Veneers vs. Invisalign: Which is Best?

When considering a smile makeover, there are all kinds of cosmetic dental treatments to choose from. While the exact cosmetic treatment you choose will depend upon what you want to fix about your smile, there are a few popular options. Two of these options are Invisalign and veneers. Oftentimes, people narrow it down to these two choices and then wonder which one to choose. Ultimately, only your individual needs can help to determine whether Invisalign or veneers will work best for you. 

For starters, we must consider the fact that both Invisalign and veneers can correct problems such as: 

  • Crooked teeth
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Gaps between the teeth

Therefore, the results of both treatments are visually similar to one another when it comes to addressing these cosmetic concerns. However, that is where the similarities end. Both Invisalign and veneers accomplish these results in very different ways with different patient experiences. Ultimately, it is their differences that must be considered to determine which treatment is the best. With that being said, here are some key differences between the two: 

Invisalign treatment is a type of orthodontic treatment that changes the position of both the teeth and bite through the use of clear aligners. Throughout the treatment, which can last around a year and a half, progressive aligners are worn for 22 hours a day and switched out every 1-2 weeks. Each aligner is designed to achieve a specific movement that gradually moves the teeth and bite into the proper position. The final result is a straight smile with no gaps or overlapping teeth, as well as an aligned bite. In most cases, results from Invisalign are permanent as long as one continues to wear their retainer at night. 

Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are thin porcelain shells that are adhered to the front side of the teeth to improve their appearance. Not only can veneers eliminate gaps, overlapping teeth, and crooked teeth, but they can also correct the shape, size, and color of the teeth they are applied to. Furthermore, veneers can be placed in as little as two dental appointments. Once in place, they can last around 10-15 years before needing to be replaced. 

As you can see, both treatments offer different methods to achieve similar goals. Invisalign treatment takes longer, but actually changes the position of the teeth, while veneers are quicker, but only conceal imperfections. However, veneers can correct multiple imperfections at one time, while Invisalign is primarily concerned with alignment and spacing problems. Veneers require enamel modification that makes it a permanent treatment, while Invisalign is also a permanent treatment that does not modify the enamel. 

Overall, these differences are the things that will need to be considered to determine whether Invisalign or veneers is the best treatment for your smile. Since they both offer similar results, you will need to ask yourself which method you prefer to obtain those results. Additionally, you should also consider the long-term effects of the option you have chosen. In some cases, you may know right away which option you prefer, while in other cases it may be helpful to schedule a consultation with your local cosmetic dentist to further discuss your options.

Gerard J. Lemongello DMD

Dr. Gerard J. Lemongello Jr. graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and has been in private practice since 1987. His focus is on cosmetic and comprehensive restorative rehabilitative dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry, and is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.    

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