Our Toronto dentists (at our King-York Dental, College Park Dental, Bay Adelaide Dental, Brookfield Place Dental and Richmond-Adelaide Dental locations) explain how an overbite can be fixed with Invisalign clear aligners. Understanding what an overbite is, why it should be fixed and what the process entails will help you make an informed decision.
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).
When the normal 2 to 4 mm is extended to 4 to 6mm or greater it will start to cause problems such as wear on your teeth or jaw pain and correction will be required.
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.
Why an Overbite Should be Fixed
With an overbite, each time you open and close your mouth the chance of wear on your teeth increases. In the long term, your teeth 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 to Fix an Overbite
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).
When the upper teeth come down over the bottom teeth significantly, this condition should be treated to prevent cracking, excessive wear or chips in your teeth.
Overbites can happen if a patient chews on objects such as pens, erasers or even biting their nails. If as a child, the patient had a tongue thrusting habit or was allowed to suck on an object, such as a thumb or pacifier, an overbite can occur.
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.
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.
The series of clear aligners that you receive will progressively shift your teeth. Your custom treatment plan may entail wearing as many as 26 trays, which equates to one tray every 2 weeks for one year. You will receive a new set about every 2 weeks.
You’ll need to wear your clear aligners for at least 22 hours per day, removing them to eat, drink and floss your teeth.
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.
It’s not recommended to use clear aligners to fix an overbite if a skeletal problem is the underlying cause, this would likely require surgery.