If you’ve got a crossbite, it might be the only thing you see when you look in the mirror. But whether you have a severe case that’s causing you discomfort or a mild one that’s sapping your confidence, Invisalign could be an effective treatment. Their clear aligners rival the effectiveness of traditional braces without all the metal, and for around the same price.
Of course, before choosing a treatment, it’s important to gather all the facts. That’s why we’re here. This guide is a deep dive into treating crossbite with Invisalign, plus an overview of several alternatives that might fit better with your dental and financial circumstances.
Table of Contents
What Is Crossbite?
Crossbite is a type of bite misalignment where some, but not all, of the upper teeth sit behind the lower ones. This condition takes many forms, depending on which teeth it affects, and can even be a single misaligned tooth. The good news is that crossbite isn’t a serious medical issue, and it’s often easy to treat. That said, it can cause some uncomfortable side effects and make you hesitant to flash your widest smile.
Not every case of crossbite causes symptoms, but common ones include:
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty eating
- Trouble closing the mouth properly
- Speech impediments
- Mouth breathing
If you don’t experience many symptoms — or simply don’t like going to the dentist — you might be tempted to leave your crossbite alone. Just know that some crossbites can wear down your enamel unevenly, eventually leading to tooth decay, gum disease, temporomandibular disorder (TMD), and even tooth loss. Your dentist or orthodontist can recommend the best course of action.
Crossbite vs. Underbite
Many people confuse these two conditions, since they both involve upper teeth that sit behind lower ones. However, look closely enough and you’ll spot the difference. In a crossbite, only some of the upper front teeth sit behind the lower arch. But in an underbite, all the upper front teeth sit behind the lower ones.
Either way, however, Invisalign is a good option, since it can treat underbite as well.
What Causes Crossbite?
Children often develop crossbites because of a misshapen jaw, teeth erupting at irregular angles, or birth defects like a cleft lip or palate. If a child sucks their thumb or uses a pacifier past age three, they’re also at risk. Tongue thrusting (pushing it against the backs of your teeth), excessive nail biting, or chewing on objects like pens may also contribute.
But while crossbites often appear at a young age, they can also persist into adulthood. You can even develop one as an adult. If you experience a jaw injury, it might not heal in the same position, throwing off your alignment.
Can Invisalign Fix Crossbite?
Yes! 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 — including crossbite.
Invisalign’s proprietary “Smartforce” attachments — barely-noticeable shapes that are affixed to the front of the teeth — can catalyze more complex tooth movements, and they’re particularly useful in adjusting single teeth that could be contributing to a mild crossbite condition.
Your dentist might supplement your treatment with additional appliances like 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.
That said, Invisalign isn’t the most affordable option on the market. Even though you might receive insurance coverage (depending on your plan), the average cost of Invisalign is $3,000–$8,000. Yet given their power, quality, and long track record of stunning results, that cost might just be worth it for you.
What’s It Like to Wear Invisalign?
Adults often favor Invisalign over braces because they’re 1) clear, and 2) removable. This means that they’re much less noticeable, and you can take them out to eat, brush your teeth, or attend an important meeting or other special occasion. If your treatment plan includes Smartforce attachments, they’ll stay on the entire time — but again, they’re hardly noticeable.
Invisalign is also typically more comfortable than braces. Since they’re made of plastic, clear aligners irritate the cheeks and tongue far less than metal wires and brackets. Of course, moving your teeth always causes a little discomfort, no matter which treatment you pick. But Invisalign offers more comfort and flexibility than conventional braces.
On the flip side, Invisalign treatment requires a lot more discipline than traditional braces. Since Invisalign trays are removable, you have to wear them for 22 hrs each day to align your teeth and jaws successfully. If you’re not motivated enough to play through the pain for the long-term payout — or frequently forget to wear them — Invisalign might be TOO flexible of an option for you.
If you think you’d have trouble integrating Invisalign into your day-to-day routine, consider braces instead. These days there are many more options available than the traditional metal braces you remember from your childhood. We cover the types of braces that exist today (and much more) in our guide to correcting crossbite with braces.
But if you’ve read this far and you’re intrigued by Invisalign, check out our in-depth review for all the info you need to decide if they’re right for you.
Alternative Invisible Aligners
While Invisalign pioneered the mass-market clear aligner and remains among the most popular providers out there, there are a few other clear aligner brands that can match them in effectiveness and efficiency. Plus, there’s a whole new industry on the rise for at-home teeth aligner brands that don’t require a single trip to the 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 some of the most popular alternatives to Invisalign.
Align Tech (the makers of Invisalign) is no longer the only company that partners with dentists and orthodontists to provide treatment with clear aligners. These treatments also include regular in-person care from your dentist or orthodontist, and they can all incorporate attachments and appliances to correct more complex jaw misalignments like crossbite.
- ClearCorrect: Founded in 2006, ClearCorrect isn’t as experienced as Invisalign, but they’ve still been delivering quality results for over a decade and offer a comparable experience. They typically charge dentists and orthodontists less for lab fees, which can make their aligners slightly more affordable. Plus, they have multiple treatment plans — including one where you pay per aligner — so they can tailor your plan to your condition.
Check out our full ClearCorrect review to learn more.
- SureSmile: 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.
Interested? Read through our complete SureSmile review for more.
- 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. They’re 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.
Our full 3M Clarity Aligners review has a ton more information.
Home Invisible Aligners:
These companies have taken Invisalign’s model and made it more convenient by delivering everything straight to your home. Like Invisalign, you’ll receive a set of clear, removable aligners customized to your teeth by a dental professional. But unlike Invisalign, they don’t require any trips to the dentist’s office — and treatment often costs a lot less. They can’t handle severe misalignments or significant bite issues, but they’re solid, affordable choices for milder cases.
- Byte: Byte’s claim to fame is their ability to deliver impressive results even faster than the competition — 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 to straighten their teeth at night, they offer “At-Night” aligners designed with premium materials to withstand nighttime teeth grinding.
See our comprehensive review of Byte for an in-depth look at their services.
- Candid: Candid started as a fully remote clear aligner service, but they’ve since shifted to a hybrid treatment that combines elements of in-office and at-home care. After an initial in-person consultation and examination with a local dentist, you’ll check in virtually via their CandidMonitoring service every 14 days for the rest of your treatment. It usually costs $3,500 or more, but you’ll get a higher level of care than other at-home options.
Our complete Candid review has a lot more important information.
- SmileDirectClub: SmileDirectClub was one of the first companies to offer at-home clear aligner treatment and continues to be the most popular option. Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub has treated over 1.5 million patients to date. With SmileShops across the country where you can get a free teeth scan, they’ve also gone the extra mile to make the treatment process as convenient as possible. Plus, they have a lifetime smile guarantee and extensive refund policies.
Check out our SmileDirectClub review for a deep dive into their treatment.
Interested in at-home aligners?
Interested in at-home aligners? We’ve got a lot more on these three companies, and a couple more recommendations in our guide to the top five brands.
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 cost one half to two thirds as much as standard treatment.
Most often, express aligners are used to treat crowding and spacing in the front six teeth. But depending on the case, they can be a viable (and affordable) method for minor bite correction as well. If your overbite is slight, one of the following could be a potential treatment option for you:
- Invisalign Express: Unsurprisingly, Invisalign offers its 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 lasts from 5 to 10 months. 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 dental 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-month 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.
Even though crossbite can vary significantly in appearance and severity, Invisalign is a reliable option for treating most cases. It’s discreet and removable, so it can work for various lifestyles — plus, it delivers impressive results when used properly. That said, it’s not the most affordable option out there for correcting minor bite issues.
In the end, Invisalign is a great option for treating crossbite, but it’s just one of several. As you weigh the pros and cons of each, consult your dentist to get a professional opinion on which would be best for your teeth. In doing so, you’ll find a treatment that will have you smiling with confidence before you know it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best treatment for crossbite?
It depends entirely on the severity of your case. Orthodontic treatments like braces or clear aligners can work for most cases, but the most severe ones can require surgery instead. Your orthodontist will let you know which route they recommend after examining your teeth and jaw.
What causes crossbite?
Crossbites have several possible causes. Genetics can play a role, like if you were born with irregularly sized jaws or teeth that come in crooked. However, habits like excessive nail-biting, tongue thrusting, or chewing on objects like pens can cause it as well. Children who suck their thumbs or use pacifiers past age three are also at risk.
What happens if I don’t fix my crossbite?
If you have a mild crossbite, you might not notice many symptoms, but if left untreated, it can cause uneven wear on your enamel, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, and other oral hygiene issues. You might also experience jaw pain and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
How do you know if you have a crossbite?
If some — but not all — of your upper front teeth sit behind the lower ones, or some of your upper back teeth sit behind your lower ones, you have a crossbite. Even if it’s just one or two teeth, a crossbite can still cause jaw pain, difficulty eating and speaking, headaches, and uneven enamel wear.
Are braces or Invisalign better for crossbite?
Both can effectively correct many cases of crossbite, so it comes down to your specific case and preferences. Braces are sturdy, durable, and always on your teeth, while Invisalign is less noticeable, but comes with more personal responsibility. No matter which you choose, your dentist or orthodontist might enhance them with orthodontic attachments or appliances.
Can clear aligners correct crossbite?
Yes! In-office clear aligners like Invisalign are effective in correcting mild and moderate cases of crossbite. At-home clear aligner treatments like Byte and SmileDirectClub, however, can only treat mild cases, since they lack attachments and in-person oversight.
How long does it take Invisalign to correct a crossbite?
It depends almost entirely on the severity of your crossbite. 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.