Overbite Correction With Clear Aligners

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Pierce Willans
Written by
Pierce Willans
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Evidence Based
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7 sources cited
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What is an Overbite?

An overbite is when your upper front teeth extend significantly beyond your lower front teeth in a vertical-plane overlap. Most of the time, it can be addressed with clear aligner treatment.

An overbite is necessary because upper teeth need to overlap lower teeth, but it shouldn’t be more than 2 to 3 mm

An overbite is different from an overjet. An overjet occurs when there is excessive horizontal space between the upper front teeth and lower front teeth. 

Many people with moderate to severe overbites also have an overjet. Both can be treated with orthodontics at the same time. 

Other overbite symptoms include:

  • Discomfort when eating
  • Jaw pain
  • Speech impediments
  • Difficulty fully opening or closing the mouth

Overbites can happen at any age, from children to teenagers to adults. A few causes of overbites include:

  • Nail biting
  • Chewing on objects (e.g., ice or pens)
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Teeth crowding
  • Irregularly shaped jaws due to genetics (also known as skeletal overbites)

Overbites can be addressed through a variety of treatments, including clear aligners. 

Read on to learn more about whether clear aligner treatment is right for you.

Do I Need to Fix an Overbite?

Technically, most people have overbites, but they’re moderate — 2 to 4mm. Overbites of 4 to 6mm or greater need orthodontic treatment.

The main reason to fix an overbite is cosmetic. Overbites negatively affect your appearance and can make you self-conscious. Many people with overbites dislike having their picture taken and avoid smiling with teeth in photos.

Overbites can also cause dental issues. Due to being misaligned, teeth can contact the wrong parts of the mouth. This can lead to worn down enamel, enamel erosion, gum damage, and tooth decay.

Other overbite risks include: 

Can Clear Aligners Correct an Overbite?

In most cases, clear aligners can fix an overbite. However, in severe cases other options may be better. Two clear aligner brands for overbite treatment are Candid and Invisalign

Candid is an at-home aligner that can treat mild-to-moderate overbites. Unlike other aligner brands, it works exclusively with licensed orthodontists (teeth-straightening experts). 

Candid also has studios in over 10 states, so in-person consultations are possible.

Invisalign is the most well-known aligner brand. Like Candid, Invisalign has in-person offices. But unlike Candid, Invisalign treatment is only monitored in person and cannot be ordered online. 

Invisalign can treat more severe cases of overbite than Candid.

Invisalign patients typically wear elastic bands to help create an even and harmonious bite. The elastics assist in correcting the jaw discrepancy caused by an overbite.

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How Do Aligners Work?

Both at-home and in-office aligners work by taking measurements of your mouth and teeth alignment. 

Once those measurements are made (usually through putty or digital scans), a series of aligners are made to fit your teeth.

Aligners are worn for between 20 and 22 hours every day (only taken out for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing). During that time, they apply gentle pressure to realign your teeth. Your jaw bone responds by shifting as your teeth move. 

How Long Does it Take for Aligners to Fix an Overbite?

This depends on the severity of the overbite. 

In general, aligner treatment for overbites takes between 9 to 12 months (though 20 months is possible). People who wear their aligners less than the recommended amount of time will require longer treatment times.

When Are Clear Aligners the Wrong Choice?

Those with severe overbites may not be the best candidates for clear aligner treatment. 

This is particularly the case with adults because overbites tend to get worse with age. Unlike children, adult jaws are no longer developing. 

In cases like this, traditional metal braces or discreet ceramic braces may be a better option. Braces exert more force to move teeth than aligners. They remain the most common treatment for overbites.

Cases where there are multiple forms of malocclusion (teeth alignment issues) at once may also require alternative treatments.

Always consult your orthodontist on whether clear aligners are right for you.

Alternative Treatment Options

Here are some other alternative treatment options for overbites:

Orthognathic surgery

This is a surgical realignment of the jaw bone. It’s usually only done in cases of skeletal overbite. It also often requires braces to be worn prior, during, and after the procedure.

Orthodontic headgear

This is usually only for children because their jaws are still growing and can be redirected. An appliance is used to delay the growth of the upper jaw or redirect the growth of the lower jaw. They are also often used with braces.

Tooth extractions

Some people have crowded teeth in addition to an overbite. Tooth extractions may be needed in these cases to allow room for the rest of the teeth to re-align.

Summary

  • Clear aligners are an effective form of treatment for most overbites.
  • Overbites of 4 to 6mm or greater should be treated.
  • Untreated overbites may lead to complications.
  • Candid and Invisalign are two recommended aligner options.
  • Treating overbites with clear aligners takes between 9 to 12 months.
  • Severe overbites, skeletal overbites, and overbites in young children and adults may require other options.
  • Alternative treatments include braces, surgery, headgear, and tooth extractions.

Resources

Candid. “Why wouldn’t someone be a candidate for Candid clear aligners?www.candidco.com.

Cleveland Clinic. “Overbite.my.clevelandclinic.org.

Dentistry for Madison. “Invisalign, Braces, or Surgery – Which is Best to Fix Your Overbite?www.dentistryformadison.com, 2016.

Fine Orthodontics. “Can You Fix an Overbite With Invisalign?www.fineorthodontics.com.au.

Invisalign. “Overbite.www.invisalign.com.

Oakdale Kids Dentist and Orthodontics. “Why Correcting An Overbite Is Important.http://www.oakdalekidsdentist.com/, 2016.

Schur Orthodontics. “How Do Clear Aligners Straighten Teeth? (Read This Before Treatment).www.schurorthodontics.com, 2018.

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