Invisalign or Veneers- Which is Best?

BUFFALO GROVE, ILLINOIS-- People can be impatient when it comes to seeking cosmetic improvements. Sometimes adult patients ask whether getting porcelain veneers is a better option than undergoing orthodontic treatment because it generates quicker results.

After all, a patient can get porcelain veneers in just two dental appointments, while orthodontic treatment can take 18 months or more. An important point to remember is that faster is not always better, says Dr. Yan Razdolsky, a Buffalo Grove orthodontist.

“We’ve had patients in their early twenties say they would rather just get veneers instead of going through orthodontic treatment,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “But why would you want to remove healthy tooth structure to get veneers, if you could undergo orthodontic treatment and have the smile you want in a year or so?”

Veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that can be bonded to the fronts of teeth to correct a variety of imperfections, including minor crowding, discoloration, chips and cracks in teeth. The process requires a dentist to reduce the size of your teeth by removing part of the healthy tooth structure to make room for the veneers. Doing so keeps the veneers from creating a bulky look to your teeth. Once this is done, your veneers are created in a dental lab and a second appointment is necessary to bond them to your teeth.

When determining whether to get veneers or undergo orthodontic treatment, patients interested in fast cosmetic improvements tend to narrow down their options to veneers or Invisalign. The makers of Invisalign have done a remarkable job of marketing their product, so many patients ask for this treatment- which involves a series of clear aligners that gradually shift teeth into alignment- by name.

Because of the growing number of cosmetic and general dentists who offer Invisalign treatment, there are dentistry practices today that can offer either option in-house.

The practice of San Francisco cosmetic dentist Dr. Greg Larson is one that offers veneers and Invisalign.

“Our desire always is to provide the most effective, least invasive treatment possible,” Dr. Larson says. “We present our patients with their options and let them choose the treatment that best meets their needs. At the end of the day, it’s their decision to make.”

Dr. Razdolsky, who also offers Invisalign treatment, recommends patients choose treatment that doesn’t interfere with healthy tooth structure, as long as alignment is the only issue that must be addressed.

“If we’re talking about an adult patient who also has severely stained, chipped or cracked teeth, it will take more than orthodontic treatment to perfect that smile,” he says. “In those cases, veneers might actually be a better option, or even a combination of orthodontic treatment and veneers.”

But in the overwhelming majority of restorative cases, braces are still the king. Although this may sound surprising coming from an orthodontist who offers the treatment, Dr. Razdolsky says it is worth mentioning that Invisalign isn’t always an ideal option for aligning teeth. In fact, a study has found that the mean accuracy of tooth movement via Invisalign was 41 percent.

“The best advice we can offer if you’re truly on the fence about whether to get veneers or undergo treatment is to consult with an orthodontist and a cosmetic dentist,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “This way, you can gather all of the facts and make an informed decision based on the information these specialists have shared with you.”