People often ask our Cornwall dentists if clear aligners can be used to fix their overbites. While the short answer may be yes, you first need to understand what overbites are and why it's important to fix them.
What are Overbites?
An overbite (also known as a deep bite) is when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. Even though the majority of people have a small overbite (when the upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by 2 to 4mm), it turns into a problem when it starts causing jaw pain or wear on your teeth.
This occurs when the normal 2 to 4 mm is extended to 4 to 6mm or more, this is when it has to be corrected. You may hear your dentist explain your overbite using percentages. A range of 5 to 25 percent is ideal.
The vertical character of an overbite differentiates it from an overjet, which is horizontal and makes the upper teeth protrude beyond the bottom teeth on an angle. Although with overbites, there aren't any angles because the upper teeth stay downward or straight.
Ways to Fix Your 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).
Patients can develop overbites if they have had a tongue-thrusting problem or sucked on an object - generally a thumb or pacifier - for too long when they were 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 Fix Your Overbite Should be Fixed
You have a higher chance of causing wear on your teeth if you have an overbite because your teeth touch each other every time you open and close your mouth. Your teeth could get shorter and thinner, as a result of this condition.
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
If you have a mild or moderate overbite (not caused by skeletal problems, which would likely require surgery) clear aligners may be used to fix your condition, by applying continuous pressure to your 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 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.