At Clarmain Dental we are often asked if clear aligners can be used to fix an overbite. In this blog, our Burlington dentists explain what overbites are, why they should be fixed, and how clear aligners might be able to correct your overbite.
What Are Overbites?
An overbite (also called a deep bite) is when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. While the majority of people have at least a small overbite (where the upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by 2 to 4mm), it turns into a problem when it begins to create issues such as jaw pain or wear on your teeth.
This starts to occur when the usual 2 to 4 mm extends to 4 to 6mm or more, at this time the issue will have to be fixed. You might hear your dentist describe overbites in terms of percentage. A range of 5 to 25 percent is ideal.
The vertical characteristic of an overbite differentiates it from an overjet, which is horizontal and makes the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower teeth at an angle. However, there is no overbite, because the upper teeth stay downward or straight.
How Are Overbites Fixed?
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 when the lower jaw is slightly smaller than the upper jaw, so the lower teeth rest behind the upper teeth and move downwards causing wear on your teeth. You will notice more gum showing 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 occur if a patient had a tongue-thrusting habit or was able 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. It’s not recommended to use clear aligners to fix an overbite if a skeletal problem is an underlying cause.
Why Should My Overbite Be Fixed?
With an overbite, you have an increased chance of wear on your teeth as your teeth touch each other every 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 Do Clear Aligners Fix Overbites?
Clear aligners could be used to correct mild or moderate overbites (if it's not caused by skeletal problems, which will probably need surgery) by applying constant pressure to the teeth.
Clear aligners can:
- Move your upper teeth upwards to where they're supposed to be
- Move your lower teeth downwards to where they're supposed to be
The pressure your clear aligners apply will shift your teeth into their prescribed, fixed locations, providing you with a more symmetrical, straighter smile. The clear aligners also move your gum at the same time, to keep the proportions in check.
You will need to wear your clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day, taking them out to drink, eat, and brush 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 customized clear aligners treatment plan might require you to wear as many as 26 trays, which equals one tray every 2 weeks for one year.
Prior to the start of your treatment, your dentist will be able to show you a digital preview of how your new smile should look once your treatment has been completed. The first step is to schedule a consultation with your dentist to find out if you are a candidate for clear aligners.