Realigning teeth with Braces vs. Porcelain veneers.

Here's a "before" picture that we've created two different digital smile makeovers for. This one shows the type of results that could be expected if this person's teeth were straightened using some type of braces (traditional, removable). Use this link to see how this same case might be treated by placing porcelain veneers.

Without question, it seems to us that this case really shouldn't be considered to be a 'cosmetic dentistry' case at all but instead an orthodontic one because of the advantages this approach offers.

Case issues and concerns:

This person's primary concern was simply one where they wanted to see what they would look like with "straight" teeth.

Here are the issues we noticed with this smile.

  • The "before" picture gives the impression that this is a healthy mouth. There are no obvious signs of any type of dental disease.
  • Overall, there is a fair amount of tooth misalignment, both on top and bottom.
  • Ever so slightly, the biting edges of some of the teeth aren't as straight as one might expect.
  • Some tooth lightening might make this smile a little more pleasing.
  • A smile with crooked upper and lower teeth.
    A smile with crooked upper and lower teeth. A smile with crooked upper and lower teeth.
  • The smile after orthodontic treatment.
    The smile after orthodontic treatment. The smile after orthodontic treatment.
 

Photo submitted by website visitor.

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Treatment Solutions: An orthodontic approach.

If an orthodontic approach is chosen, the treatment plan would simply be one of realigning the teeth using some type of dental braces.

1) Disadvantages.

For most people, the biggest drawback of this approach would probably be how long the treatment will take and the fact that they feel that wearing braces looks goofy and is too much of a lifestyle inconvenience.

In regard to treatment time, yes, the orthodontic work required here would probably take a year or so, possibly two. As far as the inconvenience factor goes, it might be possible to treat this case using removable braces (Invisalign ®).

2) Advantages.

The clear advantage of using an orthodontic approach is one of long-term maintenance. After treatment, the only maintenance required would be one of wearing a retainer (possibly as infrequently as just several nights per month). That's a pretty small price to pay compared to a lifetime of planned and unexpected repair and replacement sets of porcelain veneers.

Teeth-whitening treatments are an option.

If they so desired, it seems likely that the color of this person's teeth could be lightened using teeth-whitening treatments, either at-home or in their dentist's office.

This treatment will tend to relapse over time, but touch-up maintenance should still be much easier and less costly than replacing a set of veneers.

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