Unhappy With Your Smile: Options For Improving The Appearance Of Your Teeth

A bright smile can light up a room -- but if you're self-conscious about crooked, chipped, or discolored teeth, you may find yourself holding back. Luckily, there are several alternatives to help you permanently alter your smile. Read on to learn more about dental veneers, crowns, and implants, and which of these options may be right for you:


Dental veneers are a thin layer of material that cover the outer surface of your tooth. Veneers are most commonly placed on the front teeth, as they require only a very small application surface. There are a few types of veneers available:

  • Porcelain
    • Porcelain is the most common type of veneer material, as it is durable and stain-resistant. To apply these veneers, the dentist will remove a sliver of the front enamel of each tooth that is receiving porcelain veneers. This ensures that the veneer properly fits within your mouth and doesn't affect your bite.
  • Composite
    • A new type of veneer material boasts a composite formula that allows the veneer to be fitted and "tested" before it is bonded to the tooth. This process allows the dentist to make any last-minute adjustments necessary and ensures that the patient is completely satisfied with the process.
  • Acrylic
    • Acrylic (or plastic-based) veneers are durable and generally less expensive than porcelain or composite veneers. These veneers feel slightly different than your natural teeth, which is less common for porcelain and composite veneers.


Crowns are similar to veneers, but are generally used on teeth with a larger surface area, as they require more tooth surface to properly adhere (as compared to veneers). Because your front teeth have nerves very close to the surface, it is difficult to apply crowns to these teeth without causing discomfort. Most crowns are also composed of porcelain or composite material, although they can also be made of gold, stainless steel, or another non-toxic metal.


Dental implants are a good option for teeth that have already had one or more fillings, a root canal, or are misaligned enough to interfere with chewing or talking. Unlike veneers and crowns, which apply an additional surface on the existing tooth, dental implants involve the removal of the tooth and the implantation of a porcelain or acrylic tooth on a titanium screw that extends into your jaw. Eventually this screw fuses with the bone in your jaw, making the implant just as strong as a natural tooth.