Yearly Membership Plan $250 Learn More!

Veneers vs Crowns – Which Do I Need?

Need Veneers or Crowns? We Can Help You Decide!

Attractive Results with Veneers or Crowns?

There is nothing more attractive than a white, perfectly aligned smile. Your smile says to onlookers that you are approachable, accepting them as they are. On the other hand, a smile with discolored, missing or decaying teeth sends a different message. When you look into the mirror at your reflection which smile do you see?

Veneers and Dental Crowns are restoration procedures that make your smile beautiful. Each restoration has a specific job to do and specializes in completing your smile with a natural look. So which one is right for you?


A veneer is a thin shell-like layer of material that can be porcelain, composite or ceramic, placed over the front surface of a tooth. It protects the surface from damage, like the enamel now worn with age once did, while improving the appearance of your smile. Veneers can change the color, shape, length or size of the tooth, blending it with neighboring teeth. If tooth whitening hasn’t brightened your teeth to the desired shade, a small chip is missing from your front tooth or you have an undesirable space between front teeth, a veneer may be the fix for you.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneer is translucent and most closely resembles natural teeth, not opaque white giving an artificial look. Your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of the tooth being remodeled and make a mold to send to the professionals at the laboratory.The mold is custom made to fit your exact tooth. You, along with your local family dentist will decide the shade of veneer that best matches surrounding natural teeth. At your next dental visit, your dentist will fit and shape the veneer to perfection. Your teeth will be cleaned before the veneer is bonded into place. Porcelain veneers are not repairable if chipped or broken but they can be replaced. Porcelain can fill in larger spaces than composite veneers, cover larger chips or irregularities and make teeth appear more aligned. Porcelain is more resistant to stains than natural teeth or composite veneers. This procedure will require 2-3 dental visits for completion. Life expectancy of a porcelain veneer with good oral care is about 10-15 years.

Veneer or Crown?

Composite Veneers

Composite veneers are a quicker, less expensive option and can be constructed in your mouth by applying layers of resin and sculpting the tooth to the desired shape and color. In some cases, a laboratory may be used but often this is a one-day procedure. Less tooth enamel needs to be removed for composite veneers, just enough to prevent a “bulky” look to the tooth. Composite can be used for small changes. Discoloration, small chips or slight misalignments are remedied by composite veneers. Although composite veneers are less expensive than porcelain, they stain easier and have an expected life span of about 7 years with good oral care.

No-Prep ceramic veneers is a third option. With this type, the dentist does not need to grind down or file the tooth before placing the veneer. Occasionally, some shaping or filing of the tooth will be necessary. Ceramic veneers are long lasting and are aesthetically pleasing on front teeth.

Prerequisites for Veneers

A tooth benefiting from a veneer must be a healthy one with no decay and free of gum disease. If you grind teeth or clench your jaw, chew ice or hard foods, your veneer can chip or break. Veneers can work loose over the years and need to be replaced. A tooth covered with a veneer is still susceptible to decay so good oral hygiene is a must.

A veneers job is to make the tooth white and natural looking, fill in small spaces, cover chipped edges or smooth over irregularities in the shape of your tooth. If professional whitening isn’t achieving the desired result, a veneer may bring back your eye-catching smile.

If chips are large, the tooth is broken or the tooth is discolored due to decay, a crown may be the solution.


A dental crown is a permanent cover placed over a damaged tooth to restore its original shape and appearance. This tooth might be cracked, decayed, damaged or worn from teeth grinding or eating hard foods. In the past, damaged or severely decayed teeth would have to be removed. A crown can save your tooth, lasting for many years.

Options for Crowns

There are several types of crowns to choose from. All Metal crowns are strongest and long lasting but not very attractive. These might be a choice for back teeth. Porcelain fused to metal is the most popular choice. They look good and are strong. All Porcelain or All Ceramic look nice but are not as strong as other types, These are mostly chosen for front teeth placing appearance as the most important factor. Resin crowns are inexpensive and weak. Most dentists do not recommend this type because they are not long lasting. Having a crown made is a two visit procedure. During the first visit, x-rays will be taken to ensure the roots of the tooth and surrounding bone are in good condition. Then a “mold” (impression) will be made ( so the crown will fit well) and the tooth prepared. More of the natural tooth is shaped for a crown than for veneers. Remember, veneers cover only the front of the tooth, improving appearance, but a crown covers the whole tooth. A crown saves your natural tooth and provides a strong cover. Porcelain or ceramic crowns, like veneers, will be color matched by you and your dentist, to your surrounding teeth. A temporary crown is fitted and will stay in place until the permanent crown is made by an outside laboratory (this procedure usually takes about a week). On the second visit, the permanent crown will be cemented in place. Teeth may be sensitive after applying veneers, whitening teeth or any dental procedure. A toothpaste for sensitive teeth may be advised for a few days following improvements.

Reasons for a Crown

Dental crowns can be placed for cosmetic reasons. No one wants a smile that shows discolored, decayed or cracked teeth. But most often there is a practical reason for placing a crown. A tooth with a very large cavity or an old large filling would benefit from a crown. The larger the filling the less tooth there is. This tooth is at increased risk for breaking or falling out. Most insurance companies will cover a portion of the cost of a crown because it can be considered a non-cosmetic treatment. Not so with veneers, they are considered completely cosmetic.

The first step in determining which restoration will meet your needs is to consult with your dentist. Our professionals at White Oak Family Dentistry in Garner, NC are here to help you evaluate your smile. Following a consult discussing your concerns, an exam and x-rays will detail the condition of your teeth. Our staff is ready to offer the best possible choices to remodel your mouth to perfection. For your first step to the new you call 919.986.0151.

Written by White Oak Family Dentistry

White Oak Family Dentistry provides top quality dental care to patients in Garner, Clayton, Raleigh and the surrounding area. We specialize in crowns, veneers, bridges and all types of dental hygiene and care with a true compassion for our patients' comfort and well being. Call us today at (919) 986-0151 to schedule and appointment.