The dentists at our Burnaby dental office are often asked about whether or not an overbite can be fixed using clear aligners. The answer is yes, but before making a decision about treatment let us explain what an overbite is, why it requires repair and what this process involves.
Overbites (sometimes call deep bites) are when a patient's upper front teeth overlap with their lower front teeth. While many people have a small overbite of between 2 and 4 millimeters, it becomes an issue when it begins to cause teeth to wear or jaws to hurt.
This can begin to occur when the normal range of healthy overbites extends to anywhere between 4 and 6 millimeters. At that point, the overbite will require correction. You may hear your dentist describing overbites in terms of percentages to. In those cases, a health overbite is between 5 and 25 percent.
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 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 an overbite is that a person's lower jaw is slightly smaller than their upper jaw. This means that the lower teeth rest behind the upper teeth and as you bite down, your teeth will wear down. You may also notice that more gum tend to show on the upper teeth, since 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 erasers, pens or even nail biting can contribute to this problem. It isn't recommended to use clear aligner, however, when a skeletal problem is at fault for an overbite.
Why an Overbite Should be Fixed
With overbites, the chances of wear on your teeth over time increases significantly as your teeth make contact with one another as you open and close your mouth. In the long term, they will become 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 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 that is applied by clear aligners will move your teeth into their prescribed and corrected positions, leaving you with a striaghter and symmetrical smile. Clear aligners can also move your gums at the same time, keeping the proportions of your mouth 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 start your treatment, your dentist will be able to show you a digital preview of how your new smile may appear by the end ofyour clear aligner treatment. The first step tot his process is a consultation with your dentist to discover if clear aligners are a suitable treatment option for you.