The Drawbacks Of BracesIf your teeth are severely crooked and/or crowded, the only solution to straighten them might be braces. But if you are looking to straighten just a few front teeth, braces can be more correction than you need. Standard braces take a long time to achieve their desired effect—at least a year of hardware in your mouth. Braces also require extra cleaning and repeat visits to the orthodontist. And then, even after the braces are finally removed, you may need to wear a retainer for months (or even the rest of your life). The disadvantages don’t stop there. Teeth can keep moving after your braces come off—all that effort will seem like a waste of time and money. Moreover, braces for kids and teens are somewhat a rite of passage, part of growing up, but for adults, braces are an inconvenience and a constant reminder that your smile isn’t what you want it to be. (And before you ask, Invisalign is touted as an alternative to braces, but it has its own drawbacks, not the least of which is that you need to replace the trays on your teeth for at least 18–24 months.)
How Veneers HelpVeneers straighten the appearance of teeth and fix adult smiles more efficiently than braces do. A veneer is a wafer-thin piece of porcelain applied to the front of the tooth, almost like a jacket. This covering provides the appearance of a straight tooth, even if the tooth behind it is aimed in a different direction. The porcelain in a veneer is as strong as enamel, and its color can be custom-ordered to match the shading of the rest of your smile. Veneers require just a few office visits, thus delivering your new smile in no time. They also don’t require advanced upkeep—as long as you are following a standard oral hygiene routine, your veneers can last 15 years or more. Want to learn more about veneers? Download our free ebook for more information.
Who Can Get Veneers?Anyone desiring a straightened smile and with relatively healthy teeth is a candidate for veneers. As already stated, veneers cannot be placed on severely crooked teeth, and veneers won’t correct the effects of an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. On top of that, here are some other criteria to determine if veneers are for you: • Good oral health habits • Sufficient tooth enamel • No history of severe tooth decay • No daytime teeth grinding • No gum disease • Willingness to pay out of pocket for the procedure (veneers are rarely covered by insurance)
The Veneer ProcessGetting veneers (and the number the average person opts for is 4–10) usually involves three office visits:
- First visit: Pictures and impressions of your teeth are taken, and technology is used to produce an image of what your smile will look like with veneers in place.
- Second visit: The results of a lab workup of the original impressions are shared, and if any teeth need to be shaved down in preparation for veneers, the dentist will do so at this time. From there, new impressions are made and sent to the lab.
- Third visit: A couple of weeks after the second visit, your custom-made veneers are now ready. The dentist may apply some numbing agent around the affected teeth, but you won’t require anesthesia. The procedure usually takes no longer than a few hours, after which you’ll walk out of the dentist’s office with a new smile.