Invisalign vs. Veneers: What Is the Best Treatment for Malocclusion?

Although “malocclusion” may not be a term that you hear every day, chances are that you see malocclusion cases nearly every day. Also called “bad bites,” malocclusions are dental problems arising from improper alignment of the upper and lower dental arches. In other words, you know that you have a malocclusion if your teeth are crooked or if they don’t align when you close your mouth. 

Malocclusion cases are diverse and come in a variety of forms. Common malocclusion issues include:

  • Dental crowding  
  • Spacing problems
  • Open bites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites

Malocclusions occur for a variety of reasons as well. For example, genetics, early tooth loss, poor dental habits, and physical trauma/injuries can all cause malocclusions to occur and influence their severity. Consequently, malocclusion cases greatly differ from person to person, ranging from mild crowding to severe bite problems. 

No matter if you’re dealing with a mild or severe malocclusion, any alignment problem can take a toll on your health. Crowding, for instance, can cause people to feel socially anxious and complicate oral care routines. Bite issues can lead to chronic jaw pain and cause speech problems as well.

Thankfully, malocclusions can be corrected in a variety of ways. In the past, braces were the go-to option to correct malocclusions. However, patients today can choose from a variety of treatment routes, with two of the most popular options being Invisalign and veneers. 

In this article, we examine the “Invisalign vs. veneers” dynamic. Along the way, we review how each approach works, detail how they differ from one another, and explore which treatment is right for certain situations. If you’re looking to treat your malocclusion, here’s what you need to know:

Invisalign Vs. Veneers: An Orthodontic Vs. Cosmetic Approach to Oral Beauty

Although Invisalign and veneers are both used to improve one’s smile, they do so in very different ways.

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that rotates teeth, closes gaps, and repositions teeth into perfect alignment with one another. The Invisalign system accomplishes these feats with sets of custom-made clear aligners. 

Every Invisalign aligner set contains anywhere from 20 to 30 aligners. Patients wear each aligner for around 2 weeks before switching to the next one. Each aligner strategically applies pressure onto misaligned teeth to move them into the ideal locations. 

As Invisalign patients progress through their aligner sets, their smiles gradually become straighter and straighter. By the time a patient reaches the end of their set, their teeth are perfectly aligned.

Veneer treatment, on the other hand, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure—not an orthodontic procedure. Unlike Invisalign, veneer treatment doesn’t treat malocclusions by repositioning teeth. Instead, veneers are placed over crooked or misaligned teeth to make them appear straight. 

During veneer treatment, a cosmetic dentist:

  1. Creates a custom set of veneers that are to be placed over the patient’s teeth. The veneers are created using patient impressions, ensuring a natural look.
  2. Removes a small amount of enamel from the patient’s teeth to make room for the veneers. Enamel removal is a permanent process that forever changes the size of one’s teeth.
  3.  Cements the veneers onto the patient’s teeth to create a flawless smile appearance. The veneers are a permanent addition to the patient’s smile and require periodic replacements for life.

Now that we’ve seen how distinct Invisalign and veneers are, we can explore which one might be right for your needs.  

Invisalign Vs. Veneers: Which Approach is Right For You?

When used to correct malocclusions, Invisalign and veneer treatments offer different benefits. As such, they are ideal for different situations. 

Invisalign—like other orthodontic treatments—offer a permanent solution to malocclusions. 

Depending on how severe your malocclusion is, Invisalign can take anywhere from 6 - 24 months to complete. After that period, you will obtain a perfectly straight smile for life. Benefits of choosing Invisalign include:

  • A lifelong, perfectly straight smile consisting of your natural teeth
  • Easier oral care
  • Enhanced oral functionality
  • Lower risk of developing chronic jaw pain

Veneers also deliver a perfect smile appearance, but at a much quicker rate. While Invisalign takes up to two years to complete, cosmetic dentists can complete veneer procedures in just a few weeks. However, there are some drawbacks to choosing veneers over an orthodontic option like Invisalign.

As an aesthetic procedure, veneer treatment does not treat the root causes of malocclusions. Therefore, veneers do not provide some of the health benefits of orthodontic treatment (e.g. lower risk of chronic pain, improved speech, etc.). Veneer treatment also requires permanent enamel removal, which makes teeth weaker and more sensitive. To keep teeth healthy and functional, veneer patients will have to replace their veneers every few years. 

That said, there are a number of unique benefits to veneers, including:

  • Fast results (treatment only takes a few weeks to complete)
  • Bright tooth color
  • Complete coverage over chips, cracks, and other physical imperfections

For help deciding between Invisalign and veneers, see the table below for a summary of their different advantages and disadvantages.

Invisalign Veneers
Permanent, holistic treatment that corrects malocclusions Prosthetic solution that provides a flawless appearance but doesn’t actually alleviate malocclusions
Does not require future treatment beyond retainer services Requires periodic veneer replacements
Enhances oral functionality Weakens the teeth underneath the veneers
Helps alleviate the muscle strain associated with misaligned jaws Does not address medical issues associated with misalignment
Patients retain their natural smiles Requires permanent alteration of the natural tooth
Treatment typically takes 1-2 years to complete Treatment is complete in a matter of weeks

Have More Questions about Invisalign and Veneers? Contact Beverly Hills Orthodontics Today

Both Invisalign and veneers are capable of completely remaking one’s smile. However, the ways in which they do so are very different. 

If you are looking for a holistic treatment to correct your malocclusion, Invisalign is the right choice. As an orthodontic solution, Invisalign will physically eliminate your bite problems and crowding issues for a lifetime of healthier oral functionality. Veneers—while capable of creating a great smile appearance—do not correct malocclusions, thus only providing aesthetic benefits.

At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we are recognized as one of the top Invisalign providers in the country. If you are interested in discussing your options, our team can speak with you about whether Invisalign or veneers will best suit your needs. Contact one of our four LA locations today to schedule an appointment.