What are the Differences Between a Crown and a Veneer?

Houston, Texas

Learn the difference between a crown and a veneer

Your smile is a large part of the world’s first impression of you. A straight, white smile can help build self-esteem and project confidence to your peers. Fortunately, a crooked or broken smile can be easily fixed with the help of an experienced cosmetic dentist like Dr. Jonathan Penchas. As technology progresses in the field of dentistry, crowns and veneers are becoming the most popular and reliable treatments for improving both the strength and look of your smile.

Crowns and veneers share some similarities, despite their different uses. Both are custom-made molds designed to provide you with the strongest and healthiest smile possible. But you are probably wondering what is the difference between a crown and a veneer?

The veneer or crown must be tailored to your mouth for the best possible fit. That requirement for a custom-made mold makes a prosthodonist like Dr. Penchas so much more necessary.


A crown is a tool of dental restoration that completely encases a tooth or implant. Crowns, unlike veneers, can be made of several different materials, depending on the tooth’s use and position in the smile. Materials used for permanent crowns include:

1. Stainless steel – mainly for temporary crowns or children’s teeth

2. Porcelain/ceramic-fused-to-metal – a porcelain exterior with a metal interior allows for both strength and aesthetics, often used for molars and teeth under grinding pressure

3. All-ceramic or all-porcelain – a good choice for front teeth where strength is not crucial much, but looks are critical

Dental crowns are used to protect a weak tooth from decay or breaking, to cover and support a tooth with a filling, to support a dental bridge, to cover discolored or malformed teeth, to cover a dental implant, or even just for cosmetic reasons.

A crown provides support around the entirety of a tooth, both front and back.  As much as two millimeters around the tooth must be delicately removed in order to make room for proper placement of the crown. This allows the crown to provide proper structure and support to the activities that the tooth must be able to withstand.


In contrast, a veneer is a tool of dental restoration that only covers the front of a tooth. A veneer only requires a reduction in the tooth thickness of about 1 millimeter or less. Therefore, a veneer must be used for different situations than a crown would be. A patient with relatively strong or healthy teeth can choose to get a veneer for completely cosmetic reasons.

Unlike a crown, a veneer proves to be quite brittle, and should be used for teeth that do less of the chewing and grinding (the front teeth that are most important for looks).

 How can crowns and veneers change my smile effectively?

Both crowns and veneers are used to change a smile for different reasons, yet through similar mechanisms. An experienced specialist like Dr. Penchas can make sure that the crown and/or veneer look natural and lifelike, through a variety of important steps:  matching the proper anatomy of your mouth, approximating the color and texture of natural teeth, and recreating the translucent edges of a natural tooth.

If you have concerns about how to make your smile strong, healthy, straight and beautiful, Dr. Jonathan Penchas can answer all of your questions.  His experience with both crowns and veneers is nothing short of extraordinary, and he can recommend healthy choices in oral hygiene.

"Over 25-years in Houston Texas providing excellent dentistry and making it easy for you to smile again."

Dr. Jonathan Penchas

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