When the lateral incisors, which are the teeth on either side of your central incisors, appear much smaller than the central incisors, they are referred to as "peg laterals". In general, peg laterals occur in the upper (maxillary) jaw and are cone-shaped. Because of their size and their position in the smile zone, they are easily noticeable when a person with this condition smiles.

Fortunately, there are a range of cosmetic dentistry techniques that can address this issue.

Composite Bonding

The least invasive procedure for peg laterals in regards to tooth preparation is composite bonding, also referred to by dentists as composite veneers. This treatment is also the cheapest of the three procedures. Unlike porcelain veneers, which consist of thin ceramic shells that are prepared in a lab and then placed on the front surface of teeth, composite veneers are sculpted onto teeth.

While this allows for more creative freedom as a dentist can adjust the bonding as they go, bonding stains and breaks more easily than porcelain.

Porcelain Veneers

Considered more aesthetically pleasing than composite veneers, porcelain veneers cover the front surface of teeth, acting as an attractive façade to hide imperfections.

If you grind or grit your teeth, you should consider seeing an orthodontist to assess your bite before investing in veneers as otherwise, they may break.

Porcelain Crowns

The main difference between porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns is that porcelain crowns fit over the entire tooth whereas veneers sit on the front surface of a tooth. In terms of durability, dental crowns are superior, however, most chewing is done with molars, not incisors.

Veneers and crowns are similar in cost and are much more expensive than composite bonding.

Composite Bonding Followed By Porcelain

If you don't think you can afford porcelain veneers or crowns at the moment, you can opt for composite bonding instead. Since composite resin is much easier to remove than porcelain, when you have saved up enough money you can switch from composite bonding to veneers or crowns.

Get a Preview of the Results Beforehand

Whatever you decide to go for, ensure that you have your dentist show you a wax up of the final results. This way, you will get a good idea of what your lateral incisors will look like before the procedure is carried out. You can also suggest changes at this point, changes that might be difficult to carry out after the treatment is completed.

Whichever treatment you decide upon, you should also have your teeth whitened beforehand. This will allow your dentist to choose a shade of white that matches the rest of your newly whitened teeth to give you the best possible end result.