An open bite can be frustrating. It can be annoying. It can make you think twice before smiling. But fortunately, there are a lot of viable treatment options, and we think Invisalign is one of the best. Their clear aligners can correct many of the same conditions braces can, including some cases of open bite.
But while Invisalign’s reputation for top-quality products might make it seem like an easy choice, this is an important decision, so be sure to evaluate all your options first. Read on and you’ll find an in-depth analysis of Invisalign, plus some of the clear aligner giant’s top alternatives.
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. However, it can persist into adulthood too, and affects people of all ages.
Some people barely experience any symptoms, but open bite can cause 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 puts uneven stress on your teeth, an open bite can wear down the enamel on certain ones, eventually causing tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss, as well as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). That’s why it’s important to consult a dentist or orthodontist about your open bite.
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 often 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.
Can Invisalign Fix Open Bite?
Several orthodontic treatments have proven effective at correcting open bite, but Invisalign is one of the most popular, and for good reason. It rivals braces’ scope of treatment, without using a single metal bracket or wire, and it typically costs around the same amount ($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 wide range of conditions.
This is largely thanks to their “Smartforce” attachments. Your dentist can affix these tiny tooth-colored shapes to your teeth to help facilitate complex shifts while maintaining a discreet appearance. Plus, since Invisalign calls for recurring dental visits, your dentist might also supplement treatment with elastics and tooth shaving as needed. Even though open bite comes in a variety of forms, Invisalign provides your dentist with a toolbox of options to customize your treatment.
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. 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 open bite 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.
Best Invisalign Alternatives
While Invisalign pioneered the mass-market clear aligner and remains among the most popular providers out there, we think there are a few other clear aligner brands that present equally intriguing alternatives. 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 open bite 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 open bite.
- 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.
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 claims an average treatment plan length of just 4–5 months, and with every aligner package, they include their HyperByte — a high-frequency vibration device that’s intended to reduce discomfort. 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 plastic selected specifically 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.
Beyond Standard Treatment Options
If you have a severe case of skeletal open bite, correction might require a more drastic transformation — the type that could require surgery. This procedure typically involves shaving down excess bone in the upper jaw to create more significant adjustments to your bite and facial appearance than Invisalign can achieve. If you’re considering taking the surgical route, it’s worth consulting multiple dentists first to confirm that standard orthodontic options won’t work.
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 don’t require it. However, if you’re concerned about the severity of your open bite, a dentist can help you decide whether surgery is warranted.
Invisalign is 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 widely trusted. But it also requires more discipline than braces and isn’t 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 options, research them and weigh the pros and cons of each. Ask your dentist which could be the best approach for your particular circumstances. Armed with ample knowledge and professional opinions, you can select a treatment that will make both your smile and your confidence shine!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can an open bite correct itself?
Sometimes a childhood open bite will correct itself after the child has stopped the action that caused it — thumb sucking, excessive pacifier use, tongue thrusting, etc. However, if a case of open bite has persisted into adulthood, it likely won’t go away on its own.
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.
Can clear aligners correct open bite?
Yes! In-office clear aligners like Invisalign are effective in correcting mild and moderate cases of open bite. At-home clear aligner treatments like Byte and SmileDirectClub, however, can only treat mild cases, since they lack attachments and in-person oversight.
What if I don’t fix my open bite?
If you have a mild open bite, 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 long does it take Invisalign 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 are the symptoms of an open bite?
Open bite can cause jaw pain, difficulty chewing, speech impediments, headaches, earaches, and snoring. However, not every case causes every symptom.
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 nail biting, tongue thrusting, or chewing on objects (like pens).
Do open bites need surgery?
Only in rare cases. Many cases of open bite will resolve with an orthodontic treatment like braces or clear aligners. Surgery is only necessary when the misalignment is too severe for orthodontia.
Can an open bite change your face?
Certain cases of skeletal open bite can make your face appear slightly longer, hence the nickname “long face syndrome.” An effective treatment, however, will make your face look more proportional.