Open bite is a fairly common dental issue in which the top and bottom teeth don’t close completely. Essentially, there’s a vertical gap between the top and bottom teeth. That gap can occur anywhere along the row of teeth—even on the molars—but the most common cases occur at the four front teeth.
Open bites aren’t typically a medical issue, especially when they are minor. However, a lot of people choose to correct their open bite for the sake of their overall oral health. After all, open bites put undue extra stress on the teeth that do connect, causing enamel erosion. Other people might have irregular speech patterns, and some suffer from jaw pain and soreness, too. And understandably, a lot of people don’t like how their open bite makes their smile look, either.
In 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 an open bite? In this guide, we’ll cover everything there is to know about Invisalign and open bites.
How Does Invisalign Work to Fix Open Bite?
Can Invisalign fix an open bite? The short answer is, yes! Invisalign is actually one of the industry’s best options for fixing an open bite.
That said, when you’re considering Invisalign, it’s important to account for what caused your open bite to begin with. In general, there are two causes of open bite. First, the teeth themselves are pushed up (typically by prolonged use of a pacifier or sucking on a thumb for too long). This kind of open bite, called dental open bite, usually vanishes when the baby teeth fall out.
Skeletal open bite is much harder to treat, however. Essentially, as a result of genetics, the jaw bones grow apart from each other (that’s why some professionals call it “long face syndrome”). Thankfully, Invisalign can treat both types of open bite.
Technically speaking, Invisalign and braces are equally effective methods to treat an open bite 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 Open Bite?
That’s a good question, and it’s a little tough to answer. Basically, there’s a positive correlation between the severity of your case and the amount of time you’ll need for your treatment.
For example, if your case is caused by a poorly positioned jaw bone (which is true for a lot of adult cases), then your orthodontist will need to add on attachments and elastics to help move your jaw into its proper position. Naturally, that requires more time.
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 an Open Bite 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 he or she 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.
Just like your treatment time varies depending on the severity of your open bite, so does your price. That’s for a couple reasons. First, your orthodontist will need to add on elastics and Smartforce attachments, which requires additional time and fees from your orthodontist. Additionally, tougher cases require more aligners, which inevitably costs more.
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 open bite. At-home clear aligner products can correct some open bites, but not all.
Why? Because open bites 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 open bite.
The Best Home-Based Clear Aligners For Open Bite
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 open bite.
Our all-time favorite home aligner is Byte. They’re an all-around good option. And if you’re in a rush to see your perfect smile, Byte is the fastest method on the market; most treatments last just 3 months. In contrast, most other home aligner companies last 6 months.
That raw speed is 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 open bite. The high frequency vibration therapy keeps things quick and (relatively) painless.
One of the biggest drawbacks to home aligners is that you don’t get a lot of personalized, one-on-one attention from an orthodontist; you order your aligners, wear them, and perfect your smile with minimal check-ins. That’s not true for Candid, who gets our #2 pick. Through their Remote Monitoring program, Candid’s orthodontists will hold regular virtual check-ups with you. You’ll get regular orthodontist oversight, but you still get the convenience of at-home treatment. For us, that’s a win-win.
Here’s how it works: on a regular basis, your orthodontist will send you an alert that it’s time to check in. Using a special imaging device and your smartphone, you’ll send digital scans of your treatment progress. Your orthodontist reviews them to ensure that your treatment is on track. In some cases, he or she will even give you the go-ahead to move on to your next aligner ahead of schedule.
Candid is a bit pricier than some of their competitors, but we think the Remote Monitoring program is worth the extra cost. That’s especially true if you have an open bite complicating your treatment process. The more complicated your case, the more important it is to have a professional looking out for your smile. And Candid gives you just that.
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 open bite, check out our comparison of the top online aligner kits.
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 open bite to begin with. Open bite might make your smile look a little different, but odds are most people don’t even notice. So remember, whether you correct your open bite or leave it be, your future is still bright!
Thankfully, you have time on your side (since open bite 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 open bite. 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!