Crooked, misaligned, discolored, or mid-sized teeth can make you feel highly self-conscious. Many people seek orthodontic treatment or dental veneers to enhance the appearance of their teeth. While orthodontic treatments and veneers can dramatically improve your smile’s appearance, each treatment modality has unique requirements and advantages depending on your specific dental needs.
So which treatment is best for you?
Ortho or veneers: what’s the difference?
In basic terms, braces and other orthodontic treatments are considered structural and cosmetic, and veneers are considered purely cosmetic. Orthodontic treatments are a gradual and conservative process designed to keep natural teeth and surrounding structures intact. Orthodontic treatments move teeth by gradually realigning them (i.e., using braces or Invisalign) while keeping tooth structure untouched. By gradually moving the teeth, ortho treatments change the position and alignment of teeth, but they do not repair cracked or stained teeth.
Veneers are a cosmetic dental procedure designed to change the teeth’ shape, size, and color by replacing the damaged area with ceramic material. For example, if there is crowding with the front teeth, veneers can realign these teeth by cutting a large portion of specific teeth, so the facial surfaces appear straight. While ortho treatments are non-invasive and gradual over a specific period of time, veneers may require invasive work (to include root canal treatment or extraction of certain teeth to assist with the alignment process).
Typically, an orthodontist straightens teeth first; then cosmetic dentists prepare the veneers for the best result.
How can I tell when ortho or veneers are needed?
Regardless of the degree of your misalignment, you can opt for veneers or orthodontic treatments to help correct the problem areas in your smile. Even if you are self-conscious with a small aspect of your smile, simple fixes can help boost your self-confidence. On the other hand, some structural issues can cause pain on your jaw joints, or can impact your dental hygiene practices (such as brushing and flossing) when they are left untreated.
Advantages and disadvantages of orthodontics
A non-invasive, gradual way to straighten your crooked teeth or align your jaws, orthodontic treatments leave your teeth intact. Ortho treatments, either with braces or clear aligners (Invisalign), can also correct issues related to your bite and the way your jaw joints function. When these concerns are left untreated, malocclusions may lead to certain physical problems, such as headaches, disorder of the joints (TMD), neck pain, receding gums, loose teeth, or tooth loss.
A virtually non-invasive and relatively painless treatment option, some people do not like the amount of time it takes to correct their smile through orthodontics. However, the amount of time you will need to keep your braces or clear aligners (Invisalign) will be determined based on your specific dental needs. Depending on your specific needs ortho treatments may take between a few months to a couple of years. Ortho treatments may also include wearing a retainer after your braces are removed to prevent your teeth from moving back to their original position. However, retainers are usually worn during sleeping hours and will not impact your daily life.
Advantages and disadvantages of veneers
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells of a tooth-like material designed to cover the front surface of your tooth. They are used to correct discolored worn, chipped, and cracked teeth. When made properly, ceramic veneers could simulate natural teeth surface textures, shapes and shades. Veneers can also correct irregularly shaped teeth or correct small gaps between teeth. For dental veneers to fit correctly, your dentist will need to remove a thin layer from your tooth’s natural enamel. This process is irreversible, making the patient committed to veneers moving forward. Although the procedure is more invasive than ortho treatments, dental veneers can be fitted within a few visits to your dentist.
Dr. Tosun Dental
At Dr. Tosun Dental Clinic, we take an interdisciplinary approach to your dental treatments to avoid any invasive work that will result in the loss of natural structures. We leverage our extensive experience and training with the latest techniques to create custom-tailored dental treatment plans to fit your specific needs. After a thorough assessment, we’ll determine the best path forward towards enhancing your smile. Whether orthodontic treatments or veneers, you can rest assured knowing you are in the best of hands.
Contact a member of our team to learn more.