Veneers vs. Crowns: What’s the Difference and Which One is Right for You?

These days we have the benefit of choice when it comes to dental restoration procedures.

Dentistry has come a long way in recent years, and the choice of long-lasting and pain-free procedures for patients is something our industry is proud of.

dental veneers placement on tooth cartoon
Temporary dental crown

Veneers or Crowns? What’s the difference?

Veneers and crowns are something that patients sometimes have trouble choosing between. Both are good options for restoring the aesthetic of your smile. Crowns have the added bonus of restoring your bite if your damage runs deeper than just the surface level.

Generally, you could think of veneers being a more cosmetic option, and crowns being an all-round option for restoring function and cosmetic appearance together.

Let’s look at who these two options are the most suitable for, the pros and cons of each, and the costs associated with them.

Who might need veneers or crowns?

If you have deep staining, chipped or broken teeth, then you may be looking for a long-lasting solution to restore your healthy smile. Veneers and crowns are both options you could look at in more depth to see if either seems like a good fit for you.

Generally, veneers are the more affordable option, and are most suitable for more aesthetically based problems. Veneers can cover deep stains, chips in the tooth, unevenness and slight crookedness. Some people choose veneers simply to close gaps between teeth, as a faster option than orthodontic work.

Crowns certainly look great too, but they can do more for teeth with deeper damage. If you have a very large cavity, a cracked tooth, or have had a root canal or implant that needs covering – crowns are a great all-round solution.

Choosing between them will come down to the level of damage to your tooth, and how long-lasting you want your solution to be. Cost is a factor, of course, and we will break down all these key points for you here.

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers are thin coverings adhered to the front of your teeth to give the impression of healthier, natural teeth. They are typically used on the front teeth only, and are colour matched to the rest of your teeth.

Veneers can be made of porcelain or a composite material, with porcelain giving the best look. Porcelain veneers are also longer lasting, so you can expect them to cost more than composites.

To have veneers made for your teeth, you first need to have either a scan or a mould taken of the area. At No Frills Dental, we useiTero Elements 2 Intraoral scanning, which is quick and painless.

composite dental veneers in singapore

Fitting your veneers

Having veneers fitted requires the front surface of the tooth to be ground down a little, which creates a rough surface for the veneer to bond to. The tooth usually needs to be trimmed just a tiny amount to get the perfect fit. Your veneers will be custom-made in a laboratory, but while you wait those few days (or a week at most) you will have temporary veneers to cover your newly prepared teeth.

If looked after, veneers can last between 10 and 15 years.

Veneers are not reversible, and this is worth taking into consideration when choosing to have them or not. Once they are bonded on they have very minimal movement and feel secure. This is a popular method for improving the appearance of your smile.

dental veneers in Singapore | the solution to perfect teeth

Who are veneers suitable for?

Veneers are used mainly to improve the appearance of your front teeth only. If you have deep discolouration, or unevenness to your tooth shape, then veneers are a common solution for that.

Veneers may also be suitable for you if you wish to close small gaps in between teeth.

Generally, veneers are best suited to people with more of an aesthetic issue than a structural one. If your teeth have structural damage then veneers will not add any support. This is when you may want to consider a crown instead.

Pros and cons of having veneers

As with all procedures, there are pros and cons to consider. With veneers, the main points to know are these.

Pros of Veneers

  • A quick, painless and non-invasive solution
  • Minimal movement giving a secure feeling
  • Look good for a long period of time
  • Highly resistant to staining
  • Fitting them doesn’t require much work; just a little trimming or grinding down of the tooth enamel
  • Porcelain veneers can last 10+ years with good care, and 4 to 8 years for composites
  • Veneers are undetectable as the top edge merges with the gum line – nobody will be able to tell you have them

Cons of Veneers

  • Not repairable when damaged – broken veneers must be fully replaced
  • Veneers leave some tooth surface open to damage and erosion
  • Not suitable for cracked or very damaged teeth
  • Not as long-lasting or hard-wearing as crowns
  • Veneers are not Medisave claimable
Potential risks associated with veneers

Potential risks associated with veneers

Veneers are very low risk, as they are unlikely to cause any problems such as discomfort or sensitivity. The most likely problem to occur with veneers is of the material chipping.

If that were to happen, you wouldn’t be able to have the veneer just removed, as they are not reversible. You would need to see your dentist about having the affected veneer replaced. This is also the case when your veneers come to the end of their lifespan – they must always be replaced.

What are dental crowns?

Dental crowns completely cap all exposed surfaces of your damaged teeth, providing both protection and an improved smile. Designed to look like your natural teeth, they also feel and function as your teeth would. Eating and speaking should feel the same, and their appearance shouldn’t stand out from your natural teeth.

Crowns can be all porcelain or ceramic, all metal, a porcelain shell fused to a metal inner layer, or zirconia. All crown materials are very hard wearing. Metal or zirconia crowns will last 20 to 25 years with the proper care. Porcelain crowns typically last around 15 years before needing to be replaced.

Zirconia crowns have only been introduced recently. They were created as a metal-free option for those with metal allergies, but who want the longer lasting option instead of porcelain. While they are extremely strong, they do have the ability to damage adjacent teeth from biting hard or grinding in your sleep, and they also cost the most.

lad dentist using invisalign itero intraoral scanner

Fitting your crowns

Your initial consultation will likely involve an X-ray to check the bone structure supporting your teeth. After this consultation, preparation for your crown or crowns can begin.

The affected teeth are prepared by trimming them down to allow room for the crown to be fitted over them. This requires more trimming than with veneers, so is done under local anaesthesia.

The next step is to take an impression of your freshly trimmed tooth, as this allows the crown to be made to fit as closely as possible. Your final, permanent crown will be made in a lab by technicians, using the impression you just had taken. While you wait, you will have a temporary crown fitted to protect your trimmed tooth and keep you comfortable.

After an average waiting time of 1 week, your new crown will be with your dentist, ready to be fitted to your tooth. The fit will be checked thoroughly by your dentist, and when you are happy, it will be cemented in place.

improved self confidence after getting teeth straightened with braces treatment

Who are crowns suitable for?

If you have a very large cavity or crack running through your tooth, then a crown may be a suitable option for you. Crowns can also cover deep staining from a root canal or old and discoloured fillings.

Crowns are also commonly used with dental implants, due to their strength and longevity. If you undergo a dental implant procedure, the screw that is fixed into your jaw is then covered with a crown. This gives you the look, feel and function of a brand-new tooth where one was missing before.

Pros and cons of having crowns

There is a lot to weigh up when considering dental crowns.

Pros of Crowns

  • Crowns are harder wearing than veneers
  • They are not just aesthetic covers, but add protection to damaged teeth
  • A long-lasting solution for cracked or badly chipped teeth
  • Crowns blend in well with natural teeth
  • A good choice of long-lasting materials on offer
  • Fitted painlessly under local anaesthetic

Cons of Crowns

  • Generally more costly than veneers
  • Not suitable for all; metal crowns are not advised for patients with metal allergies, and zirconia crowns are not suitable if you grind your teeth
  • Some crowns, specifically the ones with metal inner shells, can show the metal at the top, causing a visible grey line along the gums
  • More of your natural tooth is trimmed away to accommodate the crown
  • This is a bigger procedure than having veneers fitted
  • Like with veneers, crowns are also not Medisave claimable
Potential risks associated with crowns

Potential risks associated with crowns

A few things could potentially go wrong with a crown. Sometimes a crown can get chipped, and this is more common with porcelain or ceramic options.

It is possible for a crown to become loose over time and even fall off completely, although this is rare. If you sense your crown is becoming loose, do visit your dentist sooner rather than later to receive help and advice.

It is not uncommon for new crown recipients to experience some tooth sensitivity, especially when consuming hot or cold drinks. If the sensitivity is too high then you may have an incorrectly fitting crown, so always seek advice from your dentist.

Deciding between veneers or crowns

Much of the decision between veneers or crowns comes down to the condition of the tooth or teeth that you wish to improve.

If the damage is more cosmetic, then veneers might be your best option. If the damage runs deeper, like cracks in the tooth, then crowns can offer you protection as well as aesthetic improvement.

But there is also cost and durability to consider. Crowns generally last longer, and that is reflected in the price. Investing in crowns now could save you some further dental work in the future, if you feel you are likely to have more age-related wear to your teeth further down the track. So there is a lot to consider.

dental veneers in Singapore

Factoring in the costs

Much of the decision between veneers or crowns comes down to the condition of the tooth or teeth that you wish to improve.

If the damage is more cosmetic, then veneers might be your best option. If the damage runs deeper, like cracks in the tooth, then crowns can offer you protection as well as aesthetic improvement.

But there is also cost and durability to consider. Crowns generally last longer, and that is reflected in the price. Investing in crowns now could save you some further dental work in the future, if you feel you are likely to have more age-related wear to your teeth further down the track. So there is a lot to consider.

Cost of veneers:

In Singapore, veneers cost between $250 and $1000+ per tooth, depending on the material chosen and the complexity of the work needed.

At No Frills Dental we have a $50 fee for our initial consultation, which is waived upon starting your treatment with us. In this consultation we will assess your suitability for your chosen procedure, which may involve having an Intraoral scan to render a 3D model of your affected teeth.

Cost of crowns:

Getting dental crowns fitted in Singapore costs between $750 and $1400 per tooth, again depending on material and the complexity of your case. Clients typically pay in two instalments; with half as a deposit before treatment, and the other half paid on completion of the work.

metal fused porcelain crown

So what’s next?

If you have been thinking about starting Invisalign treatment, then now you know how the initial impressions of your mouth are generated. You also know how your progress is measured against the predicted outcome. When you come in for your initial consultation, you will be able to see how your teeth will move over the timeline your dentist plans for you.

Or you might be thinking about having restorative dentistry, such as implants, a bridge or crowns. In which case, you now know how your dentist can use intraoral scanning to make an accurate assessment easily, without any discomfort for you.

The use of intraoral scanning can reduce procedure time by removing the need for deep, exploratory incisions, and therefore may reduce recovery time too.

Please feel free to call and talk through the options with us, or fill in the contact form on this page. We are always happy to advise you, and you should feel comfortable making your decision. Both Invisalign treatment, and restorative procedures are long-term investments in your oral health. Choosing to proceed is a big decision.

The best dentist for you is one who will provide you with all the information, and help you to reach a well-informed decision that you are comfortable with. Good communication between you and your dentist is vital for a successful outcome.

In addition, please only proceed with the treatment if you are fully comfortable with the treatment plan proposed by your provider.

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Our Dental Clinics

We are conveniently located at these locations:

NoFrills Dental @ Suntec City

3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City (North Wing)
Singapore 038983

T: +65 6337 7319
E: suntec@nofrillsdental.com.sg

NoFrills Dental @ Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard,
Marina Square,
Singapore 039594

T: +65 6227 8885
E: marinasquare@nofrillsdental.com.sg

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