When it comes to improving the look of your smile, there are a variety of cosmetic dental treatments available. Two common treatments that people often look into are veneers and Invisalign. Both these treatments can improve the look of your smile by correcting spacing and alignment issues, however they do so in different ways. Here is a brief overview of the differences between veneers and Invisalign.
Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are adhered to the front side of visible teeth. They are extremely versatile and can correct multiple cosmetic concerns all at once.
How are veneers applied?
Veneers are applied over the course of two dental appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will remove a thin layer of your tooth enamel. Then, a dental impression or oral scan will be taken of your mouth and sent to a dental laboratory. Your dentist will then place temporary veneers on your teeth until the permanent veneers have been fabricated. In about a week or two, you will return to your dentist’s office for your second appointment. During the second appointment, the temporary veneers will be removed and your permanent veneers will be checked for fit. Finally, the permanent veneers will be adhered to your teeth.
How long do veneers last?
Since veneers are made from porcelain, they are highly durable and stain resistant. On average, porcelain veneers can last around 10-15 years if properly cared for. However, once they wear out they will need to be replaced to protect the underlying enamel.
Main Differences from Invisalign
- Works by covering cosmetic imperfections
- Can be used on a single tooth
- Restores teeth that are chipped, cracked, or discolored
- Requires enamel modification and is permanent
- Will eventually need to be replaced
- Can be completed in as little as two dental appointments
- Cannot fix severely crooked teeth
Invisalign is an orthodontic appliance that uses a clear aligner system to gradually reposition the teeth and bite. It can straighten crooked teeth, correct spacing issues, and fix malocclusion such as overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite.
How Does Invisalign Treatment Work?
Invisalign treatment begins with an oral scan of your mouth. This information is then used in coordination with Invisalign’s digital program that shows your projected results and an outline of the steps necessary to get there. This information will be used to create your aligners for the duration of your treatment. These aligners must be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day and should only be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. Each aligner will be worn an average of 1-2 weeks before progressing to the next aligner. On average, you can expect to visit your dentist’s office every 8 weeks to have your teeth evaluated and receive your next set of aligners. The length of your treatment will depend upon the severity of your case and how you respond to treatment, but the average is about a year and a half to two years.
How long does Invisalign last?
After undergoing Invisalign treatment, you will be given a retainer to wear. As long as you follow your dentist’s instructions on wearing your retainer, your results can last a lifetime. However, there are some cases that may require a second round of treatment at some point.
Main Differences from Veneers
- Works by aligning your teeth and bite
- Affects all your teeth
- Results are generally permanent with retainer use
- Does not require replacement
- Treatment takes about 1-2 years
- Can correct crooked teeth and bite issues
- Cannot correct chips or discolorations
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.