Updated on February 9, 2024
4 min read

Veneers vs Braces

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Key Takeaways

  • Dental veneers and braces are two treatment options that can improve your smile. 
  • Braces and Invisalign clear aligners are non-invasive orthodontic treatments. They shift your teeth over time to correct structural problems and misalignments. 
  • Dental veneers fix cosmetic dentistry issues like discolored, crooked, and broken teeth. 
  • Veneers are a lifetime commitment because they involve filing down tooth enamel.
  • The right treatment option for you depends on the condition of your teeth, any dental concerns, and the desired outcome.

Veneers vs. Braces: What’s the Difference?

Dental veneers and braces are different treatments that share a common goal of helping to improve your natural smile. Each approach offers unique advantages and disadvantages, so you may wonder which treatment option is best for you.

The answer depends on your specific dental issues and cosmetic concerns. Generally, the main difference between veneers and braces is:

  • Veneers Primarily a cosmetic treatment that fixes discolored teeth, small gaps between teeth, and broken, chipped, or worn-down teeth
  • Braces An orthodontic treatment that corrects structural problems like severely misaligned teeth and malocclusion

Cost and treatment times also vary between braces and veneers. The best way to determine which dental treatment is right for you is to consult a cosmetic dentist or orthodontist.

Veneers vs. Braces vs. Invisalign

Invisalign® is a newer form of orthodontic treatment. Braces and Invisalign shift teeth, while veneers cover cosmetic flaws. Although Invisalign can correct misalignments, people with severe malocclusions may need traditional braces.

Which Treatment is Right for You?

The best treatment for you depends on the result you hope to achieve and the condition of your teeth. Sometimes, a combination of braces and veneers or clear aligners and veneers is the most effective approach. 

In these cases, your dentist may recommend wearing braces first. Braces attach better to your natural tooth enamel than to veneers. However, some dentists may use braces and veneers together.

Veneers vs. Braces Cost

The cost of veneers and braces varies based on the type, appliance, or materials used and the complexity of treatment.  General costs for each treatment include:3, 7

  • Veneers Between $400 to $2,000
  • Braces Between $2,750 to $7,000
  • Invisalign Between $3,000 to $7,000

Additionally, the price of veneers varies between materials, with porcelain veneers being more expensive than composite resin veneers. Many dental insurance plans don’t cover veneers or braces for adults over 18.

If your insurance deems it a cosmetic procedure, they’re unlikely to cover it. However, if braces are necessary to treat a bite misalignment, dental insurance may help pay for them.

When are Veneers Necessary?

Veneers are one of the fastest ways to transform your smile. Dental veneers are slim, porcelain or composite shells that a dental professional permanently bonds to the front of your teeth. They’re made of tooth-colored material with light-reflecting properties that mimic natural enamel.

People get dental veneers to improve cosmetic concerns like:

  • Crooked or discolored teeth
  • Irregularly shaped teeth
  • Tiny teeth
  • Small gaps between teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth

Before you get veneers, your dentist removes a layer of enamel from each tooth. This is necessary for the veneer to fit correctly. The enamel won’t grow back, and removing it means you must wear veneers for the rest of your life.

Pros and Cons of Veneers

Veneers can change your teeth’ position, color, and shape. The pros and cons of veneers include:

ProsCons
Fast treatment timeIrreversable
No special aftercare neededDoesn’t move teeth
Improved smileRequires a replacement every few years

Additionally, veneers aren’t right for everyone. They may not suit people who clench or grind their teeth (bruxism). Your dentist may recommend treatment before getting veneers if you have oral health problems like gum disease.

When are Braces Necessary?

Your dentist may recommend braces if the position of your teeth needs to be corrected. This non-invasive orthodontic treatment straightens teeth over time.

Braces also correct alignment issues with the jaw or bite (malocclusions), including:

Pros and Cons of Braces

Dental braces are often considered one of the more traditional orthodontic treatments. They can help treat malocclusions, misaligned bites, overcrowding, etc.

Although they have several benefits, they also have a few cons. These include:

ProsCons
Non-invasiveLong treatment time which can take 1 to 3 years
It can effectively treat complex casesIt can relieve symptoms of pain, tooth decay, etc
Can relieve symptoms of pain, tooth decay, etc

What are Braces?

Dental braces are orthodontic appliances that semi-permanently attach to your teeth. Depending on your needs, an orthodontist might combine braces with other tools and orthodontic appliances, such as rubber bands or headgear.

There are many types of braces, including:

  • Metal braces Consists of metal brackets, stainless steel bands, and archwires to help your teeth move into place
  • Ceramic braces Made of ceramic material that matches the color of your natural teeth, making them less noticeable
  • Lingual braces Attached to the insides of teeth and are unnoticeable when you smile; however, they don’t always correct severe misalignments
  • Clear aligners Clear plastic removable aligners, making them the most discreet option

What Happens If You Don’t Get Braces?

Without treatment, malocclusions can lead to many physical ailments, such as:

Last updated on February 9, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 9, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. How Orthodontics Works: Braces.” American Association of Orthodontists, 2020.
  2. Alothman, Y, and Bamasoud, M.S. “The Success of Dental Veneers According To Preparation Design and Material Type.” Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2018.
  3. Anderson et al. “A Comparative Expected Cost Analysis Study on Dental Services and Products Used in the United States.” Account and Financial Management Journal, 2020.
  4. Maini, A. “Short-term cosmetic orthodontics for general dental practitioners.” British Dental Conference & Exhibition, 2013.
  5. Faus-Matoses et al. “Orthodontics and veneers to restore the anterior guidance. A minimally invasive approach.” Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, 2017.
  6. Sharma et al. “Ceramic Veneers an Alternative to Orthodontic Therapy to Enhance the Esthetics – A Case Report.” International Journal of Multidisciplinary and Current Educational Research, 2022.
  7. Veneers Vs Dentures: Which One is Right for You?” American Dental Association.
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