Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps made of metal or porcelain or both, and veneers are just partial crowns that cover only one or two surfaces of the tooth. Crowns are used to cover defective or root-canal treated teeth, while veneers are used more for aesthetic reasons. This article attempts to provide a clear comparison of crowns and veneers—their similarities, differences, and the prices.
Comparison of Crowns and Veneers
- Dental crowns cap the teeth, that is, they cover the whole visible part of the tooth above the gum line, whereas a tooth veneer covers only the front of the tooth and are used to improve the aesthetic appearance mostly for front teeth.
- Dental crown procedure is more elaborate and invasive than tooth veneer procedure. Placing a dental crown involves more removal of the tooth material to make room for the crown, which is usually 2mm thick. (In some cases, there may not be sufficient tooth structure for placing a crown. In this case, the dentist will have to build up the tooth with filling.) A tooth veneer is much thinner than a crown, so the tooth veneer procedure takes away only a small amount (0.3 mm to 0.5mm) of tooth enamel.
- In most cases, a tooth veneer is used in cosmetic dentistry to cover minor defects like discoloration, chipping, small misalignments, to lengthen a tooth etc. A dental crown, on the other hand, has more of restorative benefits.
- Dental crowns are made of different materials, like gold, steel, palladium alloys or base-metal alloys, porcelain, and porcelain-fused-to-metal. Tooth veneers are always made of porcelain, as the purpose is to improve the visual appeal.
- Dental crowns are very strong and can be used in situations where the tooth is likely to undergo significant pressures of chewing, biting, clenching and grinding. Tooth veneers are comparatively delicate, as they are not meant to withstand a lot of occlusal forces.
Cost of Dental Crowns and Teeth Veneers
Veneers requiring lesser crown material are obviously cheaper than full dental caps, which require more material and more intricate design to fit on all sides.
However, a full crown made of metal will be much cheaper than metal-ceramic (porcelain-fused-to-metal) caps as porcelain is an expensive material. All-ceramic caps are the most expensive of all. Prices for dental veneers start at about $300 and crowns can be had from a starting price of $600.
Many Americans and Canadians choose to get their dental crowns and veneers in Mexico, Costa Rica, or other countries where dental care is far more affordable than their home countries. If you too are considering dental crowns or veneers to spruce up your smile, you may want to first compare the prices in Mexico with those in your local hospital.
For more information on dental crowns and veneers and their prices in Mexico, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, fill-out the estimate-request form on the right.