Full Coverage Crowns vs Veneers

Common treatments for modifying the appearance of the teeth include crowns and veneers. Both are effective solutions for concealing cosmetic flaws and have various benefits and challenges. Veneers and crowns are considered dental restorations which can improve the function and appearance of the teeth. A primary difference between the two solutions is that a crown covers the entire tooth while a veneer just covers the front surface of the tooth. It is an investment to undergo a dental restoration procedure. It is important for patients to do their research and understand which treatment will best meet their needs. Both procedures have high success rates. A summary of the differences between full coverage crowns and veneers is provided below.

Veneer vs. Crown

Veneers are a thin shell typically made from porcelain or other materials. It is usually about 1 mm thick and bonded to the front surface of the existing tooth. In comparison, a crown is about 2 mm thick and placed over the entire tooth. Crowns can be made from various materials including porcelain, porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM), and all-metal alloy. The optimal solution will vary based on what issue the patient is trying to fix and the condition of their teeth.

Below are common conditions these restorations are used to treat:

1. Tooth discoloration
2. Chips, cracks, or broken teeth
3. Teeth which have decay or are weak
4. Crooked teeth

Crowns and veneers are both customized to match the color of the natural teeth. An all-metal crown will be a metallic color.


As mentioned, veneers cover the front surface of a tooth. They are less invasive compared to crowns as the original tooth requires less modification. The dentist will grind down approximately .5 millimeter of the tooth’s enamel. This is done to roughen the surface which allows the veneer to bond to the natural tooth. Some of the newer veneers require less removal of the tooth’s surface. Because the grinding can cause some discomfort, patients may receive a local anesthetic for the procedure. In order to be a good candidate for a veneer, the patient’s tooth requires adequate enamel. This ensures the veneer is able to bond to the natural tooth.

Full Coverage Crown

A crown works by covering the entire tooth above the gumline. Crowns require removal of more of the tooth in order to place the crown. Patients with tooth decay must have the decayed portion of the tooth removed before creation and placement of the crown. Depending on the amount of decay, the dentist may need to build up the natural tooth in order to provide adequate support for the crown. This may also be required for a damaged tooth. Patients may also receive a local anesthetic for the procedure.

It can be difficult to know which solution is best. Patients should work with their dentist to determine the best treatment method. Patients who have a large filling, root canal, or a tooth which is cracked or worn will likely benefit from a crown. When the tooth is intact and patients are looking for a restoration to conceal cosmetic flaws, a veneer might be the best solution. A veneer can also be used to correct the shape of the tooth.


Crowns and veneers can be quite expensive. The cost of the procedure will vary based on the size of the tooth, location, material used for the restoration, and geographical area. Dental insurance typically does not cover the cost for cosmetic dentistry but may cover a portion of the treatment. Many dental plans also have a maximum annual limit for coverage. Patients should follow up with their insurance provider to fully understand their coverage.


On average, the cost for a veneer ranges from $925 to $2,500 or more per tooth. Porcelain veneers cost more than composite veneers but have a longer lifespan.


The average cost for a crown ranges from about $1,000 to $3,500 or more per tooth. The overall cost for the procedure will be higher if additional procedures like a root canal is required.

Partial vs Full Coverage Crowns

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