? A veneer is a very thin layer (almost like a shell) of material that is designed to bond with your teeth. It will cover the front surface of your tooth or teeth and provide it with extra protection. It will also create the appearance of straight teeth, giving you the smile you’ve always wanted. 

Each veneer is custom designed to fit your expectations, and will be made into the color that looks natural with the rest of your teeth. Whether you want one veneer, or a couple, this option is minimally invasive and is considered a permanent form of tooth restoration. One of the most popular options chosen by patients is to replace the front eight teeth on the upper jaw to create a symmetrical and wonderful smile. 

Types of veneers

When discussing veneers with your dentist, they will typically give you two options when it comes to the veneer material.


Porcelain is a sturdy material for a permanent veneer and it is very long lasting. This is a great option for a veneer material if you want to create a brilliantly white, straight smile. In order to create the veneer, your dentist will either take an impression of your tooth, or use a 3D scan to create a mold. Depending on how many veneers you need, they can be made in house or may be sent off to a lab.

Composite resin

Composite resin is another option for veneers. They differ from porcelain veneers in that they are actually sculpted on top of the teeth you want the veneers on. This can typically be done on the same day. Another reason you might want to consider composite resin for your veneers is that they can be removed or adjusted as needed. This is due to the fact that there is less work done on the tooth underneath the composite resin veneer than there is with a porcelain veneer.

Although porcelain and composite resin are the most common types of veneer material, you can also get what is known as no-prep veneers. These are known under brand names such as Lumineers or Vivaneers. The prep process for this kind of veneer is much less extensive than the other two materials. 

Benefits of veneers

There are a variety of benefits to veneers if you think this might be the right option for your situation.

An easy and quick way to get a natural smile

Veneers are an easy way to get the natural, symmetrical smile you’ve always wanted. They are cemented to your teeth and custom made so that they not only fit in your mouth perfectly, but they look and act just like real teeth. Your dentist will work with your veneers so that they are sculpted to look seamless in your mouth, allowing you to smile with confidence again. 

The procedure is minimally invasive

If you’re looking for a dental restoration process that is minimally invasive, then veneers could be the answer you’re looking for. Your dentist will need to grind down a part of your tooth (more on that process later) and once the surface of your natural tooth is ready, your veneer is cemented on. After a few minor adjustments to ensure they fit and look exactly how you want them, you’ll be ready to go on your way.

diagram close up of a veneer and a crown placement on tooth

They are permanent and stable

Veneers are a permanent way to fix minor misalignments, stained teeth, chips, or gaps in your teeth. Not only is this tooth restoration option secure and stable, they are also more resistant to staining than your natural teeth. 

Veneers are easy to care for

Speaking of caring for your veneers, their maintenance is very straightforward. Care for your veneers as you would your normal teeth, and ensure you’re brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing your dentist for your regular cleanings and checkups.

Help you have a whiter smile

If you’ve always wanted to have whiter teeth but nothing seems to really work, veneers will stay whiter than natural teeth. This is because veneers are less porous than the natural enamel that makes up your teeth. This means they are very resistant to staining. So if you’d like to continue enjoying products that have a tendency to stain natural teeth (such as coffee or tea), veneers can offer you a more permanent whitening solution. 

Are a good investment

Like a lot of tooth restoration options, veneers are an investment in not only your oral health, but your overall well being. Feeling confident and loving how your smile looks is important, and veneers can provide you with a symmetrical, brilliant smile. Many patients feel that veneers are a worthwhile investment in their health as they can solve dental issues that have been bothering them for years.

Are there any disadvantages to veneers?

Although there are many advantages to veneers, we thought it might be helpful to mention a few downsides so you can make a more informed decision. 

  • Porcelain veneers are permanent
  • You may find that your teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold foods/drinks
  • They are not a good restoration option for badly decaying teeth
  • They are not always the best option for teeth that have received previous fillings in between the teeth
  • Can still be susceptible to cracks or chips

That being said, if you feel that the pros of veneers outweigh the disadvantages, make sure to schedule a time to talk to your dentist.

How are veneers put on your teeth?

If you’ve discussed veneers with your dentist and have decided that this is the best option for your situation, you can expect the process of putting the veneers on your teeth to be minimally invasive. Most patients need to return to the dentist’s office two or three times before the procedure is complete. When getting veneers, you will:

  • Prepare your tooth or teeth for veneers. In order for the veneer to attach to your tooth, your dentist will need to grind down about a half a millimeter of enamel. Depending on how many teeth you need ground down, they might use a local anesthetic for this part of the process. After the tooth is in the appropriate shape and size, your dentist will then take an impression, either digitally or with a mold.

If your impressions need to be sent out to a lab, it may take a few weeks to get your veneers back. In the meantime, your dentist may offer you temporary veneers to wear. However, if the doctor prescribes composite resin for your veneer material, you typically can walk out of the dentist office with your veneers that day. 

  • Bond the veneer with the tooth or teeth. Once your veneers are ready, your dentist will then temporarily place it on the tooth or teeth. This is so they can easily examine how well it fits and if any color adjustments need to be made. Once the fit feels and looks good, your natural tooth will be cleaned and the surface will be roughed to ensure a strong bond with the veneer. A cement is then applied to the veneer and it is then placed on your tooth. Your dentist will then use a light beam to quickly harden the cement used to bond the veneer to the tooth. 

They will then repeat the process for your remaining veneers. After your veneers are attached, you are then ready to go home. Your dentist may suggest coming back for a follow up appointment to ensure the fit is still good and your mouth is adjusting to the veneers. 

How do you care for veneers?

Caring for veneers is easy by maintaining proper oral health. Make sure you’re brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once a day. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using a mouthwash after you brush as well. Seeing your dentist at least two times a year for a check up is strongly recommended. 

It is important to avoid external factors, such as smoking, drinking sugary or carbonated beverages, and snacking on carbohydrates and sticky foods.

What is a crown?

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about crowns

dentist going over teeth scan with patient
Crowns are a great solution if you’re dealing with damaged or decayed teeth.

If you’ve had damage to your teeth either through an accidental trauma, or are experiencing tooth decay, one of the ways you can get the use of your teeth back is with a dental crown. A crown, unlike a veneer, is designed to cap and cover your entire tooth. It may be helpful to think of them as like a helmet for your damaged or decaying tooth. When you get crowns, you are protecting your tooth from further damage, as well as restoring the shape of your tooth so that you do not lose your bite functionality. Crowns are also an easy way to get back the appearance of symmetry in your mouth, giving you back your confident smile again. 

Because a crown covers your entire tooth, your dentist will need to file or grind down your tooth so that the crown can fit snugly over it. If you need a crown due to decaying teeth, your dentist will remove the decay to ensure that the tooth is protected and provide a better fit.

While a lot of patients need crowns to cover their entire tooth, there are such things as onlays or ¾ crowns that do not cover your entire tooth. If your dentist decides this is the type of crown you need, you can expect to keep more of your underlying natural tooth. This type of procedure will leave you with a crown that encompasses part of your tooth.

Types of crowns

If you’re going to get a crown, your dentist will discuss options you have as far as materials. Which you choose to go with will depend on your particular situation, and the dentist will prescribe the material that best suits you and your specific needs.

  • Metal. When you get a metal crown, it can be made out of gold, palladium, nickel, or chromium. Crowns made out of this type of material are very strong and stable, and are resistant to chipping. The main drawback is that they are a different color than the rest of your teeth. This might be a good choice if you need a crown for a molar or a tooth that is out of sight. 
  • Porcelain and metal. With this option, you can get the strength of a metal crown with the natural tooth-like appearance of porcelain. Your dentist can match the color of this kind of crown with the rest of your natural teeth. However, if your gum recedes, leaving more tooth by the root to be visible, you could notice a gray collar around the tooth. This option can chip and may be more susceptible to wear and tear from the teeth opposite of it.
  • Resin. While this material is a less expensive option you may find that it is more likely to chip or break over time.
  • Ceramic or porcelain. When you get an all porcelain or an all ceramic crown, your dentist will be able to match it to the rest of your teeth easily. However, these types of crowns are not as strong as the porcelain with metal option, and you may find that they too can wear down the teeth that are opposite of them.
  • Pressed ceramic. Pressed ceramic crowns have a strong inner core and are capped with porcelain to seamlessly match the rest of your teeth. These crowns are long lasting and more resistant to chipping or breaking.

Benefits of crowns

If crowns sound like something that you might be interested in, it’s important to know that there are a variety of benefits to them.

Can save damaged teeth

Crowns are designed to cap your entire tooth. This means if you have damaged teeth due to trauma or decay, they can be just the option you need. If your dentist decides that putting a crown on your damaged tooth is the right option, they will file the natural tooth and clean it in preparation for a crown. Once the crown is placed, you can go back to eating and smiling like normal again.

The crown strengthens the previously damaged tooth and allows you to have normal functionality of your mouth again.

Protect a dead or decaying tooth

If you have a decaying tooth, your dentist may decide that after a root canal, it is best to place a crown. A crown will protect what is left of the tooth and prevent any additional bacteria from entering the vulnerable tooth and protect it from breakage.

Ideal for teeth susceptible to decay

If one or more of your teeth has experienced decay in the past, that makes them a good candidate for a crown and will help prevent it from developing additional decay. 

Can fix cosmetic issues

Crowns are also an option if you need a cosmetic fix. Whether you’ve been dealing with a chipped tooth, or teeth that are misaligned, your dentist can use crowns to even out your smile. Crowns are also helpful if you have a gap between your teeth. To do this, the crowns will encase your smaller teeth, making them bigger and closing the gap.

Mostly permanent

Another one of the many benefits of crowns is that they are considered mostly permanent when compared to fillings or onlays. While some crown materials may be more durable than others, on the whole, this type of tooth restoration method is considered stable and secure, and will give you back your confidence and your smile. 

Are there any disadvantages to crowns?

If crowns seem like they could be the right option for you, it is still helpful to go over some of their disadvantages.

  • You may find that more of your natural tooth will need to be removed
  • Your teeth may become more sensitive to hot or cold food/beverages
  • Depending on the material, you may need additional repairs due to chipping
  • Porcelain fused to metal may show a dark line at the gumline over time

What’s the process for getting crowns?

When you and your dentist have decided that a crown would be the best type of tooth restoration, they will begin the process by:

  • Grinding the tooth and preparing it. In order to prepare your natural tooth for a crown, your dentist will grind it down so that the crown will fit snugly. They will then take a mold or use digital technology to make an impression of the tooth that will receive the crown. Your dentist will also get impressions of the teeth surrounding the damaged or decayed tooth to ensure the crown will fit in with your bite.
  • Cementing the tooth in place. Typically you will need to come back to your dentist to have your crowns bonded in a separate visit. However, depending on your dentist, you may be able to get them the same day. 

Once they are prepared, or finished drilling, your dentist will use a temporary crown to ensure proper fit and color. When the crown returns from the lab and they are satisfied that everything is correct, they will attach the permanent crown to your natural tooth. 

How do you care for crowns?

Crowns are very low maintenance, and as long as you brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist for checkups, you should be fine. However, you should be cautious with harder foods if you have porcelain crowns so you do not chip them.

The care of a crown is nearly identical to the care of a veneer. They are never as strong as your natural tooth once was, so additional care in eating softer foods and avoiding using your teeth as tools is critical.

How do you know which is best for you, a veneer or a crown?

In order to decide which is best for you, you’ll need to have a consultation with a dentist. Veneers require less of your natural tooth to be ground down, so if you’re looking for more cosmetic results, this could be the best option.

However, if you need to protect and restore damaged or decayed teeth, you may opt to go for the full coverage that a crown can provide.

If you want to discuss these tooth restoration methods in more detail, contact your Aspen Dental dentist. 

Your welcome starts here

Your new patient visit at Aspen Dental is our most important appointment together.

Book your first visit
Share on :

Related Blogs

When's good for you?

Schedule an appointment online or find an office.
Book your first visit