An Introduction to Cosmetic Dentistry: Facts, Questions and More

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Crooked Teeth and Veneers: Can Veneers Correct a Crooked Smile?

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In today's highly competitive world, your appearance is most often the primary indicator of your social status, or suitability for a particular job vacancy. This fact has even been confirmed by a study published in 2012, which found that the colour of teeth, as well as the spacing between teeth, can affect the attractiveness of an individual. Teeth that have yellowed over time can be treated with teeth whitening procedures, a fairly straightforward form of treatment. However, crooked or crowded teeth require more of an investment in terms of expense and time. 

For some people, time is of the essence. Therefore, an orthodontic measure such as braces or Invisalign, both of which may take at least a year before any great improvement, may well be a last resort. 

In this case, some patients turn to veneers to correct their problem. Veneers fall into the realm of cosmetic dentistry whereas braces, for the most part, are considered necessary and not simply for aesthetic reasons. This is a factor for two reasons: 

1. Your Insurance Will Likely not Cover Veneers

Most insurance plans do not cover cosmetic treatments, such as veneers and lumineers, as they are considered purely aesthetic and not essential to your health. However, you do stand a greater chance of receiving some assistance from your insurance provider if you have existing restorations on the teeth to be treated, for example, composite bonding on a broken tooth. 

2. Veneers Can Beautify a Smile, But not Heal It

While veneers can give you an amazing smile, one that is both perfectly straight and white, they do nothing to correct the underlying issue. Your teeth will still be crooked or crowded, but to an observer, your smile will be something to marvel over. They are merely a beautiful facade, and for some patients, opting for veneers over braces can be detrimental to your long term oral health. 

Veneers are Useful for Minor Cases

If your case is minor, i.e. if your teeth are only slightly crooked or crowded, then veneers are a good option for you. However, placing veneers over teeth that have major crowding or spacing issues can lead to oral health and financial issues further down the line. 

Veneers Can Lead to a Need for Endodontic Treatment

When teeth are severely crooked, a dentist cannot place your veneers until they have made room. This is where things become difficult. For teeth with minor issues, very little enamel needs to be removed before the veneers are bonded to your teeth. However, for teeth that are very crooked, a dentist will need to remove a substantial amount of healthy enamel in order to make room for the veneers. 

The risk in removing so much healthy enamel is that your natural tooth structure will be severely weakened, which could lead to a breakage in future. The nerve inside the tooth may also be affected, which will mean you may need to have a root canal to treat the infected or damaged nerve. 

Furthermore, the removal of a large amount of enamel will mean that the veneers have less tooth to bond to, and they may also need to be bonded to the underlying layer of dentin, which is porous and therefore less suitable for the bonding material. 

Veneers Need to be Replaced Every 10-15 Years

For healthy teeth, or teeth with only minor spacing issues, this shouldn't be a problem. However; for more serious cases, there may be issues with decay due to the removal of so much enamel, and breakages may occur too. This means that with each new set of replacement veneers, it will become more and more difficult to find enough healthy tooth structure upon which to bond the veneers. 

If your teeth are crooked, see your dentist first before making a decision. Sometimes the safest route to take is to opt for braces or Invisalign first, to straighten your teeth naturally, before beautifying your smile with veneers. Visit a dental clinic to determine your best option.