Q: I would like to invest in porcelain veneers for a new smile, but to save money I would like to only do the uppers. Is there any disadvantage to not doing the lowers?
A: As an avid auto enthusiast, I read a lot of auction catalogs and auction reports. Each car up for grabs has a brief description of what it’s bringing to the podium. When the description states: “Two un-matching brands of tires.” This is always a red flag in that it shows a complete lack of effort by the former owner to spend a little more money for two more tires that match the others. You wonder what else was done “on-the-cheap” with this car. How may off-brand parts are on the inside? Is the radiator from a John Deer tractor found at the bottom of a ravine in an Iowa flood?
Most folks think they don’t show their lower teeth; only the uppers. Not true. In a smile for a photo op, sure we see the uppers. But once engaged in a conversation, the lowers proudly appear in most of us.
During my veneer consultations, I give patients a mirror and do the alphabet test: Recite the alphabet naturally while looking in the mirror. Most of you will see that your lowers do in fact show quite a bit. You don’t want to have two different shades of teeth like a two-tone 57 Chevy Bel Air.
Many adults have crowded and crooked lower anterior teeth. Veneers will make them straight like the grill on a Rolls. This gives you a better bite; especially when biting into thin foods such as lettuce. The better chewing ability you have the better you are able to swallow a smaller bolus of food for medically safe digestion.
I often see TV news talking heads who obviously have only done their uppers and it looks awful. Friends and relatives often text me photos of their TV’s when an unsightly smile appears on the screen. (Good thing I am not a proctologist! Could you imagine? “Hey uncle Mitch, is this your patient?”)