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Do I have to straighten my teeth with braces before dental veneers?

Dr. Rick Iskandar

8 March

At Tailored  Teeth, we provide holistic, comprehensive, cosmetic treatments in a way that works in harmony with the overall health of your teeth and body. We do not believe your smile’s cosmetic appearance should come at the cost of your dental health. Treatments with a biological cost (involving removal of otherwise healthy tooth structure), such as veneers, must be properly planned to promote a positive experience for the lifetime of the work and avoid unnecessary pain, complications or early failure.

What are Veneers?

A veneer is a thin layer of material (the most common materials are composite resin and porcelain) placed over the visible surfaces (usually just on the front) of a prepared (shaped) tooth. Treatment with veneers is a targeted, efficient and effective treatment option for patients looking to improve the appearance of their smile holistically.

Why would I want veneers?

Veneers are the treatment of choice for clients looking to change the colour, shape or length of their teeth and transform their smile. If you have teeth that appear too small, uneven, chipped, have gaps between them or have dark stains, veneers may be a suitable treatment option for you.

Why would I have to straighten my teeth before dental veneers?

When teeth that are receiving veneers are very crooked, for the final appearance of the teeth to be even, we must compensate for the lack of alignment by cutting away more tooth structure or making the veneers extra thick to accommodate for the uneven teeth underneath.

Dental veneers are at their very best when placed uniformly. Areas of the veneer or individual veneers that must be made thicker, thinner or more unevenly will result in a less-than-ideal uniformity of colour, shape, and will limit the options available to you when designing your smile.

When teeth that are receiving veneers are well-aligned, much less tooth structure must be removed during preparation (Ideally as little as 0.5mm), resulting in a lower biological cost, improved appearance, better durability and easier maintenance of the smile we call this approach “minimal preparation veneers.”

What are braces? Is this the only way to straighten my teeth?

Braces consist of two main parts: brackets stuck to each tooth to allow for control of the orientation of the tooth, and an orthodontic wire connecting each of the teeth through the brackets and providing a relative plane against which we may align the teeth.

In an increasingly appearance-based world, many patients are not able to have braces on, especially in client-facing, media or video production roles.

Clear Aligner Therapy (examples are Invisalign and Clear Correct) are the modern iteration of teeth straightening with a cosmetic focus – invisible brackets called ‘buttons’ on the teeth allow for complex movements like movement of the root or rotation of the teeth, and a clear plastic aligner replaces the wire, linking together all the teeth and allowing movements to occur relative to the other teeth.

What is the best way to do it?

The best smile makeovers are the ones built on a healthy foundation.

Straight, clean and bright teeth means:

  1. Less (or sometimes no) cutting of the teeth in preparation for veneers
  2. More options for internal effects and colours – teeth will look more realistic
  3. Easier maintenance as points of contact between the teeth are narrow, smooth and regular
  4. Veneers may be made more translucent – translucency at the edges of the teeth stops them looking fake.

What are my other options?

Some other treatment options to improve your smile before taking this step:

  1. No-prep composite veneers may be an option for patients as an interim measure before commencing their treatment journey to a healthy, straight, idealised smile. No-prep composite veneers are much thicker than porcelain veneers on straight teeth but can allow for the smile to be ‘trialled’ on a semi-permanent basis (up to 5 years)
  2. Remineralisation and whitening is a proprietary Tailored Teeth procedure that will increase the strength, health and colour density of the teeth. Combined with whitening, this can have a dramatic effect on smile satisfaction.

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Disclaimer: Results may vary between individuals. Any dental procedure carries risk and benefits. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.