With more options than ever for straightening teeth, many people can't help wondering which method is best. Two increasingly popular methods to straighten moderately to lightly crooked teeth are porcelain veneers and Invisalign treatments. While both are alternatives to braces (still ideal for moderate to very crooked teeth), people may have a difficult time deciding which to choose. By learning the ins and outs of each and talking to your dentist, of course, you can understand which one might best enhance your smile.

Porcelain Veneers

"Porcelain veneers are sometimes described as 'Instant Orthodontics' because they can give you your results quicker than any orthodontic option." (1) Unlike traditional braces or Invisalign treatments that may take a year or more to achieve results, porcelain veneers show improvement within a month. For this reason, many dentists refer to porcelain veneers as "instant orthodontics."

Many people like the idea of porcelain veneers because there is no need to wear a retainer. Since the roots of the teeth aren't being moved, the retainer is unnecessary. Dentists sometimes recommend porcelain veneers because they can address more than one dental problem at once. Porcelain veneers are ideal for dealing with rotated teeth as well as a peg lateral tooth. If your teeth are discolored as well as crooked, porcelain veneers can effectively address both problems at once.

Invisalign Treatments

Invisalign treatments move the teeth using clear plastic aligners. The aligners move the teeth a little bit at a time similar to metal wires--but without the metal or the wire! People generally wear an aligner for about two weeks. During this time, the teeth move a tiny bit toward where they need to be. The patient then exchanges the aligner for a new one which moves the teeth a tiny bit more. The process continues until the teeth are moved to the desired location.

Many dentists recommend Invisaligns because they have the ability to preserve the natural tooth material. People like them because they "are transparent." (2) Since the aligners are removable, people have no trouble eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Moreover, with no metal to poke or treatment abrasions (common with braces), they are utterly comfortable to wear.

Which Is Right for You?

Experts suggest that Invisaligns are generally the best option for people that also have worn, cracked, or chipped teeth--especially the front teeth. On the other hand, some patients may not have to make a choice between them at all as a dental professional may recommend both types of treatments for your particular case.

The best route to take is to consult with your dentist who can determine which method is ideal for your teeth or if multiple types of treatments may be needed to achieve the desired effect. If you want to understand how these treatments can benefit you, be sure to discuss them in detail with your dentist.


1. Durham, "Porcelain Veneers vs. Invisalign: Which Is the Best Way to Straighten Teeth?" http://www.hiltonheadcosmeticdentistry.com/blog/2014/02/porcelain-veneers-vs-invisalign-best-to-straighten-teeth.html

2. Bryan G. Foote, "Invisalign," http://www.drfootedental.com/procedures/invisalign