Gaps: Can invisalign braces work with veneers?

Veneers and Invisalign braces could address a gap or spacing problem, but if you wonder can invisalign braces work with veneers, this is for you.

Side view of dental veneer showing existence of gaps

what is invisalign braces?

Invisalign is the commercial name of one type of plastic aligner used to treat minor, albeit simple problems of tooth position. Problems like one tooth inside, outside, high, and low are considered mild in nature. We talked about underbite and open bite previously, these can NOT be treated with aligners because of the nature of these problems is most often combined jaw and teeth problems into one, and aligners could only afford control in one frame of treatment diet; meaning only one setting, while these problems require control over all stages of treatment. More on that in a later episode.

what are veneers?

Frontal view of gaps between front teeth highlighted to show veneers can not close them Dr Adel Zakhary Dental Clinic
Its these gaps that can not be closed by veneers

Veneers are thin shells of ceramic that are cemented on mildly prepared teeth, usually in the order of 0.3-0.5mm, and are used to primarily address color anomalies of teeth. These shells are slid onto the face of the front teeth only and are purely esthetic in nature. They can not be used to correct tooth size discrepancies, tooth-jaw misproportionality, or abnormally shaped teeth. To these, crowns are the better upper. Sometimes during the course of viewing cases, we discover that veneers were used to close gaps between teeth, a huge no no. We are even shocked to learn from the victims, that the spaces re-opened after veneers, or that the tooth couldn’t hold the veneer in, and with the forces of biting incident on the front teeth, the veneer chipped off.

Do gaps constitute tooth-jaw misproportionality?

Often times, this, along with other compounded problems (they come in templates!), coupling results in appearance of gaps. Problems like abnormally shaped teeth, or small sized teeth, large sized, jaws, or vice versa could mean that the problem could only be mitigated in childhood. However, since most patients do become self aware in as early as the early teen years of their life well into college, it is not until late adolescence that this problem could really be tackled. School kicks in, life kicks in, even love. Therefore the majority of conscious patients who have reached this far in the text and consequently seek a solution are in the order of ages 22 and above.

why cant gaps be closed by veneers?

Simply because veneers aren’t the right way to close gaps in the first place. For teeth to be close together, they must move, or become bigger. Veneers make teeth bigger on one face of said teeth. The remainder of the teeth is yet to match the change. And this is why crowns, despite being more taxing to tooth structure, and braces, despite being the least taxing to tooth structure, are the best treatments to tackle gaps. 

If one were to liken veneers, crowns, and braces to a gap between two walls, therefore a drape, two bigger walls, or walls coming next to eachother, could very much sum the deal!.Which would you choose? 

benefits of crowns or braces to veneers when closing gaps

Taking the earlier example, you would want your teeth to remain close together and we explained the consequences of them not being so

You wouldn’t want a temporary fix to this problem, because food will find its way to the gap and will cause damage. So you can smile but in reality, when food is being swallowed, your tongue is pressing against your palat, and some of the food is actually driven to the gap from behind the veneers [See below] 

Crowns are the better options if you are short on time and want a quick and permanent fix for gaps. The downside as explained before is the need to eat away at the tooth material, a colossal breach through sound tooth structure. 

Fortunately, braces are here, if you could stick around for a longer coursed diet of treatment.

the take home message

Treating spaced teeth can only be effective if the solution provides a permanent fix. Veneers are a whold different shebang when it comes to treating gaps. They are temporary fixes to a perpetuating problem. One that requires a perpetuating solution. Braces or crowns.

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