My teeth are small. Should I get porcelain veneers?

Question:

My teeth are very straight and white, and have no gaps (they are healthy), and I am currently using invisible braces to correct minor problems. The only problem is they are very small and when I smile you can barely even see them. I’ve always wanted a smile that was big and beautiful that shows off my teeth, and I was wondering if porcelain veneers could make my small teeth look bigger and nicer?

And I’ve read that in normal cases reduction is necessary, but if my teeth are already small and I’m just trying to make my teeth bigger (not fix any problems such as crooked teeth or discoloration) could the dentist not do the reduction part?

Thanks!
—Carissa from Virginia

Dear Carissa,

Yes, absolutely, porcelain veneers are a great way to make small teeth not only look bigger but actually be larger. But you need to go to an expert cosmetic dentist—not just the dentist down the street. Creating a new smile for you requires a careful artistic eye.

As far as reducing your teeth for porcelain veneers, yes, there are ways to put porcelain veneers on without reducing your teeth. There are what are called ultra-thin porcelain veneers that can be placed without any tooth reduction. Doing the smile makeover that way will make your teeth a little bigger, but in your case that’s exactly what you want, so you could be an ideal candidate for that. But be sure you’re in the hands of an expert cosmetic dentist.

I would advise you not to insist on the dentist using a no-preparation technique. Even when there is some tooth reduction, the amount of reduction is very small—about the thickness of a fingernail. Ask about this when you go for your consultation, but listen to the expert cosmetic dentist and be receptive to the technique he or she thinks will give you the best result.

You may also want to read a little about smile design. Here we discuss the factors that go into designing a smile. For example, did you know that having your two front teeth (your central incisors) be a little larger than the lateral incisors makes you look a little sexier, a little more bold, and younger? And having the teeth be all the same length makes you look more sophisticated and mature? Read our smile design page for these tips.

More related questions:

Click here for referral to an expert cosmetic dentist.
Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question.

This content was written by Dr. David Hall.