According to the American College of Prosthodontists, approximately 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Many more Americans have some sort of damage or decay in their teeth. Two of the most common treatments for these types of defects include crowns and veneers.

Veneers and crowns are both permanent dental restoration techniques used in a variety of different situations ranging from structural reinforcement to cosmetic changes. While both options allow you to retain your existing tooth, there are several key differences between the procedures which influence which is the right choice for your needs.

What is a Crown?

A crown can be described as a cap that covers a tooth or implant. They are typically around two millimeters thick. They may be composed of porcelain, metal, and other blends of material. The dentist may need to extract the decaying part of a tooth. Depending on the size and condition of the tooth, the dentist may need to “build up” or “grind down” the tooth to allow for proper placement.

When you have extensive tooth decay or have undergone a root canal, crowns help save the original tooth while making it more durable than before. This type of added strength is commonly needed after these procedures as little of the original tooth remain after clearing the decay.

Crowns cover the entire tooth and are custom designed to fit correctly in the mouth. To ensure the prosthetic is the correct size and shape, your dentist will either take a mold or digital 3D image of your original tooth and make the crown in that shape.

Each crown is custom-made to the individual. As such, a temporary crown may be needed to allow for continued use of the tooth while you await your custom crown’s completion.

What is a Veneer?

A veneer is a thin layer that adheres to the front of an existing tooth. They are made from porcelain and other materials and are roughly one millimeter thick. They are commonly used to treat teeth that have become discolored, damaged or are improperly aligned. The majority of the original tooth may remain intact.

The enamel of the existing tooth typically must be filed down for proper adherence. The dentist either digitally scans your teeth or uses a model or mold. This is typically sent to a laboratory where the actual veneer is produced. You may be provided a temporary veneer in the interim. A special adhesive is applied and hardened using ultraviolet light to complete the process.

With veneers, the outermost facing layer of your tooth is ground down and replaced with a thin layer of porcelain. Similar to crowns, this layer is custom-made to match the shape and color of your teeth. Porcelain fuses to the exterior of your tooth through the use of UV lights, creating a permanent bond between the two surfaces.

As such, veneers fix a variety of cosmetic problems including crooked or chipped teeth, permanent yellowing, and misshapen or gapped teeth.

Costs of Crowns and Veneers

There are a host of variables that can impact the cost of crowns and veneers. These may include the size and position of the existing tooth. Prices tend to vary across different geographic regions. Whether dental insurance coverage applies can be a key factor in the amount of out-of-pocket expenses. The general price ranges are as follows:

• Composite veneers: $250 to $1,500 per tooth
Porcelain veneers: Are more costly than composite veneers and may be up to $2,500 each
• Crowns: May range from $1,000 to $3,500 per tooth

The costs of crowns may vary based on the amount of preparation required. Often porcelain and ceramic crowns will exceed the overall cost of all-metal crowns.


Like anything in dentistry, the durability, health, and success of your procedure rely on proper care. Brushing and flossing twice a day are recommended, just as with natural teeth, and it is strongly advised to refrain from anything that could cause physical damage to the prosthetics.

Determining Whether to Use a Crown or Veneer

Teeth that have significant damage, a large filling or a root canal are best suited for a crown. Veneers tend to be preferred for more cosmetic applications. Most people find that veneers are more attractive than crowns. Unlike crowns, the underlying tooth is mostly intact. This makes those with veneers more susceptible to tooth decay.

Dental insurance is more likely to cover crowns compared to veneers. Composite veneers are generally affordable; however, they may need replacing within five to seven years. Most people find that crowns feel very natural. Some individuals experience sensitivity from crowns.

Importance of Choosing an Experienced Oral Health Professional

You are always encouraged to seek dental care from an experienced professional. Procedures involving crowns and veneers require skill to achieve the best outcomes. You should have a dental exam twice per year, which is an effective way to detect problems and prevent them from worsening. You should also remember that brushing after every meal and flossing daily is a fundamental way to protect your teeth.

Local Dentists in Mesa, AZ

While we like to be a source of information for anyone researching on the internet, East Valley Dental Professionals has made its home in Mesa, Arizona. Established in the 1980s, we take great pride in having local clients who receive the best dental care and the best service.

If you are in Arizona, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 480-838-3033 so you can speak to a professional who can help answer your questions or set up an appointment to get a consultation. We are only one call away from a healthier smile.