Teeth Whitening vs. Porcelain Veneers: Which is Best?

Teeth Whitening vs. Porcelain Veneers

Currently, we live in a society where image is everything. Due to this heavy emphasis placed on image and physical appearance, cosmetic dental procedures have become increasingly popular. Out of all the various cosmetic procedures available, the majority of people opt for either teeth whitening or porcelain veneers. Both of these treatments provide a minimally invasive option for effectively correcting cosmetic concerns. However, each treatment should be individually considered in terms of its method, benefits, and limitations in order to determine the best treatment choice for you. 

Teeth Whitening

before and after teeth whitening

Professional teeth whitening procedures are either performed by a dentist in their office or through the use of take home whitening trays. Unlike over the counter whitening treatments, professional teeth whitening treatments use a stronger concentration of whiteners, which leads to faster, more dramatic results. During a teeth whitening treatment, this whitener is applied to the surface of the teeth and left in place for a designated amount of time. As the whitener is absorbed by the tooth, it removes stains from both the enamel and dentin layers. 

When it comes to teeth whitening, some of the main benefits are it only takes a single dental appointment (in most cases), can lighten teeth by about 5-10 shades, and is affordable. However, there are also a few downsides to teeth whitening including: the results only last about a year depending on your diet and hygiene habits, it only improves the color of your teeth, and it may not be effective against certain types of stains. 

Porcelain Veneers

porcelain veneers preview

Veneers are thin, tooth-shaped shells that are made from porcelain and cemented to the front side of visible teeth. Since they are customized for the individual and are fabricated in a dental laboratory, they usually require a minimum of two dental appointments to complete. During the first appointment, a thin layer of enamel will need to be removed to ensure the proper fit of the veneer. A dental impression or oral scan will then be taken and sent to the dental laboratory. Until the permanent restoration can be placed, you will be fit with temporary veneers to protect your teeth. 

When it comes to porcelain veneers, some of the main benefits are that they last about 10-15 years, are resistant to future stains, and can correct a number of cosmetic concerns. In fact, porcelain veneers can improve the color, shape, size, alignment, and spacing of your teeth. They can also be used to repair minor chips or cracks. However, there are also a few downsides to porcelain veneers including: requiring multiple dental appointments, permanently altering the natural tooth structure, and initial expense. 

Which is Best?

Now that you know a little more about each individual treatment, you may be wondering how to determine which is best for you. For starters, you will want to consider your cosmetic goals. If your primary concern is the color of your teeth, then teeth whitening may be ideal. However, if you want to correct multiple concerns, then porcelain veneers may be the right choice. It is also important to consider your budget. While teeth whitening does have a lower cost, the results are short-lived, meaning that you may end up spending more to maintain your results. Conversely, porcelain veneers have a higher upfront cost, but you may end up saving money over time since they are long-lasting. Additionally, teeth whitening may not be ideal if you have stubborn stains on your teeth, while veneers may not be ideal if you don’t want to permanently alter your natural tooth structure. Overall, the best way to determine which treatment is best for you is to schedule a consultation with your local cosmetic dentist in order to discuss your options in more detail. An experienced cosmetic dentist can provide you with a professional opinion that is catered to your individual smile. 

Dr. Sam Sadati wearing black suite portrait

Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry.  He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.

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