At Expressions Dental Care we are often asked if clear aligners can be used to fix an overbite. And the short answer to this question is yes. But first, our Richmond Hill dentists discuss what overbites are, why you should have them fixed, and what the treatment entails.
What are Overbites?
Overbites (also called deep bites) are when your upper front teeth overlaps 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), it becomes an issue when it starts to cause problems such as wear on your teeth or jaw pain.
This starts to happen where the normal 2 to 4 mm is extended to 4 to 6mm or greater, at which point the condition will need correction. 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 Overbites are Fixed
When the upper teeth significantly come down over the bottom teeth, this condition should be treated to prevent chips, excessive wear, or cracks in your teeth.
The most common cause of overbites is when the lower jaw is just a little smaller than the upper jaw, so the lower teeth rest behind the upper teeth and move downwards as wear on your teeth occurs. Typically you will notice more gum showing on your upper teeth, and your upper front teeth sit a bit lower than the teeth beside them (canines, or upper side teeth).
A patient could develop an overbite if they had a habit of tongue-thrusting or were permitted to suck on an object - usually a pacifier or thumb - for too long when they were a child.
Chewing on items such as erasers, pens, erasers or even their nails can lead to this issue. We don't recommend using clear aligners to fix an overbite if it was caused by a skeletal problem.
Why Overbites Should be Fixed
With an overbite, you have a higher chance of having wear on your teeth because your teeth come into contact with each other every time you open and close your mouth. Over time, they can become shorter and thinner.
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 Correct Overbite
Clear aligners can be used to fix an overbite that is mild or moderate (if it isn't caused by skeletal issues, which will probably require surgery) by applying constant pressure to the teeth.
Clear aligners can:
- Move your upper teeth upwards to where they should be
- Move your lower teeth downwards 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 will have to wear your clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day, taking them out to drink and eat, and brush and floss your teeth. The series of clear aligners will progressively shift your teeth, and you’ll switch to a new set approximately every 2 weeks. Your custom treatment plan could include wearing as many as 26 trays, which equals roughly one tray every 2 weeks for one year.
Before starting your treatment, your dentist will be able to show you a digital preview of how your improved smile may look after you have finished your treatment. The first step is to book a consultation with your dentist to find out if you are a candidate for clear aligners.