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Palo Alto, CA
2290 Birch St, Ste A, Palo Alto, CA 94306.
(650) 503-6777
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Redwood City, CA
81 Birch Street, Redwood City, CA 94062.
(650)-345-5300
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Santa Clara, CA
1394 Franklin St, Santa Clara, CA 95050.
(408)-246-6030
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Can Clear Aligners Fix Overbites and Other Bite Problems?

Clear aligners have revolutionized the field of orthodontics, offering an innovative and discreet way to straighten teeth without using traditional metal braces. But can clear aligners fix overbites and other bite problems? 

Overbite Explained

An overbite is usually a condition in which the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth vertically. In other words, when a person with an overbite closes their mouth, the upper front teeth cover a significant portion of the lower front teeth. This can cause the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth and sometimes result in the lower teeth hitting the back of the upper teeth.

An overbite can result from many factors, including genetics, thumb-sucking during childhood, or a mismatch in the size of the upper and lower jawbones. Some people may also develop an overbite due to habits such as nail-biting or chewing on pens, which can cause the upper front teeth to move forward and the lower front teeth to move backward.

In some cases, an overbite may not cause any issues, and the individual may not even be aware that they have one. However, if the overbite is severe, it can lead to several dental problems. For example, it may cause excessive wear on the teeth, gum irritation, and even difficulty speaking and eating. Overbites can also cause aesthetic concerns, as the upper teeth may appear excessively prominent, while the lower teeth may appear small or recessed.

Can Clear Aligners Correct Overbites?

Clear aligners are an effective treatment alternative for correcting overbites, as they can gradually shift the position of the teeth and jaws to achieve a more harmonious bite. 

During treatment, the clear aligners will apply gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position. The aligners must be changed every two weeks or so to ensure that the teeth continue moving in the right direction.

In some cases, additional appliances such as rubber bands may be required to correct more severe overbites. Your orthodontist will be able to assess your individual needs and determine the best course of treatment for your specific case.

What Other Bite Problems Can Clear Aligners Fix?

In addition to overbites, clear aligners can also correct a range of other bite issues, including:

Underbites

An underbite usually occurs when the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw, causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth. Clear aligners can help to systematically shift the position of the teeth and jaws to correct this bite issue.

Crossbites 

A crossbite occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not align correctly. This can cause uneven wear on the teeth and lead to jaw pain and discomfort. Clear aligners can help to align the teeth and jaws and achieve a more balanced bite.

Open bites

An open bite occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed. This can cause difficulty chewing and speaking, as well as aesthetic concerns. Clear aligners can help to close the open bite and achieve a more functional and attractive smile.

Crowded teeth

Crowded teeth occur when there’s insufficient space in the mouth for all the teeth to fit comfortably. This can cause the teeth to overlap and become crooked, leading to difficulty cleaning the teeth and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Clear aligners can gradually shift the position of the teeth and create more space in the mouth.

Benefits of Clear Aligners for Bite Problems

As your orthodontist in Redwood City will tell you, clear aligners offer several benefits for correcting bite issues, including:

  • Improved Oral Hygiene. Traditional braces are notoriously difficult to clean and maintain, making it challenging to maintain good oral hygiene. On the other hand, clear aligners are removable, making it easy to brush and floss as you normally would. With clear aligners, you can maintain good oral hygiene, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
  • Increased Comfort. Traditional braces use brackets and wires, which can irritate the mouth and cause discomfort. On the contrary, clear aligners are made of smooth, comfortable plastic, making them much more comfortable to wear.
  • Effective Treatment. Clear aligners are just as effective as traditional braces when it comes to correcting bite problems. They are particularly effective for mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth and bite problems. However, severe cases may require traditional braces or other orthodontic treatments.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing. Clear aligners are discreet, making them an excellent option for anyone concerned about the appearance of traditional braces. This is particularly important for adults and teenagers who may feel self-conscious about wearing braces.
  • Convenience. Clear aligners are removable, making them much more convenient than traditional braces. You can remove them when eating, brushing, and flossing and put them back in when you’re done. This makes it easy to maintain good oral hygiene and enjoy your favorite foods without worrying about damaging your braces.
  • Fewer office visits – Clear aligners typically require fewer office visits than traditional braces, as no wires or brackets need to be adjusted.

Final Thoughts

Clear aligners can be an effective alternative for fixing overbites and other bite problems, but it’s important to consult the best dentist in Redwood City to determine if they’re the best option for your specific case. You should also be prepared to commit to the treatment plan and follow all instructions carefully for the best results. Remember, you must wear the aligners for at least 22 hours a day and be diligent about switching out each tray every two weeks.

Can I Use Retainers and Night Guards Interchangeably?

Various devices can boost your dental health – braces and aligners for straight teeth, dental implants for bone and gum preservations, and even mouthguards for sports protection. And with countless options on the market, it can be overwhelming to keep things straight. 

Two appliances people usually confuse for one another- night guards and retainers. However, this article explores what they are in detail and if they can be interchanged so that you can make informed decisions the next time you visit your Palo Alto dentist.  

Night guards vs. retainers: what’s the difference? 

Although we admit that retainers and night guards are nearly identical, the differences become apparent when you explore their functions. Below are key ways night guards and retainers differ:

Retainers keep the teeth aligned

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the function of retainers is to keep the teeth in their original position after orthodontic treatment. In other words, it prevents teeth and bones from shifting following an orthodontic procedure. One main distinction between a night guard and a retainer is that the latter is used in orthodontics, whereas the former is not. The retention phase is vital to the success of orthodontic treatment. 

Before getting retainers in Palo Alto, it is good to know the difference between fixed and removable ones. Removable retainers can be worn and taken out by the patient, and they are often made of translucent plastic-like material and wire. On the other hand, a fixed retainer is one that the dentist places on the side of the teeth that faces the tongue, so it’s not visible to others.

Night guards protect the teeth from grinding 

Night guards are used for patients who grind their teeth (bruxism), and they protect the teeth during sleep. Palo Alto dentists may recommend a night guard if they spot any of the following issues in relation to teeth grinding. 

  • Sore jaw muscles 
  • Broken, chipped, or fractured teeth
  • Damage to the underlying bone

You can either buy night guards over the counter or have your dentist custom-make them for you. An over-the-counter night guard must be shaped to the teeth by boiling it, then letting it cool for some time before gently biting into it. If you get your night guard from a dentist, the added quality and comfort will be worth it in all aspects. These night guards are created in a lab from an impression of your teeth. 

At Blue Turtle Dental, we have a digital Scanner to help us create an impression of your teeth fast while making less of an imprint on the environment and it’s virtually painless!

One key distinction between a night guard and a retainer is when and how they are worn. Usually, night guards are worn only at night during sleep, whereas retainers can be worn in the daytime or fixed permanently in the mouth. 

Akin to retainers, night guards also come in different types. They include: 

  • Soft night guards -These are designed for less severe teeth grinding and clenching. 
  • Hard night guards – These are designed for severe or heavy grinding. They are around three millimeters thick and are made from a dense and strong material, which is tough to bite through, but still flexible and gentle enough on teeth and joints. 
  • Hybrid night guards – These are designed for moderate to severe teeth grinding. 

Are retainers and night guards interchangeable? 

For people with bruxism and who also have undergone orthodontic treatment, the idea of employing one appliance for both conditions may seem appealing. But is it possible? 

While certain retainers can double as night guards, the opposite is not always true. If you have an aligner-style retainer, it can be used to eliminate or reduce bruxism as they fit over the entire arch of the teeth. However, fixed and Hawley retainers don’t cover the teeth and thus cannot double as night guards. 

On the other hand, night guards cannot replace retainers. Night guards don’t fit snugly enough as retainers, so teeth retention isn’t a feature they offer. 

Can I wear a retainer with a night guard? 

Your dentist may suggest you wear your retainer and night guard on alternating schedules. However, these two appliances shouldn’t be worn together. Typically, night guards are a bit tougher and can be worn every night. That said, you shouldn’t disregard your retainer in favor of your night guard. Your Palo Alto dentist can help you decide the ideal schedule and advise on the best course of action. 

Final thoughts 

Night guards and retainers may have similar designs, but that doesn’t mean they serve the same purpose. Failure to utilize each appliance as directed can result in your device malfunctioning and even possible injury to your teeth or jaw.

Before using a night guard or retainer for anything other than what they were designed for, consult your dentist.