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Porcelain Veneers With an Overbite

I am finally in a position where I can get a beautiful smile. I’ve had tetracycline stains on my teeth for years, which always left me self-conscious about my smile. I wanted to get porcelain veneers but my dentist said my overbite will prevent that because my top teeth pretty much completely cover my bottom teeth. Instead, he is suggesting four porcelain crowns. I have some questions though. First, have you heard of my type of bite being an issue with porcelain veneers. Second, Do I whiten my bottom teeth to come close to matching the top?

Melissa M.

Dear Melissa,

Porcelain Veneers require real expertise.

I am glad you wrote before going through with this procedure. I have some concerns about your dentist’s qualifications to give you a beautiful result. Let’s start with his choice of treatment–porcelain crowns. When dentists suggest porcelain crowns when a patient asks for porcelain veneers, it is most often because they are not comfortable doing porcelain veneers but don’t want to admit that to their patient.

I will give your dentist credit for his creative excuse, even if it is totally invalid. When you have an overbite, porcelain veneers actually make more sense. Veneers only cover the front of your teeth and hug the sides a smidge. Dental crowns have to go around the whole tooth. If your top teeth are covering your bottom teeth, that will be a challenge.

A second issue is your dentist suggesting four dental crowns. Unless you have an unusally narrow smile, this means your adjacent teeth, with their tetraycycline stains, will be visible when you smile. Most smiles need somewhere between eight to ten veneers to get all their visible teeth.

For the bottom arch, it is possible to have some teeth whitneing done, but tetracycline stains can be pretty resistant to most whitening methods. Kor Whitening has had the best results with these type of stains.

The Key to a Beautiful Smile Makeover

The one constant in beautiful results will be tied to the dentist you choose to do your porcelain veneers. Smile makeovers are not taught in dental school. On top of that, cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty. A dentist has to decide to get the post-doctoral training necessary to produce beautiful results.

In your place, you need an expecially well-trained dentist. Tetracycline stains are one of the most challenging cases. Your dentist will have to get the veneers opaque enough to cover the stains but still look translucent to give it that natural reflective shine. To get this result, I would look for an AACD accredited dentist. These are the top 1 % of cosmetic dentists in the country.

This blog is brought to you by Boston Cosmetic Dentist Dr. RAndall Burba.