Crossbite is a type of bite misalignment where some, but not all, of the upper teeth sit behind the lower ones. This is not to be confused with underbite, in which all of the lower front teeth overlap the upper ones. This condition takes many forms depending on which teeth are affected, and can even be the result of a single misaligned tooth. The good news is that crossbite isn’t a serious medical issue, and it’s often easily treatable. That said, it can cause some uncomfortable (even painful) side effects like gum line recession, enamel breakdown, jaw pain, and headaches. On top of that, it can make you hesitant to flash your widest smile!
This is why many adults with crossbites seek corrective treatment, and upon examining their options, many choose Invisalign. Invisalign is a clear aligner based treatment protocol that has gained popularity because it rivals the effectiveness of traditional braces without all the metal, and for around the same cost ($5,000 on average). Of course, before deciding on a treatment method, it’s important to gather all the facts. This guide will serve as a deep dive into treating crossbite with Invisalign, plus an overview of several clear aligner alternatives that could line up better with your particular dental and financial circumstances.
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Is Invisalign Effective for Treating Crossbite?
Yes! Invisalign’s technology has been proven effective in treating a whole range of bite misalignments, including crossbite.
After its inception two decades ago, Invisalign quickly became one of the most widespread treatment options for straightening teeth. And as it’s evolved, it has become more versatile and effective at treating an expanded catalog of bite-related conditions.
Invisalign’s proprietary “Smartforce” attachments are often used to catalyze more complex tooth movements. These attachments — barely-noticeable shapes that are affixed to the front of the teeth — are particularly useful in adjusting single teeth that could be contributing to a crossbite condition.
Treatment may also be supplemented by additional appliances such as elastics and palatal expanders, or procedures such as teeth shaving, all of which can work wonders for correcting crossbite in adults. With these tools at your dentist’s disposal, it’s more than likely they’ll be able to develop an effective Invisalign treatment plan for you.
All that said, these days there are many other providers offering clear teeth aligners. If you’re looking for a more affordable treatment method than Invisalign, or are simply curious what other brands are out there, we encourage you to keep reading.
What Is it Like to Wear Invisalign?
The leading reasons adults often favor Invisalign over braces are that they’re 1) clear, and 2) removable. This means that they’re much less noticeable than metal (or ceramic) braces, and you can take them out to eat, brush your teeth, or even attend an important meeting or special occasion. If your treatment plan includes Smartforce attachments, these will remain fixed to your teeth for all or most of your treatment duration — but again, these appliances are hardly noticeable.
Invisalign also tends to be more comfortable than braces. Since they’re made of plastic, Invisalign trays cause less irritation on the cheeks and tongue than the metal wires and brackets of traditional braces. This isn’t to say Invisalign doesn’t cause any discomfort whatsoever. Moving your teeth is going to result in some pain and discomfort, regardless of the dental appliance you select. But all in all, Invisalign tends to offer more comfort and flexibility to the user than conventional braces.
On the flip side of all this, it’s worth keeping in mind that Invisalign treatment calls for a significant amount of discipline not required by traditional braces. Since Invisalign trays are removable, it’s up to you to keep them in your mouth for 22 hrs each day in order to progress through the alignment process successfully. If you’re not motivated enough to play through the pain for the long-term payout, Invisalign may be TOO flexible of an option for you.
If you think you’d have trouble integrating Invisalign into your day-to-day routine, it might be worth considering braces instead. These days there are many more options available than the traditional metal braces you remember from your childhood. We go over the various types of braces that exist today (and much more) in our guide to correcting crossbite with braces.
Alternative Invisible Aligners
While Invisalign pioneered the clear aligner market and remains among the most popular providers out there, there are a few other clear aligner brands that can be administered by dentists around the country. Additionally, there’s a whole new industry on the rise for at-home teeth alignment that can be completed without ever having to visit a dentist.
Whether you’re simply interested in an alternative clear aligner brand or you’re looking to correct your crossbite from home, there’s most likely a solution on this list for you. Below, we’ve broken down the most common alternatives to Invisalign and several reasons you might consider going with one of these options instead.
Align Tech (makers of Invisalign) is no longer the only company that partners with dentists and orthodontists to provide treatment with clear aligners. Today, many dentists instead offer aligners produced by a Texas-based company called ClearCorrect.
Though comparable to Invisalign in terms of effectiveness, ClearCorrect aligners are made using a different material and production process. Their aligners are slightly thinner and said to be less noticeable, but some patients find them to cause a bit more soreness and sensitivity in the teeth and gums.
Although ClearCorrect is less well-known than Invisalign, some dental providers prefer these aligners because they cost significantly less to offer. Occasionally these savings are passed along to the patient — however, this totally depends on the particular dentist you’re working with, and the type of treatment plan you’ll require. The average cost of treatment with ClearCorrect is still right around the same cost as Invisalign.
Express aligner systems offer a shorter treatment period and more affordable pricing than traditional clear aligners. Most express systems include 10-15 sets of aligners (as opposed to the roughly 30 required for a full course Invisalign or ClearCorrect treatment) and come out to about half-to-two-thirds the cost of standard treatment.
These systems are, by design, more limited than a full clear aligner program; therefore, they’re generally employed to correct crowding and spacing issues in the front six teeth alone. That said, certain mild cases of crossbite fall into this category, so one of the following treatment options might be viable for you:
- Invisalign Express: Unsurprisingly, Invisalign offers their own express treatment option. Invisalign Express is typically only used for mild misalignments, often recommended for folks who fail to wear their retainers after braces. Treatment typically costs between $1,800 to $3,500, and ranges from 5 to 10 months in duration. Dentists tend to recommend traditional Invisalign instead of the Express system for most cases because of its reliability and versatility. Invisalign Express is a limited service for a small slice of bite adjustment needs.
- Simpli5: A competitor to Invisalign, Simpli5 offers fast-paced treatment plans that last just five months on average. Simpli5 costs significantly less than traditional Invisalign treatment, but just like Invisalign Express, is limited in capability and not well-suited to address some patients’ smile concerns. Pricing is typically a bit lower than Invisalign Express, averaging around $2,000.
- Six Month Smiles: Although best known for their 6-months braces treatment, Six Month Smiles also started offering express clear aligner treatment as well. However, as with other Express services, Six Month Smiles aligners are not nearly as robust as traditional clear aligner treatment. They’re also somewhat more expensive than other express options, averaging $3,500 to $5,000 for a six-month course of treatment.
Home Invisible Aligners
In recent years, a number of online companies like SmileDirectClub and Byte have entered the industry to provide a more affordable option for adults seeking to straighten their teeth or correct minor bite issues from home. Similar to the Invisalign treatment process, you’ll receive a set of clear, removable aligners customized to your teeth by a dental professional — but unlike Invisalign, your care will be handled entirely remotely and won’t require any trips to the dentist’s office.
Home alignment products are more affordable than any other corrective treatment option, with an average cost of just $1,900. The companies that sell home aligners typically provide an opportunity to review your expected results before purchasing a full course of treatment, so you’ll know exactly what to expect before moving forward. If your crossbite is mild or only involves a few teeth, a home alignment system could be a suitable option for you.
To learn more about home teeth alignment, check out our review of the top services.
When Standard Treatments Options Aren’t Enough
Rare cases of crossbite — ones caused by significant skeletal misalignment — may require surgery to fully correct. In this procedure, the surgeon can manipulate and shift the upper and lower jaw to achieve the desired bite position. This is a pretty significant form of surgery. In addition to being quite expensive, it can also take a while to recover from. Before considering this option, it’s a good idea to consult a dentist (or two) to confirm that standard orthodontic treatment will not be able to produce the results you’re seeking.
Again, many crossbite cases don’t require surgical intervention and will respond well to one of the treatments discussed in this guide. If you’re concerned about the severity of your crossbite, an orthodontist can help you determine whether or not surgery is necessary to achieve your desired bite.