Overbite is a common issue seen by dentists, and many patients wonder what can resolve it. Today, our Okotoks dentists discuss how clear aligners like Invisalign can be used to treat an overbite.
What Is an Overbite?
An overbite (also referred to as a deep bite) is when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. While it is common for people to have at least a bit of an 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 excessive wear on your teeth or jaw pain.
This starts to happen when the normal 2 to 4 mm is extended to 4 to 6mm or greater, at which point the issue needs to be treated. 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.
Treating 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 or as a child, they sucked on a pacifier or their thumb for too long.
Chewing on objects such as pens and erasers, or even biting their nails can also be the cause of this issue. It’s not recommended to use clear aligners to fix an overbite if a skeletal problem is an underlying cause.
Why You Should Fix Your Overbite
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, it will cause your teeth to get shorter and thinner.
When you smile, your top teeth hide your bottom teeth and you may feel insecure or self-conscious about showing off your smile throughout your everyday life.
How Invisalign Clear Aligners Can Treat an Overbite
Invisalign 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
Clear aligners are designed to provide light pressure that will move your teeth into the 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, removing them to eat, drink and floss your teeth. The series of clear aligners will progressively shift your teeth, and you’ll switch to a new set about every 2 weeks. Your custom treatment plan may entail wearing as many as 26 trays, which equates to one tray every 2 weeks for one year.
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.