Crossbite is a fairly common dental issue for a lot of adults today (it’s not as common as overbite or underbite, though). There are technically a bunch of different kinds of crossbite, but here’s what they all have in common: some of the top teeth fall inside the arch of teeth below it, and some fall outside it. In an “ideal” smile, the top and bottom arches line up almost perfectly.
Crossbite occurs for a lot of reasons, but genetics is usually the primary contributor. In other cases, the crossbite emerges because the adult teeth took too long to show up, the jawbone is misshapen, or habits like thumbsucking lasted too late into childhood.
Typically, crossbite only causes medical issues when it’s severe, but complications can occur. For example, your crossbite can contribute to teeth misalignments, worn enamel (due to grinding your teeth at night), and in rare cases, bacteria build-up. Some people don’t like how their crossbite makes their smile look, either.
With today’s advanced dentistry, there are lots of different ways to fix a crooked smile. Invisalign is one of the most well-known ones. But can Invisalign fix crossbite? In this guide, we’ll cover everything there is to know about Invisalign and crossbites.
How Does Invisalign Work to Fix Crossbite?
Can Invisalign fix a crossbite? The short answer is, yes! Invisalign is one of the dental industry’s best methods for treating bite issues, crossbite included. But how quickly and efficiently Invisalign does correct your crossbite depends on what caused it to begin with.
In general, there are two main causes of crossbite: the teeth themselves are misaligned when they emerge, or the jawbone is misshapen, causing the teeth not to line up. Thankfully, Invisalign can treat both causes of crossbite.
Technically speaking, Invisalign and braces are equally effective methods to treat a crossbite because they accomplish the same thing. But instead of using brackets and wires, Invisalign uses clear trays that are molded to match your teeth, and by wearing your aligners, you gradually move your teeth into new, aligned positions.
But Invisalign actually takes it a step further: they offer elastics and their proprietary tooth-colored add-ons called SmartForce attachments. These can be fixed directly to your teeth, exerting more force on your teeth than clear aligners alone. That extra “oomph” allows Invisalign to move both your teeth and, if needed, your jaw itself. That’s why Invisalign can fix most bite issues.
Of course, your new perfect smile comes with a price: you’ll have to endure a little discomfort and wear your aligners religiously. If you don’t, your treatment won’t be effective. A lot of people like the convenience of removing their aligners to eat, drink, and clean their teeth. But if you’d be tempted to take them out in order to reduce your discomfort, then you may want to choose a more permanent method like traditional or clear braces.
How Long Will Invisalign Take To Correct My Crossbite?
That’s a good question, and it’s a little tough to answer. Everyone’s crossbite is a little different—which of the upper teeth “cross over” the arch below, from the molars to the incisors and the teeth in between. In short, some cases of crossbite are more severe than others.
Because of that, the length of your Invisalign treatment will mostly depend on the severity of your crossbite. If it’s pretty minor, you won’t need to use Invisalign for an extended period of time. Crossbites caused by misaligned jaws are much tougher to correct. In those cases, your orthodontist will need plenty of time to pull your jaw into a proper position (typically using Invisalign’s Smartforce attachments and elastics).
That said, in general, most people can expect to wear their Invisalign aligners for 12 to 18 months. That’s the time it typically takes to move your teeth and your jaw as needed. There’s an exception, though. If you’re a candidate for Invisalign Express (essentially a smaller, cheaper version of Invisalign), your average treatment will last just 6 months.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Crossbite With Invisalign?
Let’s be clear: whatever method you use to correct your smile, you’ll be making a significant investment. A perfect smile doesn’t come cheap, and Invisalign is no exception.
Since Invisalign is administered in person by individual orthodontists, it’s tough to nail down an exact price for Invisalign treatment.
Of course, your orthodontist will charge you for the aligners themselves, but they will also add on the labor costs of preparing your aligners, your check-up appointments, and so on. Those fees vary from one orthodontist to another. On average, though, most people spend between $3,000 to $8,000 for Invisalign.
Naturally, a crossbite caused by a misaligned or misshapen jaw will take more time to correct, and in turn, it’ll cost you more, too. That’s because your orthodontist will need to add attachments and elastics into your treatment regimen. Plus, you’ll need more aligners with a tougher case, and the more aligners you need, the higher the price will be (that’s different from home aligners, which are typically a uniform price point, regardless of how many aligners you need).
Can I Use an At-Home Clear Aligner Like Smile Direct Instead?
Ultimately, it depends on your specific case. Compared to home-based clear aligners like Byte and Smile Direct Club, Invisalign is a more powerful method that can correct nearly any crossbite. At-home clear aligner products can correct some crossbites, but not all.
Why? Because crossbites are caused by two primary issues: the teeth themselves don’t line up, or the jaw bone isn’t aligned correctly. Moving the jaw so it lines up is possible, but it (understandably) requires more force. Home teeth aligners can only exert force on the teeth themselves, not the jaw. Invisalign—with the help of attachments added by your dentist—can do both. So, Invisalign is more effective at correcting moderate-to-severe bite issues than home teeth aligners.
That said, home-based clear aligners are much more convenient and affordable than Invisalign, so they’re worth considering if you only have a minor crossbite.
The Best Home-Based Clear Aligners For Crossbite
Smile Direct may be the most well-known home-based aligner company, but they’re honestly not our first pick. Our two favorite home-based clear aligners are Byte and Candid. Both are younger than Smile Direct and Invisalign, but they’ve already proved themselves as effective treatment methods for minor cosmetic cases of malocclusion and crossbite.
Our all-time favorite home aligner is Byte. They’re an all-around good option. And if you’re eager to see your perfect smile, Byte has the shortest treatment lengths on the market; most treatments last just 4 months. In contrast, most other home aligner companies last 6 months.
Those short treatment lengths are largely thanks to Byte’s HyperByte device. Some orthodontists will offer a similar contraption at extra charge, but Byte includes it as a complimentary part of your treatment. Here’s how it works: you use the HyperByte for approximately five minutes a day. The HyperByte sends gentle, microscopic vibrations through your teeth and up to your roots. Not only does this help shift your teeth, but it also stimulates blood flow and helps reduce your treatment discomfort.
The HyperByte system is one of the main reasons Byte is our favorite treatment for mild cases of dental crossbite. The high frequency vibration therapy keeps things quick and (relatively) painless.
Candid began as a fully remote clear aligner provider, but has recently shifted to “CanidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment option. Your treatment will be administered by a local dentist in the Candid network, and overseen remotely thanks to the sophisticated CandidMonitoring system.
Using your smartphone and a special imaging device included in your treatment bundle, you can upload progress photos to the Candid app every 10-14 days. The Candid team and/or your dentist will review these images, and make any necessary tweaks to your treatment. In some cases, you may be given the go-ahead to switch a near aligner early. This high level of oversight has the potential to shorten your treatment length a bit.
If you’re interested in the convenience of home aligners, but want the robust oversight of in-office care, look no further than Candid for correcting a mild case of crossbite.
Candid and Byte are our favorite home aligner companies, but they aren’t the only options, either. If you’re considering home aligners to treat your crossbite, check out our comparison of the top home aligner services.
When it comes to choosing a treatment method, we urge you to carefully consider all your options, and why you feel the need to correct your crossbite to begin with. Crossbite might make your smile look a little different, but odds are most people don’t even notice. So remember, whether you correct your crossbite or leave it be, your future is still bright!
Thankfully, you have time on your side (since crossbite rarely causes medical issues, you don’t have to rush to fix it). Since you have that time, our recommendation is to chat with your dentist about the best options for treating your crossbite. And if you’re interested in at-home treatment, consider ordering an impression kit from one of the providers above to see if you’re a candidate!