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What Is the Difference Between Crowns and Veneers?

What Is the Difference Between Crowns and Veneers?

Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way: Ancient Egyptians resorted to hammering shells into their gums to replace missing teeth, but today’s methods are more realistic and far less painful.

The only issue is that the plethora of options can be confusing. And that's where our team of expert dentists at Rifkin Dental comes in. 

Here, we discuss the differences between two of the many cosmetic restorations, crowns and veneers, so you can decide which procedure is right for you.

What are crowns?

Crowns are dental restoration treatments that cover a damaged tooth completely. They’re typically made from porcelain fused to metal but can also contain several different materials, including:

The material we recommend depends on multiple factors, namely, which teeth we're fixing. For instance, we may use more durable metal crowns for your molars and a more aesthetically pleasing option like resin for your front teeth. 

We use crowns to restore your tooth's shape, size, and strength, especially teeth severely damaged by decay, injury, or a root canal procedure. Crowns are custom-made in a laboratory to fit your tooth and match the color of your surrounding teeth. 

Getting a crown involves two office visits. During your first visit, we prepare your tooth by removing any decay or damage before placing a temporary crown. Then, we take a mold of your tooth and send it to a dental lab to create the permanent crown. Once the permanent crown is ready, we cement it onto your tooth during your second visit.

What are veneers?

Veneers and crowns have a lot in common. They both cover imperfections, are custom-made to fit your smile, and are made from similar materials. However, we recommend veneers for patients who want to improve the appearance of their smile without undergoing more invasive procedures. Crowns require much more dental work and preparation before placement. 

Unlike crowns, veneers are thin shells designed to cover your tooth’s front surface. We use them to improve the appearance of discolored, chipped, or misshapen teeth. 

Like crowns, veneers take two visits, but we don't have to do as much work. First, we remove a small amount of your tooth's enamel to make room for the veneer. Then, we take a mold of your tooth and send it to a lab to create the custom veneer. Once the veneer is ready, we bond it to the front of your tooth when you return for the second visit.

The bottom line

While crowns and veneers can improve your teeth's appearance, they serve different purposes and require different degrees of pre-work. Here's a breakdown of some of the key differences between crowns and veneers:


Crowns cover the entire tooth, while veneers only cover the front surface of your tooth.


Crowns are thicker than veneers, so we must remove more of your tooth's natural structure during preparation.


Crowns are typically more durable than veneers and can last up to 15 years, while veneers are more fragile and may need replacements after 5-10 years. Diligent oral hygiene habits can help both last for as long as possible.


Crowns restore severely damaged teeth. Veneers repair cracked and chipped teeth and also address cosmetic flaws to improve the appearance of healthy teeth.

Which is right for you?

Discussing your treatment goals helps us determine which procedure is right for you. We thoroughly evaluate your teeth and make a recommendation based on your individual needs and goals.

Ready to see what our advanced cosmetic dentistry services can do for you? Call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment with us at one of our Rifkin Dental locations in either Carmel or Yorktown Heights, New York, today. 

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