If you’ve got an open bite, you’re not alone. Millions of adults in the US have bite misalignments, and every year, millions get them fixed. Braces have always been considered an effective open bite solution, but they are no longer the only one. In recent years, home aligner companies have made it possible to correct dental concerns without regular trips to the dentist.
This guide will discuss the types of open bite that home aligners can treat, explore a few of the best providers on the market, and offer some alternatives if home aligners aren’t a good fit.
Table of Contents
What Is Open Bite?
Open bite is a malocclusion that prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming together when you bite down. Open bite varies in cause and location, but few cases pose serious medical risks and most are easily treatable.
When they hear “open bite,” most people think of an anterior case, which affects the front teeth. However, the condition can also affect the back teeth, called a posterior open bite. It typically appears in children, since it often occurs when the jaw and teeth are developing, but it can persist into adulthood too.
Open bites don’t always cause symptoms, but they can put extra stress on your properly aligned teeth and decrease the confidence you have in your smile. Other symptoms might include:
- Jaw or tooth pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech impediments
If you don’t treat your open bite, it can lead to even more issues. Since it can distribute bite force unevenly, an open bite can wear down the enamel on certain teeth, eventually causing tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss, as well as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
What Causes Open Bite?
Open bite has several possible causes, and one of the most common is genetics. Genes determine the size and shape of your jaw, and incongruent or misshapen jaws often cause misalignments. Open bites with genetic roots usually appear in children, since they develop as the jaw grows and the teeth erupt. However, certain habits, like excessive childhood thumb sucking or pacifier use past age three, can also contribute to open bite.
Although many open bites simply resolve when the baby teeth fall out, others persist into adulthood — typically when the child can’t beat those habits by the time their adult teeth come in. Additionally, if you experience a jaw injury, it might not heal in the same position, throwing off your alignment.
How Do Home Teeth Aligners Work?
Home teeth aligners are exactly what they sound like: aligners designed to treat dental concerns from home, without the added cost or hassle of making regular trips to the dentist. But what does the process of home teeth alignment actually entail?
To get the ball rolling, you’ll usually take impressions of your teeth using a kit from your provider (though some offer in-person scans as well). Then, you’ll mail the impressions back to them for their team of dentists to review. If the dentist in charge of your case determines that home aligners aren’t the right fit for you, the company will often refund you for the cost of the kit — usually around $49–$99.
After this step, your provider will use your impressions to design a series of custom aligners, and you should receive them in about one month. From there, it’s up to you to wear your aligners for 22+ hours each day — or ten hours if you choose a nighttime-only plan — keep up with your oral hygiene routine, and progress through the series of aligners as directed.
Can Home Teeth Aligners Fix Open Bite?
Home aligners might work for some cases of open bite, but they aren’t a universal solution. These systems are most commonly used to treat crowding and spacing conditions, but they can achieve excellent results for some minor bite issues as well.
Their effectiveness depends almost entirely on the cause and severity of your open bite. There are three main causes: dental, skeletal, and habitual. Dental cases are ones that result from impeded tooth eruptions and rarely affect the jaw or facial structure. Skeletal open bite (also called “long face syndrome”) arises from excessive molar or jawbone growth. Finally, open bite can come from poor oral habits typically exhibited in early childhood, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.
Skeletal open bite is typically the most severe type, since it deals with jaw misalignment. If your condition falls into this category, there’s a good chance that home aligners won’t be enough to achieve a substantial smile transformation. Your dentist might recommend a more robust, hands-on treatment, one that requires regular office visits, where a dentist can use supplemental appliances and procedures.
Still, home alignment systems can achieve fantastic results in certain cases of open bite, so if your case is mild or moderate in severity, they might be a perfectly viable option.
The Best Home Aligners for Open Bite
With the skyrocketing popularity of home aligner treatment, several providers have sprouted up in the last few years. But despite offering a similar treatment, each company varies in price, timeline, and services. So, some are ideal for treating open bite, while others are more suited for crowding and spacing issues.
In our effort to make your decision-making process as simple and worry-free as possible, we’ve examined and evaluated all the big names in home aligner treatment. Based on this research, here are a few we recommend:
Byte is one of the most innovative aligner treatments on the market. They provide a high-frequency vibration device called HyperByte — which is intended to reduce discomfort — and claim their average treatment plan length is just 4–5 months. Plus, they put a lifetime guarantee on your smile, and for those who’d prefer not to wear aligners all day, they offer “At-Night” aligners designed with thick, grind-resistant plastic.
- Byte claims their average treatment plan length is just 4–5 months.
- Byte includes their high-frequency vibration device, the HyperByte, in the cost of your aligner bundle. There’s evidence that devices like this may provide a more comfortable aligner fit and faster dental shifts for some people.
- The Byte-For-Life guarantee provides new aligners if your teeth ever shift, as long as you continue purchasing and wearing their retainers as directed.
- Their financing plans don’t require a credit check, so everyone qualifies.
- Byte-At-Night only requires ten hours of continuous wear per day instead of the usual 22.
- Byte includes one set of aftercare retainers for free.
- Byte doesn’t currently have any retail locations, so you’ll need to order an impression kit to get started.
- Byte’s $1,999 price tag is just average for the industry.
Byte can correct some mild open bite cases. However, they don’t promise effectiveness with all bite issues. Before beginning a treatment plan, Byte’s team of experts will need to analyze impressions of your teeth to determine if their system can achieve the results you want.
Candid’s blazing a trail in the world of tooth alignment by blending elements of traditional and remote care. Their hybrid at-home and in-office treatment model begins with a dentist visit, which includes an examination and digital scan. After that, you’ll complete regular check-ins using the CandidApp and CandidMonitoring kit — no additional office visits required.
- Candid has a network of 300+ dentists, and they’re adding more all the time.
- The local dentist who examined you in-person will collaborate with Candid throughout the entire treatment process. Fully remote teeth alignment services like Byte and SmileDirectClub don’t offer this benefit.
- Since your dentist performs a 3D scan, you get to skip the impression kit.
- CandidMonitoring lets your dentist and Candid’s team evaluate your progress every step of the way, helping your treatment stay on track.
- Candid’s aligners are made from Zendura FLX plastic, so they’re flexible, durable, and powerful.
- Candid treatment averages around $3,500, which is more than fully remote services, closer to what you’d pay for Invisalign or ClearCorrect.
- Financing varies between doctors, but isn’t always available.
Candid aligners do not treat severe alignment and spacing issues because their system isn’t designed to deliver the type of extensive results the patient may be seeking in those cases. But if your open bite is mild or moderate in severity, Candid might be an option.
Just like Byte, a dentist will have to review the condition of your teeth to determine your eligibility. However, unlike Byte, Candid ensures you work one-on-one and in person with a dentist. If you aren’t a good fit for Candid, your doctor will help you find the right treatment for you.
SmileDirectClub is easily the best-known brand of home teeth aligners on the market today. They’ve been straightening teeth since 2014 and served over 1.5 million customers to date. With over 100 SmileShops and a nighttime-only treatment option, they’re a highly convenient service. Plus, they have a lifetime smile warranty and extensive refund policies.
- SmileDirectClub has over 100 SmileShops and 1,000+ partnering dentists located across the U.S. where you can get a free teeth scan and skip the impression kit.
- Through SmilePay, every customer can receive financing, no credit check required.
- SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners allow you to complete your treatment by wearing aligners for just ten hours per day.
- Their Lifetime Smile Guarantee will provide new aligners if your teeth shift out of place in the future, as long as you purchase two sets of retainers every year and wear them as directed.
- SmileDirectClub issues full refunds within the first 30 days of treatment and partial refunds after that.
- SmileDirectClub has a mixed track record of customer service quality.
- SmileDirectClub charges an additional $125 fee for retainers after treatment.
Like the previous two providers, SmileDirectClub can effectively correct some, but not all, open bite cases. Before making the call, their dental expert team will need to evaluate impressions of your teeth to determine whether you’re a good candidate.
What Are My Other Options?
Let’s recap: home aligners can be a reasonable, affordable option for some mild cases of open bite, but they’re not the best solution for everyone. Perhaps you found out that you’re not a candidate, or maybe you would just prefer a treatment that involves more face-time with a dentist. Either way, you have a couple of alternatives:
Even though they’ve been on the market for years, there’s a reason braces are still one of the most popular orthodontic treatments for various bite issues. Sturdy and versatile, they can deliver transformative results, especially when paired with dentist-administered additions like roller appliances and bite blocks, or procedures like tooth shaving and extraction.
Adults are sometimes hesitant to get braces because of their appearance, but these days, you’re not restricted to silver brackets. Low-profile styles, like clear braces and lingual braces (installed behind the teeth), offer less visible options and similar results. The only drawback is that, because they require more attention from a dentist, braces’ average cost is higher — often $3,000–$7,000. Still, those with more complex cases of open bite may find that paying extra for one-on-one, in-person treatment from their chosen orthodontist is well worth the peace of mind.
Another popular open bite treatment option, Invisalign, boasts the same impressive results as braces, but without the intrusive metal brackets. Instead, it uses invisible trays, much like home aligners, to correct crowding, spacing, and bite issues. The difference between Invisalign and home aligners is that it’s administered and monitored in-person by a dentist.
The benefit here is that your dentist can make course corrections throughout the treatment, employing elastics, bite blocks, Invisalign’s Smartforce attachments, and other treatments to achieve more drastic, nuanced tooth and jaw shifts. Once again, the drawback is cost, as Invisalign’s average price runs about the same as braces.
If you’re set on in-office clear aligner treatment but aren’t sold on Invisalign, look into ClearCorrect, one of their biggest competitors. Their process is almost identical to Invisalign — your dentist or orthodontist will evaluate your condition, then administer the aligners and evaluate your progress during regular office visits.
These aligners can also incorporate attachments to treat severe cases and bite misalignments. ClearCorrect isn’t as experienced or prolific as Invisalign, but they charge dentists less for lab fees and have multiple plans — including one where you pay per aligner — so your treatment might be more affordable.
Another one of Invisalign’s oldest competitors, SureSmile launched its clear aligners in 2007. It can treat the same scope of misalignments as Invisalign, and the company says that their patients are less likely to need refinements after treatment. Despite this, they boast lower prices and, since they don’t have a specific mandatory scanner, providers can save money and pass those savings on to you.
3M Clarity Aligners
3M — the company behind Scotch Tape and Post-Its — creates clear aligners with incredible teeth-moving power thanks to their unique attachment placement. Clarity Aligners are only available to orthodontists, who can use two different proprietary materials to deliver a treatment highly customized to your condition. Since 3M also makes Clarity Clear Braces, orthodontists can also design a combination treatment that uses them simultaneously with aligners.
By reading this guide, you’ve taken the first step toward finding the best treatment for your smile. Any of the home aligner brands discussed above could potentially be a convenient, affordable solution for you. And keep in mind, if you submit your impressions and don’t end up qualifying for treatment, they’ll refund the cost of the impression kit. This provides a low-risk option for people who are unsure if their case will be too complex for home aligners.
Remember, in the end, it’s all about finding the treatment option that fits with your goals, timeline, and expectations. So research, consult your dentist, and evaluate your options. Equipped with that knowledge, you can confidently start the journey toward a brilliant smile!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fix an open bite?
Orthodontic treatments like braces and clear aligners can correct certain jaw misalignments, including open bites, but they might not be able to handle severe cases. If orthodontic treatment isn’t an option, your dentist might recommend surgery.
How long does it take to correct an open bite?
It depends almost entirely on the severity of your open bite. Mild cases caused by dental misalignments might just take a few months, while more significant jaw corrections can take two years. However, most cases fall somewhere in the middle, around 12–18 months.
What causes open bite?
The most common cause is genetics. Open bite often appears in childhood as a result of irregularities in tooth and jaw development. Habits like thumb sucking and pacifier use past age three can also contribute, as can excessive nail biting, tongue thrusting, or chewing on objects.
How long does it take to fix open bite?
It depends on the severity of your case. Mild open bites caused by dental misalignments might just take a few months, while more significant jaw corrections can take two years. However, most cases fall somewhere in the middle, around 12–18 months.
Do clear aligners affect your speech?
Some patients report having a slight lisp when they first begin wearing their aligners. This is because your mouth isn’t accustomed to wearing them, and typically only occurs at the beginning of treatment. As you get used to wearing your aligners, it should go away.
What are the best at-home aligners?
In our opinion, it’s Byte. They deliver efficient treatment times for many customers, provide a nighttime-only option, and put a lifetime guarantee on their results (see our full Byte review for an in-depth look). There are some other good brands on the market, and the best one for you depends entirely on your preferences and circumstances. Check out our guide to the five best at-home aligner companies for a full comparison.
How much do clear aligners cost?
It depends on which clear aligner treatment you choose. If you go with an in-office treatment like Invisalign, it will cost (on average) between $3,000 and $8,000. At-home aligner services like Byte and SmileDirectClub, on the other hand, are somewhat less expensive, costing $1,000–$2,500 on average.
Do clear aligners hurt?
When you switch to a new aligner set every two weeks, you might experience some discomfort for the first day or two, but after that, you’ll hardly notice them.