Barrel-shaped teeth - best option?

May 19, 2014
Hi folks, new UK-based poster here!

As long as I've had my adult teeth I've been pretty ashamed of them. My front four incisors have always had noticeable gaps.

I had braces at quite a late stage - I got them when I was 18 and only had them in for about seven or eight months. I went to a private dentist, but had my treatment paid by the NHS as there was a molar protruding into my palette. The dentist seemed in a rush with my treatment, so once the molar was safely back in line he removed the braces. My lower teeth were all very straight, and they still are, but when I complained about the gaps in my upper jaw he said my teeth were just barrel-shaped and couldn't be helped without 'slithers' (I now discover he meant dental bonding.) For aftercare, I paid for a permanent fixed retainer for my lower jaw (it sits behind the teeth so is invisible, have it to this day!) but couldn't afford the same for the upper jaw, so had a plastic retainer that I sadly lost about 18 months later. As a result, my upper incisors have spread a few more millimetres.

I'm now 23, working a much better job so have a bit more disposable income (although not a lot!) and think it's about time I sort my teeth out once and for all. What would be the best option? I've been considering dental bonding on my front incisors as the cheapest option. Would it be better to have my teeth whitened before this? Most places I've seen only guarantee the bonding for a year max. Are they likely to break after that? Would veneers be a more secure option? Or should I go back to braces, and hope that with more money I'll receive more thorough treatment?

Thanks for your input. If it helps, I will try to post a picture later on.


Apr 2, 2014
Without seeing photographs or x-rays, it's difficult to advise you on what would be your best option. Were your braces done by an Orthodontist? If you are considering having braces again, you may want to consult an Orthodontist if you think you have a more difficult case. They specialize in teeth movement. If you do decide to do bonding or veneers and are unhappy with the color or your teeth, be sure to whiten your teeth first. The color of the bonding material and porcelain veneers will not change color.

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