I’m ready to improve my smile and I’ve done a lot of research on cosmetic dentistry options. However, I’m still confused as to what is the best order for me to have the work done. I have some crooked teeth, so I likely will need to get Invisalign done. Side note – I don’t want metal braces because I only have a couple crooked teeth.
I also want to whiten my teeth so my smile is brighter and I want porcelain veneers too. Is it OK to get the porcelain veneers placed on teeth that are crooked first? Or do I need to straighten them first before doing anything else. My smile isn’t that bad, I am just at a point in my life where I don’t want to be embarrassed about my smile.
-Pam in Idaho
For cosmetic dentistry there is a certain ‘order of operations’ if you will. For example, most excellent cosmetic dentists agree recommend that tooth whitening be done before getting any porcelain veneers permanently placed. The rationale for this is due to the fact that once porcelain veneers are in place, the color cannot be changed. Whitening agents only work on natural tooth structure. Therefore, porcelain veneers that are whitened will remain unchanged.
For example, if you are getting eight porcelain veneers placed on your top teeth you will want to whiten the surrounding teeth and also the ones on the bottom to your desired shade. Then, the porcelain veneers can be fabricated and the color will be made to match and blend in seamlessly to the surrounding teeth. If you got the porcelain veneers done first, it would be much more difficult to match the shading of the teeth whitening to the veneers. Now, if your teeth are generally pretty white and you opt for porcelain veneers to only be placed on the teeth that show when you smile, you may be able to get the veneers done just a little bit whiter than your surrounding teeth. In this scenario, you may be able to eliminate the teeth bleaching step altogether.
The best course of action regarding your smile makeover is to have a consultation with an excellent cosmetic dentist in your area. Not just any general dentist will be able to do this kind of aesthetic work beautifully. So, be sure to research their credentials and ask to see examples and photographs of cases that are similar to yours. This will give you a good understanding of what your smile will look like.
As far as your question regarding Invisalign and when you should have that work done to correct your crooked teeth, there are a few things to consider. It is difficult to give you specific recommendations without having seen your case in person. Here’s why. If your teeth aren’t that crooked and it’s only one or two of them that don’t align right, porcelain veneers could give you the appearance of straight, white teeth. This would also enable you to avoid having to get the full Invisalign treatment. However, without having seen your case in person, it is unclear how crooked your teeth are and to what extent they need to be straightened. If your teeth are misaligned to the point where they won’t look straight from porcelain veneers alone, then you will want to have them straightened first before you get the veneers. Hopefully this makes sense.
The best thing you can do right now is to find a reputable cosmetic dentist in your area to work with you on what is best for you. And don’t be afraid to get a second opinion to confirm or offer an alternative so you can make the best decision. You have no obligation to move forward with the first dentist you meet with. And often times different dentists have different perspective and ideas for treatment. The single most important factor when selecting a cosmetic dentist is trust.
Thank you for your questions. Good luck as your weigh your options.
This post is sponsored by York PA dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD.