Patients often ask us if they can fix their overbite with clear aligners. In this blog, our Parksville dentists answer this question and explain why overbites should be corrected as well as the process.
What is an Overbite?
An overbite (also referred to as a deep bite) is when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. While most people have at least a little overbite (where the upper teeth extend over the bottom teeth by 2 to 4mm), it becomes an issue when it starts to cause problems such as wear on your teeth or jaw pain.
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 is what sets them apart from overjets, which is horizontal and makes the upper teeth protrude beyond the bottom teeth at an angle. However, with overbites, there is no angle because the upper teeth remain downward or straight.
How are Overbites Treated?
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 develop if a person had a habit of tongue-thrusting or was able to suck on an object ( usually a pacifier or thumb) for too long as a child.
Chewing things such as nails, erasers, or pens could also lead to an overbite. If a skeletal problem is the cause of an overbite we do not recommend having it corrected with clear aligners.
Why Should I Fix My Overbite?
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 Can Clear Aligners Fix Help My Overbite?
Clear aligners help correct mild or moderate overbites (if they aren't caused by skeletal problems, which would probably require surgery) by applying constant pressure to the teeth.
Clear aligners are able to:
- 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 can shift your teeth into their corrected, prescribed locations, giving you a straighter, more symmetrical smile. The clear aligners also move your gums at the same time, to help keep the proportions in line.
You’ll have to wear your clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day, taking them out to drink, eat, brush, and floss your teeth. The series of clear aligners will progressively move your teeth, and you’ll have to switch to a new set approximately every 2 weeks. Your custom treatment plan could include wearing as many as 26 trays, which totals up to one tray every 2 weeks for one year.
Before starting your treatment, your dentist can show you a digital preview of what your smile could look like once your treatment is over. But first, you will have to schedule a consultation with your dentist to find out if you are a candidate for clear aligners.