If you have crooked teeth and are looking to improve your overall appearance and smile, you may not relish the idea of getting unsightly braces that you'll need to wear for years. The good news is that braces are not your only option for straightening your teeth if you don't need to worry about correcting a severe overbite or other orthodontic issue. There are fast and easy solutions to making your teeth look straighter and more attractive; veneers and crowns are two such popular options. Note a few factors about each so you can discuss these choices with your dentist.
A veneer is a type of tooth-colored porcelain that is dabbed onto a tooth and then shaped and formed by the dentist. The porcelain then dries and adheres to the tooth. Shaping it can give the appearance of a straight tooth or make a tooth that is set back from other teeth appear to be in line. Veneers can also help with undersized teeth that may look as if they're improperly aligned.
Veneers are very tough, but they're not usually meant to last a lifetime, and shaping and forming them does require some skill from the dentist; the more highly skilled your dentist, the more natural the veneer will appear. Note that veneers don't usually involve having to reduce or otherwise treat the tooth to which they're applied, so they may also be a faster and less painful procedure than getting crowns.
A crown is a type of cap that is put over a tooth and glued into place. These are very durable and meant to last a lifetime; they can break or crack, but usually only by an impact that would otherwise crack a real tooth. Crowns have the advantage of being able to protect a cracked or damaged tooth that is beyond repair and that cannot be protected by a simple veneer. Crowns can also cover crooked teeth so that they look straight and can make teeth that are set back from your jawline seem perfectly aligned.
Note that crowns can also provide more protection for teeth from future damage. For someone whose teeth are out of alignment because of excessive grinding during the night, a crown can protect that tooth and avoid being worn down, whereas veneers may not be strong enough to protect teeth. However, for a crown to fit, the tooth itself might need drilling and reducing, and this can be uncomfortable and make the process take much longer than getting veneers.