Midline misalignment is a fairly common dental issue in which the front teeth are slightly off-center compared to the rest of the facial structure. In an “ideal” smile, the teeth fall directly in line with the nose. But for any number of reasons—overcrowding or an off-centered jaw, for instance—a midline misalignment can appear.
Thankfully, a midline misalignment rarely causes any serious issues if you decide not to treat it. That said, midline misalignments 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 midline misalignment 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 a midline misalignment? In this guide, we’ll cover everything there is to know about Invisalign and midline misalignments.
How Does Invisalign Work to Fix Midline Misalignment?
Can Invisalign fix a midline misalignment? The short answer is, yes! Invisalign is one of the most versatile treatment options on the market today. They can handle nearly any orthodontic case, midline misalignments included. In all honesty, though, midline misalignment is usually such a minor issue that Invisalign is not the most cost-effective method (more on this in a moment).
That said, Invisalign can treat any case of midline misalignment regardless of the cause, and it’s worth noting that there are two primary causes of midline misalignment. The majority of cases of midline misalignment occur because the teeth are overcrowded or just emerge in the wrong positions. Those are straightforward to correct. The tougher cases are midline misalignments caused by the bone structure. Thankfully, Invisalign can treat both causes.
Technically speaking, Invisalign and braces are equally effective methods to treat a midline misalignment (or any type of bite issue, honestly) 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 Midline Misalignment?
That’s a good question, and it’s a little tough to answer. The length of your treatment ultimately depends on how tough your case is to begin with.
People who have a midline misalignment caused by overcrowding (or any incorrect positioning of the teeth, for that matter) will have a much shorter treatment time than someone with a skeletal midline misalignment. It takes a lot more time to move the jaw than it does the teeth.
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 as needed (plus your jaw, if necessary). Many cases of midline misalignment are pretty minor, so you can reasonably expect your treatment to fall closer to that 12-month range. There’s also another option: Invisalign Express (essentially a smaller, cheaper version of Invisalign); the average treatment with Express lasts just 6 months.
A lot of people with midline misalignments are good candidates for Invisalign Express. That said, most dentists and orthodontists will be more likely to offer Invisalign Full over Express.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Midline Misalignment 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.
If your midline misalignment is caused by your jaw’s shape or position, you can reasonably expect to pay more than someone who just needs their teeth straightened. That’s because your orthodontist will need to install extra attachments and elastics to shift the jaw back. Those installations take extra time, which in turn raises your price tag.
Thankfully, most cases of midline misalignment are pretty minor, and they’re usually pretty simple to correct. Provided your midline misalignment is only dental, you’ll probably pay closer to the $3,000 mark. But ultimately it depends on your case and your orthodontist’s fees.
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 midline misalignment. At-home clear aligner products can correct some midline misalignments, but not all.
Why? Because midline misalignments 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. They’re usually a great option for cases of midline misalignment, especially if that’s your only dental issue.
The Best Home-Based Clear Aligners For Midline Misalignment
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 midline misalignment.
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 offers 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 midline misalignment. 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 mild cases of midline misalignment.
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 midline misalignment to begin with. Midline misalignment might make your smile look a little different, but odds are most people don’t even notice. So remember, whether you correct your midline misalignment or leave it be, your future is still bright!
Thankfully, you have time on your side (since midline misalignment 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 midline misalignment. 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!