Tooth whitening vs. veneer placement.
Teeth-whitening treatments may offer a reasonable outcome.
There are some instances where the single reason a person has porcelain veneers is placed is because they are unhappy with the color of their teeth.
In these cases, it is possible that teeth whitening treatments, as an alternative, might offer a similar end result and also a substantially more conservative treatment approach. (More conservative, both in terms of changes imposed upon the teeth and costs, both initially and long-term.)
A little bit more that just teeth whitening might be needed.
Of course, for a whitening approach to work, the initial condition that must exist is that the patient's teeth already have a relatively pleasing alignment and shape.
Tooth-alignment issues can only be resolved via the use of some type of veneering or, probably preferably, orthodontic treatment. But in the case of minor tooth shape, outline, and even minor tooth-blemish problems, the possibility of making simple changes with dental bonding or tooth reshaping can make a whitening approach quite doable.
Tooth whitening vs porcelain veneers.
Tooth-bleaching treatments (such as at-home whitening, in-office bleaching, or both in combination) have been well documented in dental literature as being effective. However, when compared to a set of porcelain veneers, there are a number of issues (both advantages and disadvantages) that should be considered.
» A teeth-whitening approach will be less costly than a set of porcelain veneers.
When compared to the cost of placing a set of porcelain veneers, teeth whitening treatments should offer a very attractively-priced alternative.
The patient's costs will, in part, be based on the type of whitening treatments that are employed (in-office or at-home). They will also be influenced by the type of touch-up whitening that will be utilized down the line.
» Tooth-whitening results will relapse with time.
It is true that the results produced by any type of whitening treatments will fade over time.
It is just as true, however, that whatever lightening results were achieved originally can generally be expected to be renewed with the use of (less involved and quicker) touch-up treatments.
When comparing teeth whitening treatments to porcelain veneer placement, one must weigh the perpetual need for whitening rejuvenation to the veneers situation where once their original cosmetic appeal has deteriorated they must be replaced.
» Whitening treatment results will likely be less perfect.
It is absolutely true that whitening treatments may produce an end result that is less cosmetically perfect than that result that can be created by placing a set of porcelain veneers. (For example, no tooth shape or alignment changes can be made just by bleaching a person's teeth.)
Even the overall color change that can be created with whitening treatments may likely be less perfect than that created by a set of porcelain veneers. And, in fact, even the degree to which a color change can be made by bleaching teeth is unpredictable.
A dentist, based on their experiences with other patients, should be able to give their patient an idea of what type of change might be possible, but they will be able to predict the color change possible with a set of porcelain veneers more precisely.
» Over time, whitened teeth should require less repair and maintenance than a set of porcelain veneers.
Teeth whitening has to do with just that, producing a tooth color change. Consider the situation where a person has a set of teeth that are perfect in every way except for their coloration. If the teeth are bleached, they are still structurally perfect, they just happen to be a lighter color.
Now, consider a situation where this same smile has a color change achieved by placing a set of porcelain veneers. By using the veneering method, a number of variables have been introduced that might some day require repair (veneer chipping, breaking, or de-bonding).
Of course, with this example it might be obvious to anyone that the use of whitening treatments is the better choice. But imagine the case where a smile is nearly perfect except for color. Would the nearly perfect, relatively maintenance free, solution produced by whitening treatments be a better choice than the perfect veneer appearance that may create an increased need for maintenance? Only the patient can decide this issue.
Here's why you may not really want a "perfect" smile: Why don't perfect smiles look natural?