Author: A. Nutt
There is a popular misconception among dental patients that, because dental veneers improve the appearance of misshapen teeth that they serve the same purpose that braces do. The truth of the matter is that veneers can't replace orthodontic work, if orthodontic work is necessary. Both methods of treatment can and will do wonders for a less than perfect smile, but be sure to travel the right route of treatment to the best result for your healthy smile.
What Each form of Treatment Does
Braces main function is to straighten crooked and misaligned teeth to create the perfect, straight and gap free smile. Braces have come a long way in recent years; today's versions are one hundred percent pain free and invisible. There was a time when braces required a multitude of pain filled visits to the orthodontist, where the patient would sit having a variety of tools and implements stuck in their mouth to tighten and loosen wires as the teeth adjusted to the pressure of ugly and uncomfortable metal braces. The patients where then often subjected to the mental torture of their peers for having to walk around with a mouth full of metal clamps, clips and wires.
The innovations made in the area of teeth straightening are truly astronomical. Companies like Invisalign produce a clear, completely invisible and totally undetectable way to straighten the teeth. With today's invisible braces, young patients can achieve a perfect smile without any fear of torture from classmates or peers; and adults who refused to have their crooked smiles repaired with the uncomfortable metal braces of old can now have their teeth aligned with no one being the wiser, improving their overall appearance and gaining a good deal of confidence in the process.
Veneers, on the other hand, won't repair the damage that braces will; they are more designed to fix cosmetic problems than to repair the damage that an orthodontist would need to take care of. If your teeth are stained, discolored, chipped or have small gaps between them, veneers can be installed to enhance the appearance of teeth and improve the look of the smile. Veneers are like a shell that sits over the damaged or stained tooth, usually made from porcelain, they often require that some of the tooth that they will be installed over to be ground away and removed to fit properly.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The only real disadvantages of braces lie in the time they can take to correct the problem and the money that you'll have to invest to have them done. The latter of the two has gotten a lot better with the technological advancements as new braces now require far fewer office visits than the older versions to correct the problem. Also if you have chipped or discolored teeth, braces won't do anything to repair those types of damage. As a whole the positive results yielded from the treatment with braces is worth all of the time and money that the treatment costs.
Veneers can be installed and remedy several problem with less than perfect smiles almost immediately. Discolored and chipped teeth will no longer pose any problem for you, but veneers do have a few downsides. Veneers are permanent, and if cracked usually can't be repaired - this means that if you have a veneer crack, you have to start the whole process with that tooth from the beginning. Veneers can sometimes get dislodged and fall off, putting you in the same position of having to start from the beginning with that tooth again. Even if tooth sensitivity had never been a problem for you in the past, getting veneers installed may make your teeth sensitive to hot or cold because the removal of some enamel may be necessary during the installation process.
Both methods of treatment serve an excellent purpose in the correction of ugly smiles, but they are two very different treatments. Before attempting to pick a method of treatment on your own, consult your regular dentist and maybe even make an appointment with an orthodontist to choose the best method of treatment for your particular problem.
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