Our Sault Ste. Marie dentists are frequently asked if clear aligners can be used to correct an overbite. The short answer is yes, but first, we should define an overbite, why it should be corrected, and what the procedure entails.
When your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth, you have an overbite (also known as a deep bite). While most people have some overbite (the upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by 2 to 4mm), it becomes an issue when it causes problems such as tooth wear or jaw pain.
This occurs when the normal 2 to 4 mm is extended to 4 to 6 mm or greater, at which point the condition must be corrected. Overbites may be described by your dentist in terms of percentages. A percentage range of 5 to 25% is ideal.
An overbite differs from an overjet in that it is vertical, whereas an overjet is horizontal and causes the upper teeth to protrude past the bottom teeth at an angle. An overbite, on the other hand, has no angle because 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 cause of overbites is that the lower jaw is slightly smaller than the upper jaw, causing the lower teeth to rest behind the upper teeth and move downwards as your teeth wear down. You'll notice that your upper teeth have more gum showing, and your upper front teeth are slightly lower than the teeth next to them (canines, or upper side teeth).
Overbites can occur if a patient has a habit of thrusting his or her tongue or if he or she was allowed to suck on an object - most commonly a thumb or pacifier - for an extended period as a child.
This problem can also be caused by chewing on objects such as pens, erasers, or even biting their nails. It is not recommended to use clear aligners to correct an overbite if the underlying cause is a skeletal problem.
Why an Overbite Should be Fixed
The following reasons are why you should take steps to fix an overbite.
With an overbite, the chance of wear on your teeth increases as your teeth touches each other each time you open and close your mouth. In the long term, they get 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 Fix an Overbite
Clear aligners can be used to fix your mild or moderate overbite (if not caused by skeletal issues, which would likely require surgery) by applying continual pressure to the teeth.
Clear aligners can:
- Move your lower teeth downwards to where they should be
- Move your upper teeth upwards to where they should be
Your clear aligners will apply pressure to your teeth, causing them to move into prescribed, corrected positions, giving you a straighter, more symmetrical smile. To keep the proportions in check, the clear aligners also move your gums at the same time.
You must wear your clear aligners for at least 22 hours per day, removing them only to eat, drink, and floss. The series of clear aligners will gradually shift your teeth, and you will change to a new set every 2 weeks. Your personalized treatment plan could include wearing as many as 26 trays, which equates to one tray every two weeks for a year.
Your dentist will be able to show you a digital preview of how your new smile will look at the end of your treatment before you begin it. The first step is to consult with your dentist to see if you are a candidate for clear aligners.