Braces and veneers can achieve dramatic results in adults who want to improve the appearance of their smile. That said, while the end result might be straighter-looking teeth, they are actually two very different treatments.
If you’ve been weighing your teeth-straightening options, Dr. Vishal Sharma, Dr. Everett Lin and Dr. Julia Koo, certified specialists in orthodontics, are here to help. In this post, our team will be covering everything you need to know about veneers vs. braces for adults.
What are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are permanently bonded to the teeth, covering the front and sides. Once in place, veneers can transform the appearance of your smile. The treatment instantly masks imperfections like spaces between the teeth, mild misalignment, stains, chips, excessive wear and more. Porcelain veneers are considered a cosmetic dental treatment, which means the focus is on aesthetics.
Getting porcelain veneers involves a general dentist taking impressions or digital scans of your teeth. The scans are used by a lab to create custom veneers in the desired shape, size and color. When the veneers are ready, your dentist will remove some enamel from your teeth so they’ll fit properly. They’ll then cement the veneers in place to give you a beautiful, uniform smile.
Aftercare and Results
Veneers don’t involve any special care and results are immediate. You’ll simply need to practice good oral hygiene to ensure the restorations last.
What are Braces?
Braces are a type of orthodontic treatment focused on straightening the teeth and aligning the bite (the way the upper and lower teeth fit together). Brackets are bonded to the teeth and archwires are threaded through them. The archwires act as a track to guide the teeth into place.
Traditional metal braces are a great option for all ages, but they are visible. At Aura Orthodontics in Langley and Surrey, we also offer clear braces for adults. They work in the same way as metal braces but the ceramic brackets blend in with the teeth, making them less noticeable.
The more popular option for adult orthodontics, however, is Invisalign®. Invisalign is a system of custom clear aligners created based on your Langley orthodontist’s digital treatment plan. The aligners are removable, convenient and discreet.
Though braces and Invisalign differ, the underlying mechanism is the same. They both exert gentle, steady force that stimulates the process of bone remodeling. The jawbone and tissues break down, allowing the teeth to move where we want them. When the teeth are in place, new bone forms and the ligaments tighten back up to secure them in position.
Getting Braces or Invisalign
Getting braces or Invisalign doesn’t hurt. Dr. Sharma, Dr. Lin or Dr. Koo will take digital scans of your teeth and gums to create a 3D model of your mouth. They’ll plan your treatment on the digital model, moving each individual tooth into place.
Your braces will then be bonded to your teeth. Or a series of clear aligners will be crafted just for you, which you’ll wear for about 22 hours per day, changing to a new set once every week or two.
Results and Aftercare
Depending on your individual case, comprehensive treatment with braces or Invisalign averages about 18 months. For minor correction or re-treatment after forgetting to wear your retainer, we can often do limited treatment with Invisalign, which will allow you to finish sooner.
As for aftercare with braces, you’ll need to avoid really hard, chewy, and sticky foods. You’ll brush your teeth, paying close attention to the areas around your brackets, after every meal and snack, and floss using a floss threader or orthodontic flosser once daily.
Oral hygiene with Invisalign is easier because there are no brackets and wires. You’ll brush your teeth after meals and snacks, floss once daily as you usually do, and clean your aligners regularly.
What are the Key Differences of Veneers vs. Braces?
As we mentioned above, veneers are a cosmetic treatment. Getting veneers will improve the appearance of your smile by hiding imperfections like discoloration, mildly crooked teeth or small gaps. While there might be a little boost in function, such as making it easier to bite into food by closing spaces, enhancements are mainly aesthetic.
Braces and Invisalign are structural. They address your dental and facial anatomy by shifting teeth and jaws into their proper places. This means adult orthodontics can not only correct spacing and misalignment, it can also correct bite issues like an overbite, underbite, open bite and crossbite.
Though braces and Invisalign have cosmetic benefits and will give you a fantastic smile, the focus is on improving your oral health and creating a healthy bite, as well. This will enable you to bite, chew, speak and even breathe properly.
The Pros and Cons of Veneers
The Pros of Veneers:
- Veneers can address multiple smile concerns in a single treatment.
- The results are immediate.
- Veneers require very little maintenance. Simply brush and floss your teeth and your veneers can last for quite a while.
The Cons of Veneers:
- Natural enamel needs to be removed for veneers to be fitted. Once the enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back, so you’ll always need veneers covering the teeth.
- Treatment is usually focused only on the visible front teeth.
- Veneers mask issues but don’t treat the underlying cause or improve the bite.
- Only minor misalignment or small gaps can be fixed with veneers.
- Veneers last for about 10 years before needing to be replaced.
The Pros and Cons of Braces
The Pros of Braces and Invisalign:
- No tooth enamel needs to be removed before braces or Invisalign treatment.
- Braces and Invisalign will straighten all of the teeth in your mouth.
- Orthodontic treatment will correct the underlying, anatomical reason for crooked teeth.
- By straightening the teeth and creating a stable bite, Invisalign and braces improve oral and overall health.
- Treatment will boost function and help with pain, chewing difficulties, speech, uneven wear and other problems associated with tooth and jaw misalignment.
- Results can last a lifetime.
- Treatment can improve facial symmetry.
- Braces and Invisalign are effective at fixing misalignment, ranging from mild to severe.
- Treatment is natural, doesn’t involve prosthetics and works with your own biology. When you finish treatment, your appliance is removed and only your new smile remains.
The Cons of Braces and Invisalign:
- Results aren’t instant and treatment can take from 12-24 months.
- You will need to be more diligent about oral hygiene, especially if you opt for braces.
- There are food restrictions with braces.
- Braces won’t fix problems like stained teeth.
The Cost of Veneers vs. Invisalign and Braces
The fees for veneers will depend on how many teeth you’re treating, the dentist you see, the lab they use and other considerations. There are also different factors that determine the cost of orthodontic treatment, including the severity of your case and length of your treatment.
In general, if you were to get restorations on all of the upper teeth that are visible when you smile, the cost of veneers vs. Invisalign or braces would be similar. But, keep in mind, orthodontics will address all of your teeth and correct the underlying cause of your misalignment in order to give you lasting results.
Because veneers are a cosmetic dental treatment, they’re not usually covered by insurance. Though it depends on your specific plan, dental insurance does cover braces and Invisalign in many cases.
At Aura Orthodontics, we strive to make Invisalign and braces for adults work for every budget. We accept insurance plans from any insurance provider and offer in-office, interest-free financing.
Should I Get Veneers or Orthodontic Treatment?
When trying to decide how to straighten your teeth, it boils down to the severity of your misalignment and your goals for treatment. If you just want a quick cosmetic enhancement and only have a small gap or mildly crooked teeth, porcelain veneers could work for you.
Braces or Invisalign will be the better choice if you have larger gaps or moderate to severe crooked teeth, particularly if misalignment isn’t limited to just your top front teeth. Orthodontic treatment is also the way to go if you have a bad bite, because, if not treated, structural problems can cause:
- Worn teeth
- An increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease
- Difficulty chewing and biting
- Tooth and jaw pain
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
- Airway issues
- Speech problems, such as a lisp
- Jawbone loss
The Bottom Line
- While veneers, braces and Invisalign can all transform your smile, veneers are a cosmetic treatment and braces and Invisalign are structural.
- Porcelain veneers can instantly mask mildly crooked teeth or small gaps. Orthodontic treatment takes time but it can fix mild to severe issues and will address the underlying cause of misalignment to improve function, oral health and appearance.
Learn More About Adult Orthodontics in Langley or Surrey, BC
Now that you know the ins and outs of veneers vs. braces and Invisalign, if you’re not sure which one is better suited for your smile, schedule a consultation at Aura Orthodontics.
At this initial visit, a team member will take diagnostic records and one of our expert Langley or Surrey orthodontists will perform an exam. Once the doctor has an accurate diagnosis, they’ll walk you through their findings and present you with your personalized treatment recommendations.
Our team is well versed in adult orthodontics. If you do decide on braces or Invisalign, we’ll make your smile journey efficient and enjoyable!