My teeth are discolored and I have a crooked one in front. I am trying to figure out what I need to do first? Is tooth whitening supposed to go before porcelain veneers? Then, when would I use Invisalign for the crooked tooth?

– Cora in California


I can’t resist… Your question has a likeness to the old adage, what come first, the chicken or the egg. But in all seriousness, an excellent cosmetic dentist will recommend tooth whitening take place fist. This is because once the porcelain veneers are in place, they cannot be whitened. So once your teeth are as white as you like them, the veneers can be made to match. Not the other way around. If the veneers are placed in front and you are happy with the color of your back teeth, it isn’t entirely necessary to whiten. The veneers will cover the entire surfaces of the teeth that show when you smile.

Just make sure the cosmetic dentist you visit, knows his or her stuff. Coloration, gradation, and translucency are complex concepts and take extensive advanced training to master. Not just any dentist on the block will do for this kind of esthetic work.

Regarding the Invisalign question, that is largely at the opinion of the cosmetic dentist. In some cases, minor alignment issues can be fixed with using only porcelain veneers. So it is possible you may not need to use Invisalign. The veneers will give the appearance of perfectly straight teeth. Now if the crookedness is severe, that is another issue and likely needs to be addressed prior to the placement of the veneers.

It’s all about selecting the right cosmetic dentist versus picking the treatment you think you want.

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This post is sponsored by Atlanta cosmetic dentist Flax Dental.