While midline issues can arise from many causes (both mild and severe) there are a few highly effective treatment options — and Invisalign is one of the best. Adults often opt for Invisalign because it can usually achieve the same results as braces without the metal brackets or wires. So if your teeth are slightly off center, Invisalign can correct them efficiently and discreetly.
Read on and you’ll find a ton of helpful information on Invisalign as a midline treatment, plus some alternatives if Invisalign isn’t right for you.
Table of Contents
What Is Midline Misalignment?
Midline misalignment — also called midline discrepancy or deviated midline — is a condition defined by asymmetry between the teeth and facial structure. The center of your front teeth should line up with your nose and between your eyes, but in certain cases, it’s slightly off center.
The condition had its 15 minutes of fame in 2002 when Tom Cruise famously sported braces to correct his midline. You might not be a Hollywood superstar, but a midline discrepancy can still make you less than confident to flash your smile.
Midline issues are fairly common and mild cases are often harmless, just a cosmetic concern. However, more severe cases can alter your backbite or occur alongside a posterior crossbite, which can wear down your enamel unevenly, putting you at greater risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw pain.
What Causes Midline Misalignment?
A few of the most common midline misalignment causes include missing teeth, oversized teeth (macrodontia), undersized teeth (microdontia), the early loss of baby teeth, crowding, and jaw misalignments.
Midline discrepancies can also stem from certain habits. For example, excessive childhood thumb-sucking can cause teeth shifts that alter the midline. Uneven chewing can also, over time, induce similar shifts. Or, they can occur after dental trauma like tooth loss or jaw injury.
Can Invisalign Fix Midline Misalignment?
In most cases, yes. Invisalign is a highly effective and versatile treatment that can correct a wide range of teeth and jaw misalignments. However, your dentist or orthodontist may still recommend braces for certain rare midline cases.
This is because midline shifts often stem from an underlying issue. Some of these issues are minor, like simple crowding or missing teeth, while others are more severe, like posterior crossbite. Invisalign can correct almost all these conditions. Because it can incorporate proprietary “Smartforce” attachments and appliances like elastics, Invisalign can achieve complex tooth and jaw movements, even for issues like overbite or crossbite.
However, if your midline discrepancy is because of a skeletal disharmony that pushes an entire dental arch off-center, your orthodontist might recommend braces instead for their durability and power.
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 some discomfort, no matter which treatment you pick. Most people find Invisalign the most uncomfortable the first few days after starting a new set of aligners, which you’ll typically do about once every two weeks. 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, and you may consider a more rigid and consistent treatment, like traditional braces, instead.
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 crowding 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 (makers of Invisalign) is no longer the only company that partners with dentists and orthodontists to provide treatment with clear aligners. Like Invisalign, these treatments include regular in-person care from your dentist or orthodontist, and they can all incorporate attachments and appliances to correct midline discrepancies.
- ClearCorrect: Founded in 2006, ClearCorrect isn’t as experienced as Invisalign, but they’ve still been delivering quality results for over a decade. 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:
In recent years, several online companies have entered the industry to provide a more affordable option for adults seeking to correct mild tooth and jaw misalignments from home. Similar to 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 a convenient choice 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 have 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 easy 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.
Other Treatment Options
They’re the oldest and most widely-used orthodontic treatment, and they can facilitate impressive smile transformations regardless of your condition. They can induce powerful jaw shifts to correct bite misalignments and may be a more surefire solution than Invisalign for significant midline deviations.
The main advantage that braces hold over Invisalign is their sturdiness and durability. Because you can’t take them off, they’re always working and leave no room for user error. Many adults shy away from the metal brackets and wires involved, but recent orthodontic advancements have created more discreet options like lingual and self-ligating braces.
The average cost of braces is $3,000-7,000, and their average time frame is 12–30 months. This isn’t to say that every single case falls within these ranges. If you have a minor case that doesn’t require complex movements, you might end up with lower costs and a shorter time frame. If you can get past the metal brackets, braces are perhaps the most reliable option available for midline misalignments. If that piques your interest, check out our comprehensive guide to correcting midline misalignment with braces.
But maybe you’re after instantaneous results, a treatment that can transform your smile right away. If your midline condition is minor, veneers could be your answer. Veneers are strong porcelain tabs that a dentist can affix to the surfaces of your real teeth, so you can leave the office with a perfectly straight, white smile, no teeth shifts necessary.
However, to place and arrange your veneers, the dentist may need to shave down your real teeth, which is an irreversible process. Additionally, they don’t solve the underlying issue and they can break, especially if you clench or grind your teeth. Replacing veneers isn’t cheap, and even if yours don’t break, you’ll need to get new ones every 7–20 years.
For mild midline shifts that don’t affect your bite or back teeth, veneers could be an attractive, quick fix. But because veneers cost $500–2,000 per tooth, you’ll want to be absolutely sure that they’re the ideal option for your goals and budget.
If you like the idea of an instant smile transformation, but the permanence of traditional veneers worries you, snap-on veneers could be a great option. These removable appliances clip onto your teeth, hiding your misaligned midline, along with stains, cracks, chips, missing teeth, and other cosmetic issues.
Companies like Shiny Smile and Removable Veneers USA customize these veneers using molds of your teeth, so they’re a perfect match. They often come in different shades and models — some for everyday use and others for occasional wear.
Snap-on veneers are much more affordable than traditional veneers and many orthodontic treatments, but they’re also not permanent, and they can be slightly uncomfortable to wear. That said, they can work for people with very mild misalignments who want a quick and inexpensive solution. Check out our guide to the five best snap-on veneers to learn more.
Your midline misalignment is nothing to be ashamed about! But there’s no problem with wanting to fix it either. There are plenty of effective options, whether your midline issue is caused by slight crowding, severe crossbite, or something else entirely.
Invisalign is one of the most effective and best-looking teeth straightening treatments out there. But remember that every smile is different — an ideal treatment for someone else might not be the best option for you. Don’t dive into a particular treatment without researching the pros and cons, and seeing how they measure up against your unique condition and goals. This way, you won’t just get a great midline discrepancy treatment, you’ll get the best treatment for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fix a midline misalignment?
If you want to treat the underlying condition that’s causing your midline discrepancy, most orthodontic treatments are good options. But if you have a mild case and you’d rather simply hide it, traditional or snap-on veneers can provide an instant smile makeover.
What causes a midline misalignment?
Common causes include missing teeth, oversized teeth (macrodontia), undersized teeth (microdontia), the early loss of baby teeth, crowding, and jaw misalignments. Excessive childhood thumb-sucking, uneven chewing, or dental trauma like tooth loss or jaw injury can also contribute.
Is midline misalignment a problem?
Sometimes. Mild cases that don’t stem from a bite misalignment rarely present serious medical concerns. But severe midline discrepancies, specifically ones that affect the back bite or are accompanied by a crossbite, can wear down your enamel unevenly, potentially leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw pain.
How long does it take to correct a midline discrepancy?
It depends on the severity of your case. A powerful orthodontic treatment like braces or clear aligners can sometimes correct mild misalignments in just a few months. More significant misalignments, however, often take 12–30 months.
Is midline misalignment noticeable?
For many people, the discrepancy is so slight that it’s barely noticeable. But more serious misalignments are typically more visible when you speak or smile.
Can clear aligners fix a midline misalignment?
Yes! Clear aligner treatments that involve in-person care from a dentist — like Invisalign or SureSmile — can handle just about any misalignment that braces can. At-home aligners like Byte or SmileDirectClub might be good options too, but only for mild cases.
Will insurance help pay for Invisalign?
If your insurance covers orthodontic treatment, Invisalign treatment could be covered in part or in full. To learn more, visit our guide on insurance coverage for Invisalign.
Are at-home aligners a good Invisalign alternative?
Only if you are making cosmetic changes to your tooth alignment. If you have larger or complex shifts to make, you must use an in-office treatment. If you are unsure where your case falls, most remote clear aligner companies will refund the cost of your impression kit if you are not a candidate.