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Braces

BRACES OR VENEERS?

01/22/2005

Question:

I am a 33 going on 34 young lady considering orthodontia treatment to fix the gaps on my front teeth. One orthodontist recommended braces to close the gaps and perhaps put two veneer teeth (one on each side) to make the smile more natural, since I never grew two teeth in the front, that`s why I have the gap. Another Orthodontist recommended not putting on braces but instead getting (6) veneers on the top front to make my smile perfect. Confused! Would there be clinical reason to choose one or the other, or is it just a preference by the patient? Please help me in deciding what treatment plan to choose. Thanks!!!

Answer:

This is an excellent question. Let me start by defining the term veneer. It applies to adding porcelain or other dental materials to existing teeth. Since you are missing two permanent teeth, the dentist cannot veneer in the area of the lateral incisors which is what is missing. Therefore, if you follow the recommendation of the second orthodontist you would have to have four teeth veneered or crowned to support the missing areas.

The other option, which the first orthodontist suggested, was to close the space between the central incisors, which would place these teeth in their correct position. It would then be possible to replace the two missing teeth with two implants. The success ratio of implants today is quite good. Having the orthodontist and the restorative dentist working together would be my favored approach. Unfortunately, there are cost factors which you should investigate and also determine who would do the implants. Bear in mind that the six veneer approach, while perhaps less expensive in the beginning, may have to be redone at times due to the added load that the supporting teeth would have to carry.

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University