At my dental practice here in San Antonio, I have many discussions every week with patients about
cosmetic dentistry. When a patient is considering veneers as a treatment option, I almost always
say, “Let’s whiten your teeth first,”. Every case is different, of course, but professional teeth
whitening before veneers has several benefits.
No Veneers! One major benefit to professional teeth whitening is that the results may be so great,
you may no longer wish to get veneers! Patients that are unhappy with their smile often times
have difficulty diagnosing what it is they don’t like about their smile. Sometimes patients think
they “need veneers” when in fact their are much more conservative treatment methods that can get a
patient the smile they want. There are so many cases where minor orthodontic movements of the
teeth and professional teeth whitening are all a patient needs to go from unsatisfied with their
smile to very satisfied.
Veneers are great when the shape and size of the teeth is not desirable or the spaces between
teeth are signficant. If crowding and color are the only problems, though, veneers can
potentially be the wrong treatment choice. It’s important to diagnose what the real issues are
before a plan is made!
Fewer veneers! Let’s suppose you don’t like the shape of your top front teeth or the color of any
of your teeth. There’s two ways to approach your case. One option would be to put a veneer on
every tooth that can be seen when you smile. Another option would be to professionally whiten
your teeth until you are satisified with the color, and then only place veneers on the teeth that
are mishapen or worn down in the front. When the latter approach is taken, a patient can get the
smile they want with fewer veneers. Without whitening, the dentist has to place so many more
veneers to get the desired shade, and the case becomes unnecessarily costly.
Easier for the Lab to Make Beautiful Veneers. If I give my lab technician a really yellow tooth to
work with and ask him to make a veneer that’s very white, it will be challenging. If I give him a
white tooth to work with and tell him to make it just a little whiter, it makes his job much
easier. Teeth that have been professionally whitened are easier to veneer because we’re not
trying to do too much with the treatment. Teeth that have been whitened also can be prepared more
conservatively. A white tooth requires minimal preparation because the veneer doesn’t have to
mask anything. A yellow tooth requires much more agressive preparation to give the lab technician
room to mask the yellow color. Professional whitening before veneers makes the case easier and
more predictable for everyone involved.
When I say professional whitening, I’m talking about a high quality, sophisticated whitening
system, not something you purchase at the drug store. Those drug store products have given teeth
whitening a bad name, in my opinion, because they don’t produce great results, and patients end up
thinking effective teeth whitening isn’t possible. Guess what: it is! Lately I’ve been using the
Kor Teeth Whitening system in my practice and we’ve had impressive results. I’ll admit, it takes
some at home commitment from the patient, but the patients that take it seriously and follow the
protocol are quite satisfied.
Professional teeth whitening should be considered before veneers in almost all cases. It makes the
final result better. In some cases, like I mentioned, it is the final result, and patients are
quite satisfied after thinking for a long time that veneers were the only option to get the smile
they wanted. Every smile is different, and every case is different. If you’re not sure what your
options are, schedule an appointment with me at my office in San Antonio and I’d be happy to help
you understand what options are available to you.