An overbite can mean 2 different things. To the orthodontist/dentist, it means the vertical overlap between the upper and lower front teeth.
A deep overbite means the upper and lower teeth overlap each other vertically by more than the normal amounts and it can sometimes be hard to see the lower teeth, while an insufficient overbite means the upper and lower teeth are not overlapping each other enough especially in an anterior open bite where the upper and lower teeth are not overlapping at all.
To most of my patients, an overbite may also be thought of as protruding upper front teeth, this is a common term used to describe upper front teeth that sit further in front than its lower counterpart in the horizontal dimension.
Both types of overbites whether in the vertical or horizontal dimension can be managed by the Invisalign appliance. As most of my patients refer to an overbite as protruding upper front teeth, let me address that more in detail. An overbite can be managed with Invisalign by a few ways, namely:
- Expansion of the arch sideways such that there is some extra space for the front teeth to be drawn inwards.
- Interproximal reduction where modest amounts of tooth structure between the front teeth are shaved off to create some space for the front teeth to be pushed backwards.
- Distalisation where teeth are moved backwards, this may involve removing the wisdom teeth to create the space for teeth to travel backwards.
- Elastic bite jump, this is the effect most commonly used in young growing patients where elastics are worn together with the Invisalign appliance to encourage the growth of the lower jaw and movement of the teeth to correct the increased distance between the upper and lower front teeth.
- Extraction. Sometimes the distance between the upper and lower teeth is too great and there is also associated lip protrusion. The best method to effect both the teeth as well as the lip is to create sufficient space for the front teeth to be retracted backwards.
It is best to arrange a consultation with your orthodontist/dentist, who can best advise you based on your clinical presentation on the treatment goals and recommend the best type of appliance for your needs.