A common question from people considering Invisalign is whether or not clear aligners can fix an overbite. The short answer in most situations is yes. Today, our North Battleford dentists explain.
An overbite (also referred to as a deep bite) is when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. While most people have at least a little overbite (where the upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by 2 to 4mm), a more pronounced overbite can cause jaw pain and add increased wear and tear to your teeth.
Patients with overbites that extend to 4 to 6mm or greater may consider orthodontic treatment to correct the condition. You might hear your dentist describe overbites in terms of percentage. A range of 5 to 25 percent is ideal.
The vertical nature of an overbite distinguishes it from an overjet, which is horizontal and causes the upper teeth to protrude past the bottom teeth at an angle. But with an overbite, there's no angle as the upper teeth remain straight or downward.
How to Fix an Overbite
When the upper teeth come down over the bottom teeth significantly, this condition should be treated to prevent cracking, excessive wear, or chips in teeth.
The most common reason for overbites is that the lower jaw is just a bit smaller than the upper jaw, so the lower teeth rest behind the upper teeth and move downwards as wear on your teeth occurs. You’ll notice more gum tends to show on your upper teeth, and your upper front teeth are situated slightly lower than the teeth beside them (canines, or upper side teeth).
Overbites can happen if a patient had a tongue-thrusting habit (pushing the tongue against the upper teeth when swallowing) or was allowed to suck on an object - most often a thumb or pacifier - for too long as a child.
Chewing on objects such as pens, erasers, or even biting their nails can also cause this problem.
Why an Overbite Should be Fixed
With an overbite, the chance of wear on your teeth increases as your teeth touch each other each time you open and close your mouth. In the long term, this wear will cause your teeth to thin out and become shorter.
When you smile, your top teeth hide your bottom teeth and you may feel insecure or self-conscious flashing your grin for a photo, meeting new people, or socializing.
How Clear Aligners Can Fix an Overbite
Invisalign clear aligners can be used to fix your mild or moderate overbite by applying continual pressure to the teeth. It’s not recommended to use clear aligners to fix an overbite if a skeletal problem is the underlying cause.
Clear aligners can:
- Move your lower teeth downwards to where they should be
- Move your upper teeth upwards to where they should be
The pressure applied by your clear aligners will move your teeth into prescribed, corrected positions, leaving you with a straighter, more symmetrical smile. The clear aligners also move your gum at the same time, to keep the proportions in check.
You’ll need to wear your clear aligners for at least 22 hours per day, only removing them to eat, drink and floss your teeth. Each new series of clear aligners will progressively shift your teeth—you’ll switch to a new set about every 2 weeks. How many sets of aligners you need will depend on your unique situation.
Before you begin your treatment, your dentist will be able to show you a digital preview of how your new smile will look by the end of your treatment. The first step is to schedule a consultation with your dentist to find out if you are a candidate for clear aligners.