There is a common misconception that Invisalign cannot be used to fix a bite, or specifically, an overbite. Let’s set the record straight.
This is 100%, categorically, not correct.
Firstly, let’s start by talking about incorrect bites. Many people (incorrectly) refer to a bite where the upper teeth are ahead of the lower teeth as having an “overbite”. This technically should be referred to as having excessive overjet – but for all intents and purposes we will use the term overbite here. An overbite is present usually because the lower jaw is retrusive relative to the upper jaw. Orthodontics cannot significantly change the position of a retruded lower jaw – this is another, longer discussion. Nevertheless, when you do see a lower jaw get significantly longer with orthodontics it is because the patient had a “good” growth spurt that was programmed in their genetics. Orthodontics can help accelerate a growth spurt but studies have shown that the lower jaw ultimately ends up where it would anyways. The net effect of orthodontics is perhaps an additional 1-2 mm but nevertheless, it is important to understand that jaw correction and bite correction are two different things. Perfect jaw position is actually not that common and if the ideal jaw position is desired, jaw surgery as an adult is usually the best option.
It is possible to correct a bite while the jaw position is not significantly affected. That is because, as orthodontists, we can move the teeth within their jaws. That being said, teeth are housed within bone and gums and moving them too far outside can cause issues like gum recession or even tooth loss. The bigger the discrepancy between the jaws, the more likely that the teeth end up at weird angles.
“Overbite” correction involves the orthodontist applying a backward force on the upper teeth and a forward force on the lower teeth. This can be done in many different ways and is independent of an appliance. That is why the “Invisalign cannot fix a bite” statement is completely misguided. Examples of appliances that apply the force listed above are: headgear, elastics, Herbst, MARA, Crossbow, Twin Block, Carriere (although the force comes from the elastics). Braces and Invisalign are simply used to align the teeth – with them we can move teeth forwards, backwards, upwards, downwards but they are not the appliances involved in changing bites.
For example, a common treatment plan we prescribe in our Vaughan office is Invisalign in conjunction with a Carriere appliance. Invisalign also has a cool feature called “Mandibular Advancement” which is basically a Twin Block built into the Invisalign. Again, the mandibular advancement component is what is changing the bite while the Invisalign is straightening the teeth.
To summarize, bite correction can be done with either braces or Invisalign. It is the appliance that is used in conjunction with these that help correct the bite. Orthodontists who say “Invisalign cannot fix bites” simply do not know how to effectively combine these adjunctive appliances with it. Check out some of our results to see many bites that were corrected with Invisalign.