Veneers Vs. Dental Crowns: What's the Difference?

Dr. Kyle Hornby

Dental Veneers are a very popular treatment for patients who want to whiten their smile or alter the shape and alignment of their teeth. Patients frequently ask about them and how they can improve their smile. Patients sometimes mistake veneers for dental crowns, and vice versa. My goal with this article is to compare the two restorative solutions while eliminating confusion for patients!

How do veneers work?

A dental veneer is a facade or facing that covers a single wall of your tooth. Veneers are typically white. They can be made from porcelain or filling material ("bonding" or "composite resin"). Your family dentist chemically bonds a veneer to your tooth/teeth. These restorations do not strengthen your teeth.

What is a dental crown?

In contrast to a veneer, which is a 1-wall restoration, a dental crown covers your entire tooth like a helmet. A dental crown is typically white. A crown can look very esthetic and can brighten and change the shape of your teeth. A dental crown also reinforces your tooth. It can, therefore, strengthen teeth following root canal treatment or those compromised by extensive cracking.

Veneers Vs. Crowns: A Comparison

  • Esthetics. Both Veneers and crowns can giver you whiter teeth, change your tooth shape and even alignment.
  • Tooth Preparation. Crowns require a 1-2mm shaving or reduction of your tooth's walls to accommodate crown fit. Some veneers require tooth reduction while others do not. Overall, veneer preparation is less aggressive compared to crown preparation.
  • Tooth Protection/Reinforcement. Veneers do not reinforce teeth. They can protect tooth edges and limit chipping. In contrast, crowns reinforce teeth. They can prevent tooth fracture, cracking and splitting whereas veneers cannot.
  • Cost. A high quality porcelain veneer can cost as much as 80% the cost of a dental crown. A composite veneer, or bonding, are much less costly (30-40% the cost of a crown). However, bonding is the least durable type of veneer. Additionally, bonding can stain and discolour over time.


Dental veneers and dental crowns can both provide an esthetic option for improving the look of your teeth. Crowns provide the functional benefit of reinforcing weak and fragile teeth. If you opt for veneers, be aware the composite bonding is the least durable option and can stain and discolour over time. Porcelain is more costly but is a superior material that will not change colour over time. Consult your family dentist for a full discussion about pros and cons associated with the different treatments discussed in this article.

Thank you for reading!

Written by Dr. Kyle Hornby, Dentist in Kitchener

If you would like to discuss dental crowns and veneers, please feel free to request a consult with me here.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental condition or treatment.

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