Open bite is a malocclusion that prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming together when biting down. Open bite varies in nature and location (skeletal, dental; anterior, posterior) but few cases pose serious medical risks and most are easily treatable.
Still, open bite can cause jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and put disproportionate pressure on the teeth with normal alignment, accelerating enamel breakdown. On top of that, having an open bite could make you feel hesitant to wear a smile. For all these reasons, it’s quite common for people of all ages to seek corrective treatment for open bite, and Invisalign is one of the most highly-regarded treatment options available.
Invisalign’s reputation might make it seem like an easy choice, but this is an important decision, so it’s important to evaluate all your options first. Read on and you’ll find an in-depth analysis of Invisalign and some alternatives that may be more congruent with your dental and financial circumstances.
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Is Invisalign Effective for Treating Open Bite?
Yes! Invisalign is highly versatile and can treat various bite conditions, including open bite. Several treatment systems have proven effective at correcting open bite, but Invisalign is one of the most popular, and for good reason. It boasts the same effectiveness as braces, but without any of the metal, and for around the same cost ($5,000 on average).
Invisalign gained recognition as a reputable option for teeth straightening shortly after its release over 20 years ago. Over the years, as it’s implemented additional forms of dental technology, Invisalign has become a viable treatment for a whole spectrum of conditions.
This is largely thanks to Invisalign’s unique “Smartforce” attachments — tiny tooth-colored shapes that are affixed to the some of the teeth during treatment. These are designed to facilitate intricate and significant tooth movements while maintaining the aligners’ discreet appearance. Plus, since Invisalign calls for recurring dental visits, treatment can be supplemented by elastics and tooth shaving as needed. Even though open bite comes in a variety of forms, Invisalign provides your dentist with a whole toolbox of options to create a treatment that’s customized for your condition.
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 open bite with braces.
Alternative Invisible Aligners
While Invisalign was the first clear aligner treatment available, and remains among the most popular options out there, there are also several 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 open bite 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.
What you get with an express system is, by design, limited in scope, and primarily useful in correcting crowding and spacing issues in the front six teeth. If you have a mild open bite that is confined to these front teeth, one of the following express aligner brands might be viable 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 ranges from 5 to 10 months in duration. Dental physicians end up suggesting traditional Invisalign rather than Invisalign Express for the majority of cases due to the traditional service’s versatility and comprehensiveness.
- 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. All in all, if you have a mild case of open bite, home teeth alignment may be a perfectly viable 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
If you have a particularly severe case of skeletal open bite, you may be seeking a more drastic transformation, the type that could require surgery. This procedure typically involves shaving down excess bone in the upper jaw to create a more significant adjustment to one’s bite and facial appearance than Invisalign can achieve. If you’re considering taking the surgical route, it’s worth consulting with a couple of dentists first to make sure that standard orthodontic options alone will be unable to produce the before-and-after results you’re looking for.
This is a pretty significant form of surgery, one that comes with a high cost and long recovery time. The good news is that most open bite cases can be resolved using one of the aforementioned treatments and don’t require surgery. However, if you’re concerned about the severity of your open bite, a dentist can help you decide whether or not surgery is warranted.
Invisalign stands out as one of the most in-demand open bite treatment options, but it’s not the only one. Yes, Invisalign is attractive because it’s low-profile, removable, and highly effective when used properly. But it also requires somewhat more discipline than braces and isn’t quite as affordable as home teeth aligners. While Invisalign might be an ideal solution for some open bite cases, it’s not universally so — each case is unique, and it’s all about deciding what’s best for you.
As you consider your treatment options, make sure to research them and weigh the positives and negatives of each. Ask your dentist which could be the best approach for your particular circumstances. Armed with ample knowledge and professional opinions, you’ll be confident as you shop around and select a treatment that will make both your smile and your confidence shine!