Can Invisalign Fix Underbite?

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What is Invisalign & How Does it Work?

Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners, which are orthodontic devices used to straighten teeth. Clear aligners are a common alternative to metal braces.

Invisalign clear aligners are made of flexible plastic, based on molds or digital 3D scans of the patient’s mouth. They are FDA-approved and contain no BPA, BPS, latex, or gluten. They are thin, transparent, and fit snugly over the teeth, making them less noticeable than braces. The aligners put pressure on specific parts of the teeth to slowly move them into a better position.

invisalign aligners

Invisalign aligner trays are replaced every one to two weeks. Each replacement tray will feel different because they are designed to continue to shift and move the teeth. Invisalign aligners are orthodontic appliances, not retainers. They are considered orthodontic appliances because they actively move the teeth to shape the mouth and jaw, unlike retainers, which simply hold the teeth in place.

Patients need to wear Invisalign trays for most of the day (20–22 hours/day) to see results. However, the invisalign trays can be easily removed for eating, brushing, flossing, or for special occasions.

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To get Invisalign, patients first need to consult with a dentist or orthodontist, who will look at their smile, overall oral health, and take impressions of their mouth. Then, Invisalign makes their aligners unique to the patient’s mouth for a custom fit. The dentist or orthodontist will then create an overall treatment plan to achieve the patient’s desired results.

Initially developed in 1997, the Invisalign clear aligner system has been used to treat over 9 million patients.

What Can Invisalign Fix and Not Fix?

Invisalign can be a good alternative to conventional orthodontic therapy in correcting mild to moderate malocclusions or poor positioning of the teeth.

Invisalign can treat the following conditions:

  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Gap teeth
  • Open bite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Misaligned baby and permanent teeth

In patients without any of these conditions who only want a more beautiful smile, Invisalign can also be a good solution.

There are some cases in which Invisalign is not a good treatment option, including:

  • Patients with complex malocclusions, especially those that require extractions. In these cases, the results are less accurate than those achieved with traditional metal braces.
  • Patients with tooth decay or gum disease. Braces and aligners like Invisalign can make oral hygiene difficult, and if patients have to have a cavity filled mid-treatment, it could impact the fit of the clear aligners and affect their results.
  • Patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction disorders (TMJ). Invisalign is linked to TMJ problems. In some instances, wearing Invisalign can either exacerbate jaw pain or cause a patient to develop a problem with their TMJ.

Other factors that influence whether a patient would be a candidate for Invisalign include age, which affect teeth movement.

Any patient who is considering Invisalign should set up a consultation with their dentist to determine whether they are a candidate for treatment.

Can Invisalign Fix an Underbite?

An underbite is when the lower front teeth are positioned in front of the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. Many childhood behaviors can lead to an underbite, including thumb sucking, tongue thrusting against the teeth, and using a pacifier for too long. An underbite can also be caused by genetics.

underbite

In simple underbite cases that involve misalignment of the lower teeth, Invisalign can be a solution. However, in other more severe cases, an underbite is caused by the lower jaw being too far forward. A patient with a severe underbite may require orthodontic treatment combined with surgery.

How Long Does it Take to Fix an Underbite with Invisalign?

The length of Invisalign treatment for an underbite depends on multiple factors, including the complexity of the case. A dentist can determine approximately how long the treatment will be by evaluating an individual patient’s needs.

On average, Invisalign treatment time is 12 to 18 months, and patients can start seeing results in a matter of two weeks. 

Pros and Cons of Invisalign for an Underbite

Patients who are considering Invisalign treatment for an underbite should review the following pros and cons.

Using Invisalign for underbite correction offers the following benefits, including:

  • Nearly invisible and not noticeable when smiling
  • Easy to remove when eating or cleaning teeth
  • Similar or shorter treatment duration compared to traditional metal braces
  • Requires fewer visits to the dentist’s office
  • Moves teeth more gradually than conventional metal braces, which may lead to less discomfort

The cons of Invisalign for an underbite include:

  • May be more expensive than braces
  • Can be lost or broken which results in more money and time spent on treatment
  • May cause mouth discomfort and achiness
  • May not achieve acceptable results
  • May also require surgery 

Braces vs. Invisalign for Underbite Correction

Studies show that there is no significant difference between braces and Invisalign in orthodontic effectiveness. Both clear aligners and braces were effective in treating malocclusion, including an underbite.

When given a choice, patients tend to prefer clear aligners over traditional metal braces because of their superior comfort, esthetic, and ease of oral hygiene. Patients may also choose Invisalign because they tend to have a shorter treatment duration than braces.

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

Several factors contribute to the cost of Invisalign. These factors include:

  • The patient’s specific oral health needs
  • Location
  • The dentist’s time for labor
  • The patient’s insurance plan

The average cost of Invisalign is $3,000–$8,000. Depending on their insurance plan, patients may qualify for up to $3,000 in help from their insurance company.

For comparison, traditional metal bracket braces usually cost $2,000–$6,000.

Payment options for Invisalign include:

  • Using insurance coverage
  • Paying with pre-tax dollars from a health savings account (HSA)
  • Paying with funds from a flexible spending account (FSA)
  • Arranging a monthly payment plan
  • Receiving treatment from a dental school, which offer discounted rates
  • Medicaid and children’s health insurance programs (CHIP) may cover the cost of braces or Invisalign for kids and teens whose need for orthodontics is affecting their overall health.

How to Find the Right Invisalign Doctor Near You

When choosing an Invisalign doctor, patients should consider their Invisalign designation. Invisalign offers four ratings for its providers: Preferred, Premier, Premier Elite, and Diamond Plus. These designations are based on how many patients the doctor has treated with Invisalign. 

While an Invisalign provider’s designation is important, it is just one aspect to consider when choosing where to go. Patients should also consider the cost of services, how they treat their patients, and their comfort level with the doctor when making a decision. 

Many doctors offer a free consultation for patients considering Invisalign, which can help patients who are considering the treatment to select a doctor they are comfortable with before moving forward.

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Resources

“Braces Have Changed, From Metal to Tooth-Colored to Clear.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 17 June 2017, www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/braces-have-changed-metal-tooth-colored-clear

Collins, Allison. “9 Things You Should Definitely Know If You're Considering Invisalign.” Women's Health, Women's Health, 11 June 2019, www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/a19938182/invisalign/

“FAQ.” Invisalign, www.invisalign.com/frequently-asked-questions.

Galan-Lopez L, Barcia-Gonzalez J, Plasencia E. A systematic review of the accuracy and efficiency of dental movements with Invisalign®. Korean J Orthod 2019;49:140-149. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6533182/

 

Ke, Yunyan et al. “A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies.” BMC oral health vol. 19,1 24. 23 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1186/s12903-018-0695-z https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343314/

Papadimitriou, Aikaterini et al. “Clinical effectiveness of Invisalign® orthodontic treatment: a systematic review.” Progress in orthodontics vol. 19,1 37. 28 Sep. 2018, doi:10.1186/s40510-018-0235-z https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6160377/

Weir, T. “Clear Aligners in Orthodontic Treatment.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 14 Mar. 2017, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/adj.12480

Why Choose Invisalign® Treatment? www.invisalign.com

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Updated on: November 18, 2020
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