Person putting an Invisalign clear aligner tray on teethShare on Pinterest
Javier Zayas Photography/Getty Images

Invisalign has been a popular alternative to traditional braces since it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998. The custom clear plastic trays stay in your mouth most of the day.

There are multiple options for clear aligners on the market, of which Invisalign is just one brand. Like braces, aligner trays make small adjustments to your teeth over time to improve alignment and spacing.

Correcting overbites is a common reason people use aligners. If you have an overbite, it means your upper teeth extend too far past your lower teeth. People might seek to fix an overbite for cosmetic reasons, or because it’s irritating their teeth, gums, or tongue.

Current data, including research from 2017, indicates that Invisalign can be successfully used to correct mild to moderate overbites. The time needed to correct an overbite with Invisalign varies per person. If your overbite is severe, your orthodontist may recommend traditional braces instead.

In this article, we’ll explain how Invisalign works on an overbite compared to traditional braces, so you can make the right choice for your smile.

The main appeal of Invisalign is its transparency and lack of bulky hardware. While not completely invisible, Invisalign is much less obvious in the mouth than metal braces, and many find it more comfortable as well.

Invisalign aligners are custom-made, removable plastic trays that are worn for at least 20 to 22 hours daily. The trays are swapped out weekly or biweekly for new ones. Each tray differs slightly from the ones worn before.

Your orthodontist adjusts your trays by subtly increasing the amount of force placed on your teeth. The pressure slowly increases as treatment progresses, moving teeth into proper alignment and correcting your bite over time.

Just like traditional braces, the amount of time it takes for Invisalign to work is determined by the condition of your teeth, the severity of your overbite, and the amount of work required to achieve alignment.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • according to Invisalign, patients can expect to wear their aligners for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years
  • if you take your aligners out for more than 2 hours daily, you will most likely need to wear them for a longer period of time. Aligners need to be taken out for meals and teeth brushing, and should be worn overnight
  • after Invisalign treatment is complete, you’ll continue to wear a retainer to ensure your teeth stay in their new, correct alignment

Your retainer gives your jawbone ample time to regain the bone tissue it needs to anchor teeth in place. Without a retainer, your teeth may move back to their original position. Your orthodontist will determine how long you will need a retainer, as well as how many hours a day you should wear it.

Rubber bands aid orthodontic treatment by placing additional pressure on teeth to move in a specific direction. When they’re used in orthodontia, rubber bands are sometimes referred to as elastics.

Elastics aren’t just for traditional braces — they may be used with Invisalign aligners to fix an overbite. Your orthodontist may determine that wearing elastics in conjunction with aligners will quicken or improve treatment.

Your orthodontist will use a tooth-colored bonding material directly on certain teeth, to form a button, or latch. Each rubber band will be attached to one button on a top tooth, and one button on a bottom tooth.

To correct overbites, buttons are usually placed onto the upper canines and lower molars.

Deciding between traditional braces and Invisalign can be challenging, and each has pros and cons. Both vary regarding treatment speed, appearance, and cost.

The most significant determinants may be those you have no control over — the severity of your overbite and whether you have dental issues which may need correcting.

Let’s go over some key factors at play in making a decision for the future of your teeth.

Length of treatment

The amount of time you’ll need braces versus aligners isn’t set in stone. Your orthodontist can help give you estimates for each.

While Invisalign estimates the average treatment duration at 6 months to 2 years, traditional braces are worn on average for 1 to 3 years.

While aligners often require a shorter treatment span than traditional braces, 2019 research indicates that they are less effective at producing significant improvement. This means Invisalign may be the appropriate choice for mild to moderate overbites, while braces are more equipped to handle severe ones.

Appearance

Invisalign’s aligners may be a more pleasing aesthetic choice, as they are nearly transparent on your teeth. This is one of the reasons why they’re so popular with adults.

If you believe wearing braces will cause you to smile less or hide your mouth more, they may not be a good choice for you.

Less-obtrusive ceramic braces and lingual braces, which are worn on the backs of teeth, may also be a more aesthetic option.

For children, getting to pick and choose the color of their braces may be appealing.

Price

The cost of Invisalign may also be a factor. The price for Invisalign can range from around $3,000 to $7,000. Braces are sometimes less expensive than Invisalign, although both treatments are often covered or partially covered by dental insurance.

Other factors may determine the cost of both treatments, such as your geographic area and the orthodontist you choose.

Lifestyle habits

Invisalign comes with specific daily responsibilities that some people may find inconvenient.

Unlike braces, aligners must be taken off to eat, as they stain easily. This actually benefits your oral hygiene, since it’s easier to clean your teeth every day by taking the aligners off instead of working around braces. Traditional braces also prevent you from enjoying foods that get stuck in their hardware, like gum, popcorn, and nuts.

Invisalign may not be appropriate for you if you forget to put them in, take them out often, or lose them. Many clear plastic trays find their way into the washing machine or are left accidentally in the hot sun.

For Invisalign to work, you must make sure to wear the trays as directed and store them properly. For this reason, some people prefer braces, which can’t be removed at home or lost.

Having an overbite is more than just an aesthetic concern. Overbites can cause jaw pain, tooth damage, and even cause you to cut your tongue.

Remember that age can play a role in your mouth and jaw’s adaptability. Addressing an overbite sooner rather than later may shorten the length of your treatment.

If you have an overbite and are interested in options for adjusting your teeth, reach out to your dentist or an orthodontist. They can recommend the best treatment based upon your teeth, budget, and goals.

Invisalign, which is one popular type of aligner on the market, has been shown in studies to be effective at correcting mild to moderate overbites. Severe overbites and other dental conditions may be treated more effectively with traditional braces.

Invisalign may take less time to correct mild or moderate overbites than braces. They are also less obvious when worn, though some people may require the addition of rubber bands to achieve their treatment goals.

It’s essential to wear the aligners as directed for best results. For both traditional braces and Invisalign, you’ll need a personalized treatment plan to fit your specific teeth.