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Less Is More

Less Is More

“Wearing a veneer of perfection never did me any good.” -Liz Phair

I frequently get asked by friends and patients what I think about veneers. Before I go into my answer, let me define what a veneer is. A veneer is a thin shell of medical-grade ceramic (or resin) that is traditionally attached to the front surface of a tooth. Veneers are individually crafted by a skilled lab technician who uses man-made materials to mimic a natural tooth. Dentists use veneers for a variety of dental issues including  color correction and orthodontic adjustments.

Due to Hollywood, veneers are synonymous with cosmetic dentistry. (Literally, in the 1920’s, Hollywood actors and actresses were known to get false front teeth.) Generally, when a patient comes to my office inquiring on how to improve their smile, they always ask about veneers. But are veneers really the best choice for everyone in every situation?

Honestly, it depends on the situation. If it's a color modification you seek, a simple course of teeth whitening may be all that is needed. If the goal is to correct the alignment of your teeth, a visit to your orthodontist is a much more conservative option. Although veneers are a conservative alternative compared to crowns, in most cases you still need to give up some tooth structure for the veneer to properly bond.

In summary, more is not always better. Ask your dentist to explore less invasive options before you begin an irreversible procedure. Keep in mind that in some cases, ultimate results can be achieved with a blend of the veneer alternative treatments discussed above. There are instances where good intra-professional collaboration of teeth whitening, orthodontics, and good planning can yield optimal cosmetic results as conservatively as possible.