Our Summerside dentists will often be asked about whether or not an overbite can be fixed using clear aligners. The short answer here is yes, but before going into detail, our dentists explain what an overbite is, why it should be fixed and what is involved.
Overbites are also called deep bites and describe when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front jaw. While most people have a little bit of an overbite (where their upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by 2 - 4mm). This can become an issue is when your teeth begin to wear abnormally.
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 overbites distinguish them from overjets, which is horizontal and causes upper front 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 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 reason for overbites to appear is that the lower jaw is a bit smaller than the upper, meaning the lower teeth sit behind the upper. You notice that more gum shows on your upper teeth and that they are situated a bit lower than the teeth beside them.
Overbites can happen if a patient had a tongue-thrusting habit or was allowed to suck on an object - most often a thumb or pacifier - for too long as a child.
Chewing on objects like pens, erasers or nail-biting can all cause this problem. It isn't recommended to use clear aligners to fix the overbites if skeletal issues are the underlying cause.
Why an Overbite Should be Fixed
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, they get shorter and thinner.
When smiling, your top teeth hide your bottom teeth and may cause you to feel insecure or self-conscious when smiling for photos, socializing or meeting new people.
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 upper teeth upwards to where they should be
- Move your lower teeth downwards to where they should be
The pressure that is applied by your clear aligners moves your teeth into their prescribed, corrected, positions. They will straighten your smile, making it more symmetrical. Clear aligners can also move your gums at the same time in order 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 starting treatment, your dentist will be able to provide you with a digital preview of your new smile may look by the end of the treatment. The first step in this process is to schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for clear aligners.