Teeth Whitening vs. Porcelain Veneers: Which is Best?

Teeth Whitening vs. Porcelain Veneers

When it comes to cosmetic dental treatments, there are a variety of options. Two of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures, however, are teeth whitening and veneers. While both treatments are effective at improving the look of your smile, they accomplish this in different ways. This ultimately means that there are certain cases where one treatment may offer more benefits than the other. In order to determine whether teeth whitening or veneers is the best cosmetic dental treatment for you, let’s take a closer look at each: 


Teeth Whitening

whitening before and after

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure because it is easy, fast, and affordable. Although there are a variety of over the counter whitening treatments, only teeth whitening performed by a dental professional uses a high enough concentration of whitener to obtain dramatic results. Once the whitener has been applied to the surface of the teeth, it remains in place for about 30-60 minutes. During this time, the whitener is absorbed into the enamel and dentin layers, where it begins to dissolve stains. Even after the whitener is rinsed, it will actively continue to remove stains for up to 24 hours after it was applied. The results of professional teeth whitening often yield teeth that are 5-10 shades whiter than before. These results generally last about a year, however the exact lifespan of these results will depend upon your dietary and oral hygiene habits. 




Porcelain Veneers

veneer preview

A close second to teeth whitening, are the highly-versatile porcelain veneers. These are thin shells that are custom made from porcelain in a dental laboratory and then adhered to the front side of visible teeth. Two dental appointments are needed to apply veneers since the teeth will need to be properly prepared before sending the necessary information to a dental laboratory. During the first appointment, the teeth will be prepared by removing a thin layer of enamel to ensure a proper fit of the veneers. Next, an oral scan or dental impression will be taken and sent to the dental laboratory. Finally, the first appointment will conclude with having temporary veneers placed to protect the teeth. At the second appointment, the permanent veneers will be checked for fit and then cemented in place. Once placed, porcelain veneers last about 10-15 years. 



Which is Best?

After reading through the descriptions of each treatment, you may still find yourself unsure of what treatment to choose. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can make this decision easier on yourself. For starters, you will want to consider a few key factors like your cosmetic goals, budget, and how long you are willing to devote to treatment. For those who want to improve the look of their smile quickly and affordably, then teeth whitening may be ideal. However, for those who want a longer-lasting solution, even if it takes longer to place, then veneers may be the better option. 



When deciding on a treatment it is also important to think about the main differences between these two treatments. For starters, teeth whitening is highly effective, however it only improves the color of your teeth and cannot remove all types of stains. Veneers on the other hand can correct the size, shape, color, alignment, and spacing of your teeth, however at the cost of making permanent enamel modifications. Veneers are also more expensive than teeth whitening procedures, however their results last longer and may save you money in the long run. Making an appointment with your local dentist is one of the best ways to explore your options in detail, as well as how they can affect you individually. 

Dr. Deborah TabbPatients at Bethesda Family Dentistry benefit from the knowledge and experience that only comes from a diverse team. From general dentistry to endodontic, periodontics, and cosmetic dental services, this Bethesda, MD clinic is ready to be the only source you need for all your oral health needs.
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