Cosmetic Dentistry has exploded through the years due to our ability to correct a variety of dental aesthetic problems. From rotated or stained teeth to crowded and chipped teeth, dentistry now has better solutions.
Inevitably we see patients with a problem gap between two teeth that they want to fix with “one or two veneers.” While veneers can certainly fix it, we’re unlikely to be able to make it look great unless it is very small space. Let’s look at a few problems that happen.
The image below represents about a 3mm gap or almost 1/8 inch. While it is possible to correct it by veneering only the two front teeth, we end up with some pretty big front teeth (picture Matt Dillon in the movie “Something About Mary”). I have certainly seen patients that are satisfied with this option, but most people I see wouldn’t tolerate it.
Now, if we were to place veneers on the front six teeth to correct the same gap we’re able to share that extra 3mm across all the teeth and end up with a great aesthetic result.
Of course, once we have the spaces addressed, patients often want to stop there, but wait! Take a look at actor Matthew Perry with veneers on his six front teeth. It is clear that something went wrong with his smile. One of the easiest mistakes to make in cosmetic dentistry is not veneering enough teeth. There are times,however, when putting veneers on the six front teeth can work. Each patient’s case- and likes and dislikes- are to be considered.
Generally speaking, if a patient doesn’t have a big smile, a minimum number of eight veneers on the upper arch are enough to get a good result. On the lower arch, we are often able to get away with doing fewer teeth. My favorite cases are done with ten upper veneers and eight lower. That way, we can carry the great color and shape of the front teeth far enough back so that patients don’t have to worry about whitening their teeth ever again!