If you’re looking to improve your smile, make it more aesthetically pleasing, you have a few options to choose from. Dental braces, clear orthodontic aligners and porcelain veneers can all help improve your smile, but the right option depends on a variety of factors. Note that dental braces and clear orthodontic aligners can be clubbed together, because the benefits provided by them overlap to a certain extent. Porcelain veneers are a completely different approach to beautifying your smile.
What’s the Difference Between Braces and Veneers
Let’s take a look at what each of them are and how braces and veneers differ from one another.
The primary function of braces, both dental braces and clear orthodontic aligners, is treating orthodontic issues like crooked teeth, crowding of teeth, wide and/or irregular spaces between teeth, alignment problems, protrusions and irregularities with teeth bites such as crossbite and overbite. Clear aligners are also used as a remedy for mild relapses of any of these aforementioned issues after being treated with dental braces. Beautification of the teeth, improving the smile or improving the overall aesthetics of the teeth are the byproducts and not the main objective of using braces.
There are three types of dental braces. The most common type is the metal brace that’s comparatively low in cost and resolves alignment issues quickest. However, since the metal brackets and wires that make up the brace is clearly visible over and across the teeth, wearers have had to deal with the stigma attached to it. If you’ve orthodontic issues and you want to improve your smile, it makes a lot of sense to go for metal braces. The issues will be resolved quicker and then you can proudly display your beautiful smile. However, if resolution of the orthodontic issue is going to take a number of months or more and you do not want metal braces in your mouth for the duration, there are other options.
The two other types of braces are ceramic braces and lingual braces. The brackets in ceramic braces are colored to match the teeth to a certain degree, which camouflages them. But you will have to clean the braces, especially the brackets regularly or else they will get stained and appear ugly. The other issue with ceramic braces is the fact that they are brittle. So, you might have to replace them, which will increase the cost. The brackets in lingual braces are much smaller in size and are fitted at the back of the teeth and completely out of the view. Its positioning makes it quite tricky to install in the first place and to adjust the brackets later on. Lingual braces are the most expensive type of braces and the monthly adjustment appointments with your orthodontist will cost more as well.
Clear orthodontic aligners such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect are also a type of braces. These are ideally suited for treating bite irregularities, but are also used for treating other orthodontic issues. However, it takes a lot longer for the orthodontic issue to be resolved with clear aligners as compared to dental braces, especially metal braces. If you’re concerned about the appearance of your teeth during the period that the treatment is on and at the same time want good quality of treatment to resolve the orthodontic issues, then clear aligners are definitely the right choice. Except for the really severe cases of orthodontic issues, clear aligners can be used for all other cases. Clear aligners also offer certain other useful benefits, not least of all the fact that they are removable. While eating or brushing your teeth, you will have to take them out. You shouldn’t take them out too often though as it might hamper the treatment. Also, clear aligners cost less than lingual braces and are on par with ceramic braces.
Porcelain veneers are essentially a type of overlay that beautifies the teeth. It’s made up of ceramic that’s almost life like. When overlayed on teeth, it looks similar to dental enamel. It provides a number of cosmetic corrections, including hiding discoloration of the teeth, preventing chips and cracks in the teeth from causing problems and more. Veneers are permanent in nature, however, you do need to take care of it. In certain circumstances, especially the older the veneer gets, you might have to replace it. Unlike braces, porcelain veneers are purely a cosmetic aide.
Before you go in for veneer, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Firstly, and probably most crucially, in order attach a veneer, the top layer of the tooth enamel needs to be removed. So, you need to consider if that’s what you really want. In addition, if your teeth aren’t generally in good shape, removing the top layer and attaching a veneer might not be possible. Secondly, if you have any major orthodontic issues such as wide spaces between the teeth or protrusions, then you will first need to undergo orthodontic treatment before the veneer can be attached. And, the orthodontic treatment for such issues, as discussed earlier, will be via the wearing of dental braces or clear orthodontic aligners, depending on the severity of the issue. If you do need to first undergo orthodontic treatment and then you choose to attach a veneer as well, it will cost you a lot of money.
Braces can help you achieve perfectly aligned teeth and a holistically beautiful smile, but veneers can only offer a cosmetic solution and beautify your smile on the superficial level. If you already have healthy, properly aligned teeth that have over the years gotten discolored a bit or chipped, attaching a veneer would be the right option. However, if your teeth have alignment issues or other forms of orthodontic issues, then attaching a veneer simply won’t work. The issues will have to be resolved before the veneer can come into the equation.
Since orthodontic treatment isn’t cheap and can go on for up to a couple of years or more, you need to find out if your dental insurance plan can fund a part of the cost. Some dental insurance plans cover up to half of the cost of orthodontic treatment, which will save you a significant amount of money.