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Two excellent permanent teeth replacement options include dental veneers and dental crowns. ARe these the same or is there any difference between the two? We have the answer.

Dental veneers and dental crowns have certain overlapping functions and features, so it can be a little difficult to understand the differences between them. Dental veneers and crowns are both excellent permanent teeth replacement options and perform vital functions important to the patient's oral well-being.

Difference Between Porcelain Veneers And Dental Crowns


As the name suggests, porcelain veneers are made from porcelain. Dental crowns, meanwhile, may only have a layer of porcelain on top of the underlying metal structure. Even all-ceramic crowns, which are made from porcelain, contain different percentages of "fillers" to help provide strength [1]. The materials used for porcelain veneers are geared towards making the final result as esthetic as possible, while that is not the only consideration in the case of dental crowns.


A dental crown envelopes the tooth from all sides, while a dental veneer covers the front, most visible portion of the tooth. Dental crowns were developed for use far earlier than dental veneers came around. It was a time when conservative tooth preparation was not considered very important and material science had not advanced enough to allow the construction of veneers attached to just one surface of the tooth.

Indication Of Use

A direct result of this difference in design between porcelain veneers and dental crowns is their chief clinical indication [2]. Veneers are extremely thin and only cover the front of the teeth so they are placed on the front teeth where the chewing forces being exerted are not too great.

The most common use of porcelain veneers is to correct the alignment, shape or size of the front teeth [3]. A small amount of preparation done on the front surface of upper and lower teeth can result in a near perfect smile within a matter days. This is not something that orthodontic treatment, dental implants or any other mode of treatment can achieve.

Dental crowns, on the other hand, cover the tooth from all sides and afford it protection. This is why dental crowns are used to prevent a tooth from breaking after undergoing root canal treatment or to restore the function of badly damaged teeth [4].

Dental crowns are much more versatile in use and can be used wherever a couple of sound supporting teeth exist. Dental crowns can also be used to correct and replace front teeth, especially since advances in material sciences have allowed them to become very esthetic as well. Dental veneers, in contrast, cannot be used on the back teeth [5].

Tooth Preparation

Both dental crowns and porcelain veneers require some extent of tooth preparation prior to the fabrication of the prosthesis. In the case of a dental crown, the tooth needs to be reduced in size from all sides. The amount of reduction required is also pretty significant and can result in the occurrence of sensitivity, pain and other discomforts [6].

This is one area where dental veneers are far more conservative and thus result in much fewer side effects (if any). A porcelain veneer only needs tooth preparation to be carried out on the outer surface of the tooth in question. This is extremely conservative and does not cause any sensitivity or discomfort. In fact, since the porcelain veneer will not come in contact with the inner surface of an opposing tooth, it does not change the existing bite and is very easy to adjust to [7].

Cost Of Dental Crowns vs Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are much more expensive than standard dental crowns, often by a factor of two to three, because of the specialized nature of work that goes into their preparation and fabrication. While veneers can be fabricated for just a single tooth as well, they are most commonly made for a group of teeth taking their cost upwards even further [8].

Dental crowns can vary in cost depending upon the kind of material being used for their fabrication but even the most expensive dental crowns will be significantly less expensive than veneers. If cost is a big concern to the patient then dental crowns can be used in place of veneers without sacrificing any functionality, although the procedure will end up being more invasive [9].


The difference between porcelain veneers and dental crowns is massive. They are sometimes used interchangeably by laymen and have some overlap in the clinical situations to further complicate the issues. Knowing the pros and cons of each will help you make an informed decision if your dentist decides to offer them to you for your needs [10].  

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