Tri Le Dental veneers and braces are both popular treatments to dramatically change the look of your teeth while also correcting specific dental conditions. Although veneers can correct mild misalignment issues, the two treatments commonly tackle different problems. Therefore, it is rarely a straight choice between getting veneers or braces. In this guide, we will cover what each treatment type entails and why you might opt for one over the other. Plus, we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about both. Ready to get started? Let’s jump right in. Do You Have to Choose Between Veneers and Braces? This is essentially a little bit of a trick question. Since veneers and braces treat two different types of dental conditions, there’s likely one that is better suited for your unique situation. This is why it is always important to talk directly with your dentist about your particular needs. What You Need to Know About Dental Veneers If you’ve ever seen a Hollywood celebrity or one of those beauty makeover shows where someone changes the entire look of their smile in a very short period of time, they likely used dental veneers. Here’s what you need to know about them. What Are Dental Veneers? Dental veneers are thin shells made from porcelain or a composite resin material and custom shaped by a dentist to resemble a tooth. Each one is uniquely crafted to help the patient achieve a natural and healthy looking smile. They come in a variety of shades, too. What Do Dental Veneers Treat? In most cases, dental veneers are not necessarily a treatment, but a way to cover up imperfections. For example, crooked or discolored teeth are hidden beneath the veneers, giving off the appearance of a near-perfect smile. Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers When it comes to choosing dental veneers over other treatment options, there are quite a few benefits. Not only is the difference in your appearance immediate, but the whole process usually only takes three appointments to complete. Veneers look and feel natural and are very durable. With the right care, porcelain veneers can last between 15 and 20 years. The downside? Veneers are expensive but remember that they are a long-term investment. Most insurance companies consider them as a cosmetic procedure, which means they aren’t usually covered by your dental plan. Placing veneers also requires the dentist to file down some of the enamel on your teeth, which is irreversible. So, once you have veneers, you will always need veneers or crowns. There’s no going back to your natural teeth. Alternative Treatments for Dental Veneers Braces or clear aligners can be used in lieu of veneers to reposition teeth, while whitening treatments can help dramatically whiten or remove staining for a brighter smile. Dental bonding is an often overlooked (and cheaper) solution to fixing imperfections such as gaps and chips. Veneers FAQs Are Veneers Permanent? Yes, veneers are somewhat permanent. We say somewhat, as once you’ve had them done, you’ll need to wear them forever. During the process, your dentist will remove part of the enamel on your natural teeth. This will need to be covered, which means if your current veneers start to wear out or discolor, you’ll have to get them replaced with new veneers. Why Do People Get Veneers? There are numerous reasons why people choose veneers for a better smile. Generally, this has to do with the quick and painless process. Many feel it is worth the added cost to only have to go to a few sessions before the whole process is done. Plus, veneers are a dramatic way to improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence with a whiter, brighter, and straighter smile almost instantaneously. How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Veneers? While the actual guideline is up to each individual dentist, most will not consider this type of cosmetic procedure unless the patient is over the age of eighteen. The reason for this is that the veneers can cause gaps and other dental issues in younger adults. Plus, this also means committing to a lifetime of maintenance once you have them. Instead, it is better to try other methods like whitening, bonding, or braces first to achieve that ideal smile. How Much Do Veneers Cost? The overall cost for porcelain veneers will vary by how many veneers you need, the veneer material, and your city. Porcelain veneers are usually somewhere in the $900 to $2,500 range per tooth. Veneers are considered a cosmetic treatment and are not typically covered by insurance. What You Need to Know About Braces Unlike veneers, braces move your teeth into a new position in order to give you a better smile. There are lots of options these days including traditional metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign clear aligners, and more. What Are Braces? Braces are a specific type of dental treatment that reposition the teeth slowly through the use of pressure. As we just mentioned, there are multiple types of braces to choose from. Some are barely noticeable, while others give off the same appearance of metal that most people are familiar with. What Do Braces Treat? In most cases, braces are designed to treat misalignment or crowding of the teeth that is creating gaps or a crooked appearance. For severe cases of misalignment or crowding, braces can help improve chewing and speaking, as well as appearance. Pros and Cons of Braces Braces are a very effective orthodontic solution and can be used for even the most complex cases. When compared to veneers as a treatment for minor misalignment, braces come in considerably cheaper. The downside to braces is that they take months or even years to fully complete treatment (although treatment times are typically faster than with other teeth straightening options). This means multiple office visits, skipping out on some of your favorite foods, and potentially dealing with discomfort along the way. Many people find braces bulky and less pleasing aesthetically than some other orthodontic options. Alternative Treatments for Braces There are several alternative options to braces. If your misalignment isn’t all that dramatic, a retainer or veneers might be sufficient. And those who don’t want the appearance of traditional metal braces can choose from clear aligners or other options that are more discreet. Braces FAQs Is There a Certain Age Where You Should Get Braces? Generally, anyone who has all of their adult teeth can start the process of getting braces. For most kids, this is somewhere in the middle school to early high school range. Additionally, it is never too late to try to achieve a more beautiful smile, so even adults can opt for them later in life. How Much Do Braces Cost? Standard metal braces can cost around $3,000 to $7,000 total for treatment. Most insurance plans don’t cover orthodontic treatments for adults aged over 18, but do partially cover children under 18 (coverage can vary strongly by dental plan). Wrap Up: Choosing Between Dental Veneers and Braces Now that you know the difference between dental veneers and braces, you can choose the right one to help you reach your smile goals. Of course, our team at Bunker Hill Dentistry is here to assist you throughout the entire process. From the initial consultation through treatment, we’re ready with the knowledge and expertise to ensure you get that perfect grin you’ve always wanted. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment. Tri LeA practicing dentist since 1987, Dr. Le has been running successful dental practices in Texas with his wife Ann since 1990. A member of the ADA, AACD and AADSM, Dr. Le has also contributed to several leading dental journals.