Published: Sep 20, 2013 | By: Richard Caven
Dr. Caven hears from a lot of patients who are confused by the need for braces over veneers and vice versa. While both can achieve seemingly similar outcomes appearance-wise, the two treatments are actually quite different.
Probably one of the best ways to distinguish between the two is to start by thinking of them in very general terms of structural versus cosmetic. Braces are typically required to address and repair anatomically involved conditions like overbites, under bites, open bites, cross bites, overt gaps, and excessive crowding, while veneers are usually recommended for issues that are more cosmetic in nature, like fixing teeth that are chipped, stained, discolored, or only moderately gapped.
Crooked or misaligned teeth, also known as malocclusion, affects 74% of American adults. Left untreated, this condition can create unnatural stress and pressure on the teeth and jaws which can, in turn, lead to premature wear, chips, cracks, and periodontal disease. Over time, this tension can also express itself as jaw, ear, and neck pain as well as receding gums, loose teeth, and ultimately tooth loss. Crooked teeth can affect your periodontal health, because it's difficult to remove plaque and bacteria from tight contacts. In time, this bacteria will multiply and can make its way into your bloodstream through the compromised gum line, eventually affecting your overall health.
If you think you might have some of these symptoms, Dr. Caven has completed the extra training that is required to properly diagnose and treat this kind of orthodontic dysfunction. Thanks to modern advances, effective corrections can be achieved through alternatives like Invisalign, a less invasive and much more tolerable alternative to braces that produces equally profound results. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is simply a series of custom, 3D-fabricated aligners made of clear BPA-free plastic. Usually worn in two-week increments over a nine to fifteen month period to match the progression of the desired shift, they can be removed while eating, drinking, and flossing and otherwise go unnoticed. During this time, you'll probably need to see Dr. Caven only every six weeks or so to monitor your progress. In all, treatment may consist of between 18 to 30 aligners to achieve the desired outcome, but all of these factors will revolve around your specific case. Dr. Caven will let you know exactly what you should expect before treatment begins.
And Dr. Caven has also introduced an even faster way to having a straight smile with Six Month Smiles. The average case time for this technique is only 6 months. It involves traditional brackets and wires, but the brackets are clear and the wires are white. This makes wearing braces go virtually unnoticed.
Alternatively, if your teeth are cracked, discolored, or only slightly spaced, Dr. Caven can also recommend veneers. Thin porcelain and plastic veneers are placed over existing teeth, which may require buffing to ensure a natural look, effectively becoming a permanent replacement. They are preferred over bonding, which are less resistant to stains and are not as durable. An impression is taken and the color is shaded against your existing tooth to ensure a proper match. Just as in natural teeth, the shading can vary and appear imprecise upon close inspection. This is especially effective in teeth that have been stained from cigarettes or tetracycline or in fillings that have become discolored over time and can be used to fill small gaps between teeth that are structurally sound. The procedure requires minimal anesthesia and can generally be completed in three appointments from diagnosis to bonding.
Some cases may require both straightening and veneers, since misaligned teeth can often produce chips and fractures that need to be repaired in tandem with realigning the bite. If you're still unsure about which approach is right for you, let Dr. Caven create a recommended treatment plan around your specific needs and help you regain a healthy, attractive smile.
"This was the first time that I received simple and clear explanations of what was going on and they let me make decisions on my options. State of the art equipment, customer oriented environment, and EXCELLENT value on their services."- Sewii L., SEPT 2014
"Who would have thought that getting a crown could be so easy?? Dr. Caven's in-office machine created my crown while I waited, which meant no need for a second appointment--something that I greatly appreciated! The office staff is kind, calm, efficient and accommodating--just like Dr. Caven himself."- Chace B., JUL 2014
"Dr. Caven is definitely not your average dentist; not by a LONG shot."- Anon, APR 2014