Invisalign vs. Veneers
If you feel self-conscious about your smile, there are ways to fix it. Both Invisalign and veneers can help you correct and improve the appearance of your teeth, but each one does so in a different way. Invisalign vs veneers is a common question asked by our patients. Which is right for you? It all depends on the current state of your teeth and your goals when it comes to your smile.
Learn more about each treatment option — including how they’re alike and how they differ — so you could make the right choice for your smile.
- Invisalign Overview
- Pros of Invisalign
- Cons of Invisalign
- The Ideal Candidate for Invisalign
- Veneers Overview
- Pros of Veneers
- Cons of Veneers
- The Ideal Candidate for Veneers
- Invisalign vs. Veneers: The Big Differences
Over 5 million people have used Invisalign to straighten their teeth and improve their smile’s appearance. An alternative to traditional bracket braces, Invisalign uses clear trays to help rectify the teeth. The treatment can help to correct a range of concerns in the mouth, including:
- An overbite – the upper teeth significantly protrude
- An underbite – the lower arch protrudes beyond the upper arch
- Gaps or spaces between teeth
- Crowded or overlapped teeth
- An open bite — the teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed
The clear trays you wear during Invisalign are custom-made for your mouth and teeth. So, they will apply pressure and force to the teeth in just the right way, whether your teeth need to be rotated, pushed or shifted horizontally. Most patients switch to a new set of aligners on a weekly basis, so their teeth slowly move into the new, more aligned, position.
The length of Invisalign treatment depends in large part on you, the patient. The average length of the treatment is between six and twelve months, but a variety of factors can affect the duration, including how your teeth are positioned at the start of treatment and how well you comply with instructions.
Pros of Invisalign
Invisalign offers several benefits to people who are hoping to straighten their teeth or otherwise improve the appearance of their smile. Those benefits include:
- Treatment Is Nearly Invisible: You might not want people to know you’re getting treatment to correct your teeth. The clear trays used with Invisalign mean no one has to know you’re wearing them unless you decide to reveal that information.
- You Can Remove the Trays: With traditional metal braces, there is no way to take them off until the end of treatment. This can create challenges when it comes to oral hygiene since the food can easily get trapped in your braces. With Invisalign, a patient can remove the trays when eating or when brushing your teeth and flossing, making it easier to maintain your oral hygiene.
- No Food Restrictions: People who wear traditional braces are often given a long list of foods to avoid, as they can get stuck in the braces. That is not the case with Invisalign. There are no restrictions to what you can eat, and when you want to eat.
- Improved Comfort: Metal braces can poke the insides of your cheeks or cause irritation to the gums. Invisalign aligners are made from a smooth plastic material that doesn’t poke or chafe.
- Safe Materials: The material used to make Invisalign trays is BPA-free medical-grade plastic that does not contain other harmful toxins, so you can feel confident about putting the trays in your mouth.
- Faster Than Traditional Braces: The average treatment period for Invisalign is about 12 months, which is half the time required for traditional braces (24 months).
Cons of Invisalign
Although Invisalign has many benefits, it is not without its drawbacks. When you are considering Invisalign, it is essential to understand what the disadvantages of the treatment are or can be, including:
- Getting Used to the Aligners: Although the clear plastic aligners are usually comfortable, there can be a period of adjustment, especially when you first start wearing them. It might take a few days before the aligners feel natural in your mouth. Sometimes, wearing the aligners over the teeth can cause people to develop a slight lisp.
- Wearing the Aligners as Directed: In the end, the success of your Invisalign treatment largely depends on you. You will need to wear the aligners for 22 hours out of every day. Some people forget to wear their aligners for the recommended amount of time and do not see the progress they had anticipated. Not wearing the aligners as directed can interfere with your treatment in a few ways. If you do not wear them enough, your teeth might not fit into the aligners during treatment. Treatment time may need to be extended< when people do not follow the instructions given to them.
- You May Need to Clean Your Teeth More Frequently: Keeping your teeth clean is essential when you’re undergoing Invisalign. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth after each meal, or after eating or drinking anything that’s not water. While having to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste handy can be an added burden, it can also lead to an overall improvement in your oral health and the appearance of your smile.
- You Can Lose the Aligners: Since the aligners are not attached to your teeth, and you’re meant to remove them when eating or drinking, there is the chance that you will misplace them.
- The Cost of Invisalign: The average cost for Invisalign is $5000 nationwide, which is the same as the cost of traditional orthodontic treatment. In New York, the average cost is $6500. It is possible to find prices that are lower than average, though. For example, we offer Invisalign for $5,950. Check out Invisalign Special for more details.
The Ideal Candidate for Invisalign
Invisalign is not the right treatment for everyone. The treatment is best suited for adult patients rather than children. Children who do not have all of their permanent teeth yet are not ideal candidates for the treatment.
People who are suitable candidates for Invisalign should expect to become fully committed to the treatment and able to follow the recommended instructions from the dentist. That includes changing the aligners as advised and seeing a dentist for check-ups every six weeks or so. A patient should understand what to expect during the treatment, including how many in-office visits are required to start Invisalign and for how long they will need to wear the aligners.
Additionally, it’s important to note that Invisalign cannot treat every issue with the teeth. The aligners can help to straighten teeth and close gaps< between the teeth, as well as help correct crowding. The treatment can also adjust certain types of bites, like overbite and underbite. But people with severe cases of malocclusion or with teeth that are severely misaligned might not be candidates.
Veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that adhere to the front of the teeth. The goal of veneers is to improve the appearance of the teeth. They can do so by changing the color of the teeth, covering up cracks or chips or by smoothing the surface of the teeth. Veneers can also help to close spaces or gaps between the teeth and change the size of teeth.
The process of receiving veneers requires a few trips to the dentist’s office. Since the veneers take up space on the teeth, the first step is usually to file down the front of the treated teeth to make room for the veneer. Then, the dentist will take an impression of the teeth using either a traditional mold and putty or 3-D imaging.
A lab uses the impression to create the veneers, which are custom fit for every patient. While a patient waits for the permanent veneers to be created, the dentist will give them a temporary cover to wear.
Pros of Veneers
Porcelain veneers offer several benefits to patients who decide to receive them, including that they:
- Solve Multiple Dental Issues: As a cosmetic treatment, veneers can treat a variety of concerns. For example, they can whiten your teeth, cover up a gap or space or cover up a cracked or chipped tooth.
- Are Long-Lasting: Veneers aren’t necessarily permanent, but with the right care and treatment, you can expect them to last for a long time. The average porcelain veneer can last for up to 15 years.
- Can Protect Eroded Teeth: The enamel that covers your teeth helps to protect it, but enamel can erode for a variety of reasons. A veneer can help to restore eroded teeth and protect others from further erosion.
- Can Help to Improve Your Confidence: Whether by whitening your teeth or correcting a chip, crack or other issue, veneers can improve the appearance of your smile giving you a boost of confidence.
Cons of Veneers
Porcelain veneers might have many benefits, but they are not perfect. A few drawbacks to veneers include that:
- They Are a Cosmetic Treatment Only: Porcelain veneers are meant to improve the appearance of your teeth. They will not correct any underlying issues with the teeth, such as an overbite, an underbite or cavities.
- Their Color Remains the Same: Your teeth naturally change color over time based on your diet and other causes. Porcelain veneers stay the same, though. That can be fine if you have veneers over each one of your teeth. However, if you only have one or a few veneers, the difference in color between them and your natural teeth can become very noticeable.
- They Do Not Last Forever: Although veneers do have a long life with proper care, they are not meant to last for the rest of your life. You will most likely need to pay for replacement veneers at some point.
- They Can Chip or Crack: Porcelain is both a hard and breakable material. There’s a risk that your veneers will chip or crack, especially if you bite your nails, grind your teeth or chew ice or other hard foods.
- They Are Irreversible: Since getting veneers involves filing down the surface of the tooth, once you get them, there is no way to reverse the procedure without replacing the tooth entirely.
The Ideal Candidate for Veneers
The ideal candidate for veneers is a person with healthy or not significantly compromised teeth who wants to improve the appearance of their smile. Veneers are recommended for adults or for people who are completely grown. Because the veneer attaches to the front of the tooth, it is essential that the tooth is full-sized before placement.
Invisalign vs. Veneers: The Big Differences
When deciding between veneers vs. Invisalign, the critical thing to remember is your primary goal. Both treatments can improve the look of your smile, but Invisalign focuses on correcting your bite and the alignment of your teeth. Meanwhile, veneers correct cosmetic issues, such as the color, shape, texture, and size of your teeth.
Let’s take a closer look at five significant differences between veneers and Invisalign.
1. Cost – Invisalign vs. Veneers
At first glance, it can seem that veneers are the winner when it comes to the cost — the average Invisalign treatment costs $5000. Meanwhile, porcelain veneers typically cost between $925 and $2500 per tooth. If you are having only one tooth corrected with a veneer, it can be the less expensive option — at least initially.
However, many people get need more than one veneer, which increases the cost considerably. It’s also worth remembering that you will most likely need to replace your veneers at some point in the future, which can add to the cost.
2. Treatment length – Invisalign vs. Veneers
Another thing to consider when weighing the differences between veneers and Invisalign is how long the treatment takes. Invisalign typically requires the greater time commitment, as you must see the dentist for the initial consultation, then return for a second treatment during which the dentist takes a “before” pictures of your mouth, does initial scans (or takes impressions if they don’t have iTero 3D scanner) and puts together a treatment plan. After that, you will most likely return to see your dentist for regular check-ups.
If you follow the plan and the instructions given to you, the entire treatment process typically takes 12 months.
The process of receiving veneers only requires two visits to the dentist plus the initial consultation. During the first operative visit, the dentist will prepare your teeth, take the impression and fabricate beautiful temporary veneers. When the veneers are created and ready, you will go in for another appointment. During the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary veneers and adhere the permanent ones to the teeth, and check your bite to make sure you are comfortable. You will want to see your dentist on a regular schedule for routine exams and cleanings, and to monitor the condition of the veneers.
3. Current Dental Health
The current state of your oral health can influence whether veneers or Invisalign is the right choice for you. Both treatments require you to be in good health, both in terms of your teeth and gums, since neither treatment will correct issues such as gum disease or cavities. If you do have cavities or another dental health issue, your dentist will most likely recommend treating it before you consider either veneers or Invisalign.
4. Treatment Goal – Invisalign vs. Veneers
Perhaps the most significant difference between veneers and Invisalign is the goal of the treatment. If you want to whiten your teeth or correct a chip or crack, you would choose veneers. If you want to correct an overbite or underbite, Invisalign is the more appropriate choice.
There is some overlap when it comes to the two treatment options. For example, if you have a gap between two teeth, Invisalign can help to close it, or veneers can help to conceal the gap. If you have healthy teeth our recommendation is to proceed with Invisalign vs. Veneers, since the only issue here is tooth alignment. However, if you have old fillings or stained teeth then porcelain veneers might be a better option.
At 209 NYC Dental, we offer both veneer and Invisalign treatment options. A consultation with one of our dentists can help you learn more about each option and determine which one will best meet your needs and budget. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
Author: Dr. Benjamin Ahn