Our team gets asked frequently if clear aligners can help with an overbite. And the answer is yes they can. Today our dentists in Edmonton explain what an overbite is, the importance of having it fixed, and the process for getting them corrected.
What are Overbites?
An overbite can also be called a deep bite and it happens when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. Lots of people can have a small overbite (where their upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by approximately 2mm to 4mm, this can become a problem when it starts to cause issues such as jaw pain and wear on your teeth.
Overbites develop when the normal 2mm to 4 mm is extended to 4mm to 6mm or greater, at this time the condition will have to be fixed. Your dentist might talk about overbites using percentages. 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.
How Can Overbites be 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 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 was allowed to suck on an object - most often a thumb or pacifier - for too long as a child.
Chewing on items such as erasers, pens, or even biting your nails could cause an overbite. We do not recommend using clear aligners to correct overbites caused by a skeletal issue.
Why You Need to Have Your Overbite 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 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 Help Your 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
The pressure added by your clear aligners will shift your teeth into their new, prescribed positions, giving you a straighter, and more symmetrical smile. The clear aligners will also move your gums at the same time, to keep the proportions in line.
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 even start your treatment, your dentist will show you a digital preview of how your new smile should look at the end of your treatment. The first step will be to book a consultation with your dentist to learn if clear aligners are right for you.