A veneer is a very thin layer of porcelain or other materials, about 1 millimeter (mm) in thickness, that’s bonded to the
front of your existing tooth. A crown is about 2 mm in thickness and covers the whole tooth. It can be all porcelain, porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM), or an all-metal alloy. Whether a veneer or a crown is right for you will depend on the condition of your teeth and what you’re trying to fix.
Common conditions for restoration are:
- discolored teeth
- cracked or broken teeth
- decayed or weakened teeth
- crooked teeth
Both crowns and veneers are color matched to your teeth, except for all-metal crowns.
What is a veneer?
A veneer covers only the front surface of your tooth. They’re not as invasive as crowns, because the preparation leaves more of your original tooth intact. About half a millimeter of the enamel on the front of the tooth is ground down to roughen the surface for bonding the veneer. Some newer types of veneers don’t need as much grinding of the tooth surface. You may need a local anesthetic for this, because the grinding may be painful. For a veneer to work properly, your tooth has to have enough enamel on it for a veneer to bond to it.
What is a crown?
A crown covers the entire tooth. With a crown, more of the tooth needs to be filed or ground down to prepare for the crown placement. If you have tooth decay , your dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth before making the crown. In this
case, your tooth may need to be built up to support the crown. Your tooth may also need to be built up if it’s damaged. You
may have a local anesthetic for this procedure.
How do you know which one is right for you?
If your tooth has a large filling, a root canal , or is very worn or cracked, a crown is likely the best option. If your tooth is basically intact and the restoration is for cosmetic purposes, a veneer may be the best option. Veneers can also be used for minor shape corrections.