“I see young women in my clinic who have slightly rotated teeth, or have small gaps between them, who seem to think that veneers are the best solution,” said Keith Burns, a dentist who is founder of the Metrodental dental practice in London. “But people do not realize that veneers are irreversible. People who have them may be condemning themselves to a lifetime of dentistry, because veneers have to be carefully looked after, and often need to be repaired, and probably replaced, in 10 to15 years.”
People often arrive in dentists’ offices with crooked and discolored teeth, Burns said, not to mention the frequent decay – and it’s all too easy for cosmetic dentists to cajole such people with visions of a beautiful set of teeth, and wind up veneering 10 of their front teeth. But for the majority of such people, Burns declared, going to an orthodontist would be a far better choice.
“Orthodontists can achieve amazing results within six to nine months,” the dentist said, “with devices such as invisible braces, without permanently damaging your enamel. Then, if there is still one tooth that is not looking right because it is discolored or the incorrect size, you can veneer that.”
Nonetheless, enamel remains the hardest and longest-lasting tooth protector. Drilling or grinding it away opens the door to eventual decay and tooth extraction.
“I have seen young women who have had teeth cut so far back to fit veneers that multiple root canals were required after cementing,” Burns said. “Sometimes dentists do not explain all the treatment options, so patients should always ask.”