Patients often ask our dentists in Port Moody whether clear aligners can help fix an overbite. While the short answer is yes, we should first examine what an overbite is, why it should be fixed and what the process entails.
An overbite (also referred to as a deep bite) occurs when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. While most people will have at least a small overbite (where the upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by 2 to 3 mm), it can become a problem when the normal 2 to 4 mm is extended to 4 to 6 mm or greater. This can cause issues such as jaw pain or wear on your teeth. In these instances, the condition will require correction.
You might hear your dentist describe overbites in terms of percentage, A range of 5 to 25 percent is optimal.
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 to Correct an Overbite
When the upper teeth significantly cover the bottom teeth, this condition needs to be treated to prevent excessive wear, chipping or cracking in teeth.
Overbites occur most often because the lower jaw is just a bit smaller than the upper jaw, resulting in the lower teeth resting behind the upper teeth and moving downwards as wear on your teeth happens. You'll start to notice more gum showing on your upper teeth. Your upper front teeth are situated slightly lower than the teeth beside them (upper side teeth or canines).
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 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 the underlying cause.
Why an Overbite Should be Repaired
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 Fix an Overbite
Clear aligners can be used to correct 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 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.
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.