Overbites make up nearly 70 percent of dental disorders among children. There are a number of treatments, but a surprising one to many parents is Invisalign. This new option is extremely comfortable and unobtrusive, and can help a significant number of cases.
The fact that 7 in 10 dental disorders are overbites, is an eye-opening statistic. No wonder there is a wide range of available treatments. We want to explain the various treatment options, but before we do, let’s take a look at the types of overbites.
Two primary types of overbites exist: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal overbites are classified as teeth that jut out in front of the bottom teeth. Vertical overbites occur when the top teeth significantly overlap the bottom teeth.
Although they look different, both types of overbites have a lot in common. Each is caused by skeletal or dental issues. Dental, or teeth overbites mean the teeth are the problem, while skeletal overbites indicate the jaw is to blame. Whether the overbite is dental or skeletal can have a big impact on treatment.
The cause of overbites is often hereditary, but they also stem from poor childhood oral habits, such as nail biting, tongue thrusting, and prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use. The early developmental stage is when the majority of jaw growth takes place, so these bad habits can result in uneven growth.
Once an overbite has developed, it can cause several physical ailments, not to mention psychological issues associated with self-consciousness. Here are some of the primary physical issues caused by overbites:
- Speech impediments, such as lisps
- Problems chewing and eating
- Jaw pain caused by strained jaw and muscles
- Worn tooth enamel, leading to cavities and gum disease
- Higher risk of front tooth damage given their overly rominent position in the mouth
- Soft tissue damage from bottom teeth knocking against the roof of the mouth
Now let’s get into some treatment options, beginning with one of the newest – Invisalign.
Invisalign – A Transparent, Retainer-like Alternative to Braces
Invisalign is a treatment option that relies on transparent, retainer-like aligners to shift teeth into place. You wear the aligners for no less than 22 hours per day, changing them every two weeks to a new pair that will continue shifting your teeth. The treatment typically takes nine months to a year.
Invisalign straightens teeth, but can it treat overbites? To a certain extent, yes. As long as your overbite isn’t overly severe, Invisalign can customize a treatment plan that will shift your teeth, jawline or both, to fix your overbite.
Furthermore, Invisalign recently added the Precision Cuts option to its arsenal, which incorporates elastic bands into its treatment. In the past, the lack of elastics used to be the missing component that prevented Invisalign from treating more advanced bite problems.
However, by attaching elastic bands to your top and bottom aligners, Invisalign can now tackle more overbite issues than ever.
While advancements like Precision Cut allow Invisalign to take on more advanced cases, it’s still not equipped to handle extremely severe overbites. For these cases, alternative and sometimes more invasive procedures are necessary.
Treatments Beyond Invisalign
If your overbite is overly severe, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that you are unlikely to be a candidate for Invisalign. The good news is there are several other treatments that can fix your overbite.
- Braces: Braces use a two-stage process and are still the most common treatment for overbites. In stage one, metal brackets are fastened to the patient’s teeth and then connected with a metal wire to straighten and align teeth.Once your teeth are straight, your orthodontist will focus on fixing your overbite. In stage two, rubber bands, coils and springs are added to the braces to slowly shift your jawline into place. The entire treatment can range from six months to two years.The downside with braces is that they make dental hygiene tougher than with Invisalign. Because Invisalign can be removed for brushing and flossing teeth, it is much easier to prevent tooth decay and gum problems than with braces.Another downside is their lack of transparency. However, if you want an alternative to metal braces, it’s worth checking out clear, ceramic braces. These braces work the same way as metal braces, but the brackets are clear or match the color of your teeth. Unfortunately, you tend to pay a bit more for this treatment.
- Tooth extractions: To shift your teeth, a certain amount of space is required to anticipate their movement. However, if you have overly crowded teeth, there may not be enough space for teeth to properly shift.
In these cases, you may require tooth extractions to allow the teeth to shift more freely. Once the extraction is complete, your orthodontist should be able to shift your teeth as usual with braces.
- Surgery: In extreme cases and when an overbite is skeletal, surgery may be required to reposition the jaw. This is more likely to occur in adult patients, as it is easier to shift children’s jaws because they are still developing.There are varying degrees of overbites and various treatments to fix them. Even if your case is too advanced for Invisalign, there are plenty of other options. Luckily, in today’s age of oral care, it’s not about if there’s a treatment to fix your overbite. It’s about finding the right one.
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