Difference Between Porcelain Veneers & Dental Crowns

Though both porcelain veneers and dental crowns can give you a dental makeover and produce cosmetic end results that are identical, they are of different types and have different applications.
Fundamental difference
The fundamental difference between dental crowns and porcelain veneers lies in how much area of tooth is covered by them. While the entire tooth is typically encased by crowns, only the front surface that shows when a person smiles is covered by veneers.
Placement differences
Placement of dental crowns require tooth trimming to a significant level. Usually, the tooth, which is being prepared for a crown, is tapered to a nub to make way for the crown and cement, which will become the new outer surface of the tooth. Usually, tooth reduction of a minimum of 2 millimeters is required, though more trimmings may be needed in some cases. The quantity of tooth reduction would also depend on the material used in the crown (metal, porcelain, or a blend of both).

Since porcelain veneers are meant to cover only the front surface of a tooth, less tooth grinding is required as compared to crowns. Unlike crowns, such placement don’t need trimming on the backside of the tooth. With some specific veneering techniques these days, patients may undergo no tooth reduction at all.
So, apart from being less painful from dental crown placements, porcelain veneers also ensure that the amount of healthy tooth structure, which is sacrificed, is lower.
Difference in characteristics and applications
• While dental crowns can change the color of a tooth and its shape significantly, porcelain veneers can bring moderate color changes for a tooth and minor shape changes.
• While crowns are used to strengthen and rebuild teeth that are decayed or badly broken, veneers are put on teeth whose underlying structure is usually intact and healthy.
• Though both crowns and veneers are strong, the former is durable while the latter is brittle. For people whose teeth get exposed to heavy biting or chewing forces, or those who are in the habit of tooth clenching, dental crowns are the ideal choice. In case the tooth face relatively passive or light forces, it’s better to opt for porcelain veneers.
Once you have a crown placed on your tooth, you will always require one. Though placement of porcelain veneers may be reversible in some cases, the tooth in most cases would always require some type of covering. So, you may either opt for another porcelain veneer, or trim the tooth further to place a dental crown.
Thus, we see that dental crowns are mainly used to rebuild and strengthen teeth, while porcelain veneers are used in applications, which are normally cosmetic in nature.