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Crowns and veneers are both used to hide chips or damage to your teeth, creating a more even smile. Whilst a dental crown covers the whole tooth, a dental veneer only covers the front surface. But which should you go for?

That really depends on the structure of your tooth and the nature of the damage you want to repair. 


A dental crown is known as a tooth-shaped ‘cap’ that is placed over the tooth and covers it to restore its size, shape, strength and appearance. It is typically 2mm thick and can be created to match the style and shape of the rest of your teeth. Crowns are most commonly used on teeth that are significantly broken down and are not strong enough to support a veneer.  


A dental veneer acts like a ‘shell’, covering only the front of the tooth instead of the ‘cap’ of a dental crown. Veneers are wafer thin and ensure that there is only a slight adjustment to the tooth, unlike a crown where the whole tooth is covered. Veneers are more appropriate for stained, chipped or irregular teeth to boost confidence and create an even smile. They are easy to replace if they become chipped over time. 

How do the procedures differ?

If you opt for a dental crown, at your first appointment your dentist will take an X-Ray to examine your teeth, then numb your mouth and file your tooth. Next, they will apply a mould and give you a temporary crown, made of an acrylic-based material or stainless steel. At your next appointment, your permanent crown will be cemented, made of a ceramic material that looks like your natural tooth. 

Differently, veneers are made from porcelain or composite resin (plastic), which can both be shaped and coloured to look effectively like a real tooth. Like a crown, you will need two appointments. At the first appointment, your dentist will take a mould of your tooth, remove small amounts of enamel and work out the fit of the veneer. At the second appointment, the dentist will apply the veneers. 

What are the key differences and which should I go for?

Whilst crowns and veneers are both used to strengthen your teeth and improve their appearance, the main differences are the coverage they provide for your teeth and the nature of the procedure. No matter which you choose, both dental crowns and veneers can significantly improve your smile and help you feel happier, healthier and more confident. 

If you know you want to improve the appearance of your teeth but are not sure where to start, seek advice from your dentist. They can examine the teeth you would like to adjust and help to decide whether a dental crown or veneer would be more appropriate.