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Dental Insights With Dr Richard Tippett

Providing insight, answering common dental questions and busting dental myths!

"I want a Hollywood Smile!" Veneers VS Orthodontics

Hi everyone, and welcome to the STAR dentistry blog!

Over the coming weeks I'm going to cover some of the main topics/questions that I get asked in my practice. 

Im going to jump straight in to one of the most common questions that people ask me on a daily basis, “Doctor I want a Hollywood Smile! Should I get veneers or teeth straightening?”! It is a wonderful question because there is no right answer to fit every patient.

The best way to make a decision when considering these options is to start at the beginning and educate ourselves about what these treatments entail.

Lets start with veneers, once regarded as the holy grail in obtaining a the "Hollywood Smile". Veneers are best described as false finger nails for your teeth...a strange concept I know! A very thin porcelain shell covers the outside of your original tooth, immediately changing the shape, colour, and correcting small amounts of crowding or spacing.

"Wow, what a great product!" I can hear many of you saying to yourself, with many things that seem too good to be true, there are drawbacks.

In most cases, a very small amount of your tooth has to be irreversibly removed to allow room for this “false nail” to be placed. This means you are stuck with veneers for life! If one chips, breaks or you want a change of shape or colour (veneers cannot be whitened like natural teeth) then you have to have them replaced with brand new ones. 

On average, the lifespan of a veneer is approximately 7-10 years so the cost of replacement also needs to be take into consideration when making this decision.

Im sure that many of you are thinking that I am anti veneers at this point, but if used correctly and with educated patient consent, they are a wonderful restoration. Veneers can transform someones smile almost instantly, especially if the teeth are already filled or chipped/broken.

The other side of the discussion brings us to cosmetic orthodontics, or teeth straightening. Orthodontics has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years due to fantastic branding of systems such as Invisalign, Fastbraces and the Inman Aligner (to name a few).

The aim of cosmetic orthodontics is to create that "Hollywood Smile" by aligning teeth with gentle movements, without removing any healthy tooth structure. This is the real bonus of cosmetic orthodontics, we don't have to permanently disfigure the teeth and everything is reversible. On top of that, throw in a little bit of teeth whitening (another blog topic for later!) and most people are over the moon with their result.

The biggest sticking point in the veneers vs orthodontics debate, and the only real negative to orthodontics, comes in the form of time. Even the quickest of systems for the most minor crowding will take at least 6 weeks (Inman Aligner), moving up to an average of 5 months for Fastbraces, and at least a year on average for Invisalign. !

In this world of instant gratification, for many, the time frame is just too large and they will take the quick route of veneers. For others, the time invested is well worth it, to know that their teeth are still untouched.

Obviously I have only scratched the surface of this topic and there are many other positives and negatives for both, but hopefully this quick blog will give you a basic insight and if you have any other questions please feel free to fire them across to!

Thanks for taking the time to read this quick blog and have a great day.

Dr Richard Tippett