Are porcelain veneers the only option for short lateral incisors? My left and right lateral incisors are way too short. I am 33 yrs old so there is no hope of a growth spurt. Can they be moved down with braces or lengthened somehow? My sister thinks porcelain veneers might work, but I really don’t want them. I don’t want to ask my dentist about it yet because I’m not sure I want him to do the work. He thinks he can do anything for anyone’s teeth but he is only a general dentist. Thanks. – Bronwyn
Bronwyn – An examination and diagnostic studies are required to determine why your lateral incisors are too short. The examination will reveal if your teeth are fully erupted and in their proper position. If they are, orthodontic treatment is probably not the answer. Porcelain veneers might be the best solution, but there are likely other options.
Porcelain Veneers and Other Options for Short Incisors
An artistic cosmetic dentist can examine your teeth to consider your treatment options. Some possibilities are listed below.
- Gum contouring – Using a dental laser, your gums can be shortened and contoured around your incisors to give them a longer appearance. This is a possibility only if gum contouring will not expose tooth roots.
- Cosmetic bonding – Dental composite can be manipulated to match the color and translucence of your natural teeth. After a tooth is cleaned and lightly etched, a bonding agent is applied. Dental composite is applied to the tooth, shaped, and hardened. It will be further shaped and polished for a natural look. If you receive quality dental bonding, take care of it, and have it regularly maintained by a cosmetic dentist, it can last ten years or more.
- Porcelain veneers – Thin layers of porcelain will be bonding to your incisors. Preparation of the incisors may be required, which can include lightly shaving them. Preparation prevents veneers from looking bulky. Porcelain veneers won’t stain. When well maintained by you and your dentist, they can last up to 15 years.
- Porcelain crowns – A dental crown is placed over a tooth. The size of the tooth must be reduced to accommodate the crown. Crowns also serve as a protection to teeth that are damaged. When well maintained by you and your dentist, they can last 15 years or more. Crowns are a more aggressive treatment and require your teeth to be tapered to accommodate the crowns.
Whether you receive porcelain veneers or some other form of cosmetic dentistry, the quality, durability, and look of the restoration you receive depend on the skill of the cosmetic dentist you choose. We recommend that you find two or three experience cosmetic dentists with whom you can schedule consultations. Ask about each dentist’s training, credentials, and experience. Also ask to see before-and-after photos of each dentist’s actual patient cases that are similar to the treatment that is being recommended to you.
This post is sponsored by Chatham, NJ accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Allyson Hurley.