Not every dental patient is willing to invest the time it takes to correct malocclusion through orthodontic treatment. They may instead turn to a cosmetic dentist for veneers, which take weeks as opposed to the 18-28 months for the average orthodontic case.
However, though it is possible for a cosmetic approach such as veneers to take the place of orthodontic treatment, there are several reasons why doing so is not recommended.
Veneers Can Only Treat a Minor Overbite
If an overbite is minor, veneers can be added to at least 6 of the upper teeth, from canine to canine to improve the appearance and the functionality of the bite. By adding veneers to the upper teeth, the biting surfaces of the upper and lower teeth can be made to meet. However, when an overbite is more severe, veneers do nothing to correct the issue.
Braces Align Teeth; Veneers Cover Them
The reason that most cosmetic dentists would recommend that you seek the help of an orthodontist prior to getting veneers, is that the teeth need to be moved. Only braces or jaw surgery can correct a misaligned bite. Braces may also be combined with jaw surgery in more severe cases. However, veneers, whether porcelain or composite, can only work to mask imperfections like stains or cracks.
If veneers are used as a substitute for braces in a more serious case, then complications will occur.
The Veneers May Break if a Bite is Misaligned
A moderate to severe overbite should be corrected by an orthodontist, possibly working in conjunction with a maxillofacial surgeon. Placing veneers on the upper teeth in this case will simply make the teeth larger and possibly longer as veneers add more bulk.
This might look okay when you smile from the front and your upper teeth are on show, but there is a good chance that the veneers will break at some point in the near future. This is because the lower teeth may come into contact with the veneers, causing them to dislodge or crack.
It's Better to do Braces and Then Veneers
For an overbite of a few millimetres or more, braces and/or jaw surgery is the most beneficial option. Going this route beforehand will correct your misaligned bite so that your profile looks more appealing. You will also be able to eat more comfortably and any TMJ symptoms such as headaches and jaw joint pain may completely disappear.
Once your bite has been corrected, you can then further improve your smile by adding 6-8 veneers to your upper teeth. If you are put off by the length of time it could take to correct your overbite with braces, speak to your dentist to see if you are a good candidate for veneers. If your case is minor, veneers may be a viable option.