Braces can be hard on a teenager's self-image, but the long-term benefits for both self-confidence and health make them worth the temporary angst. If your teen has an overbite, you may be wondering if they can use one of the invisible options, like Invisalign, instead of traditional braces. The following can help you better understand this option.
What are the issues with an overbite?
An overbite causes the top teeth to just forward, so the upper tooth surfaces don't line up with the bottom teeth. This can make it difficult for some people to chew or even to talk properly. Severe overbites may make it difficult to fully close the mouth, which means issues like dry mouth (which can increase tooth decay concerns) are more of a problem. There may also be issues with jaw pain due to the way the teeth and bone are positioned. Finally, an overbite may have cosmetic repercussions.
How do braces affect an overbite?
Traditional braces use a two-step process to fix an overbite. In the first stage, the brackets and wires are attached. These pull the teeth into alignment with their neighbors, providing the "straight smile." In the second stage, rubber bands, coils, and additional wires are placed on the braces to slowly pull the jaw backward and into better alignment. This is an incremental process, with adjustments performed every few weeks until the top mandible is aligned properly.
What are the invisible options for overbite treatment?
Invisible or clear braces used to be a solution only for crooked teeth, but modern versions have been developed that work for overbite treatment as well. Regular invisible braces, which consist of clear trays that fit over the teeth and force them into proper alignment in small increments, can be used to treat minor overbites. There are also trays available with incorporated rubber bands, which allows them to pull more severe overbites back into the proper alignment.
Will treatment take longer with invisible options?
Treatment length depends on the individual and the severity of the overbite. With minor overbites, the treatment length for invisible braces is usually the same as for traditional braces if the aligner trays are worn for the prescribed hours each day and changed every two weeks or as prescribed. It may take a little longer to fully correct a major overbite with clear braces, though.
Options like Invisalign can help protect your teen's self-image and confidence, so don't hesitate to reach out to your dentist to learn more.