When you're ready to restore your smile to as close to perfect as possible, teeth whitening and veneers can cover up a wide range of problems with ease. However, there are still some dental problems that must be dealt with fully before you add a new layer of material over the surface of each tooth. Discover why gum disease and veneers don't mix and why it's essential to get your gums healthy first.

Harder to Clean

Gum disease begins with plaque, the soft and sticky residue of food particles gathering around the base of the teeth. If you don't remove plaque each evening with brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar and creates a bridge for bacteria to move in under the gum line. Since veneers sit on top of the surface of the teeth and run all the way to the edge of the gum line, there's a tiny groove left at the edge to trap food particles and plaque. Even thorough brushing and flossing often leaves food behind when you have veneers. Without proper daily cleaning, existing gum disease worsens quickly and treated gingivitis returns.

Trapping Bacteria

It's not just food and plaque getting trapped in that groove next to the gum line once your veneers are installed either. Where there's plaque there is bacteria, and that bacteria can linger even if you're getting the debris out. For people with fully treated gum disease, this small amount of bacteria is easily controlled with the right mouthwash. If you have the veneers placed before verifying your gums are strong and pocket-free, the colonies forming around your veneer's edges can turn a basic case of gum disease into a very serious one that causes you to lose teeth.

Tooth Structure

Since gum disease involves bacterial colonies around the roots of the teeth, people with advanced cases often have secondary problems with their teeth like chips and cracks. A loose tooth often moves when you're chewing or biting and becomes even more damaged in the process. While veneers are designed to cover up and reinforce these kinds of damaged teeth, the veneer still needs a stable base. Teeth with compromised structures due to secondary gum disease problems will only last so long, even with a veneer on it.

Future Restoration

Finally, veneers cost nearly as much as dental implants. If your gum disease is so advanced that your dentist expects you will eventually lose the teeth regardless of treatment, it's likely better to save what you'd spend on veneers and apply it towards implants instead. You don't want to pay for cosmetic improvements now when you're already going to be undergoing more extensive treatments in just a few years.