Good news: If you’re frustrated with your underbite, you’ve got ways to correct it. Even better news: Invisalign presents a powerful, yet discreet treatment option — clear aligners that can resolve a variety of tooth and jaw misalignments. Many adults favor Invisalign because it’s much less conspicuous but generally just as effective as traditional braces, for around the same price.
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before moving forward. In this guide, we’ll get into the details of treating underbite with Invisalign and some alternatives if Invisalign isn’t right for you.
Table of Contents
What Is Underbite?
Underbite is a type of misalignment that occurs when the lower teeth sit in front of the upper ones. It varies in severity, but many cases are mild, appearing as a slight overlap of the upper teeth. Most of the time, underbite is not a serious medical concern, but even mild cases can cause excessive wear on your enamel, discomfort, and a lack of confidence in your smile.
Some underbites are so minor they’re barely noticeable, while others cause the jaw to protrude. Either way, the condition can cause more than cosmetic concerns. Other symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech impediments
- Mouth breathing
- Bad breath
If left untreated, an underbite can continue to wear down your enamel unevenly, eventually causing tooth decay, gum disease, temporomandibular disorders (TMD), and even tooth loss. In some cases, it might even cause sleep apnea.
What Causes Underbite?
Sometimes it’s genetics. If underbite runs in your family, or you’re born with irregularly sized jaws, teeth that erupt too close together, a cleft lip, or a cleft palate, you’re more likely to develop the condition. But sometimes the cause is circumstantial instead. Childhood habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, nail biting, and pacifier use past age three put children at risk of developing an underbite.
Jaw injuries are another possible cause. For example, if you break your lower jaw, it might not fit together with the upper jaw properly after it’s healed.
Can Invisalign Correct Underbite?
Yes! Invisalign is very effective at correcting bite issues, underbite included.
Invisalign has come a long way since introducing their clear aligners over 20 years ago. Today, dentists around the world offer their treatment, and Invisalign can rival braces in correcting most types of dental misalignments, including typical cases of underbite.
Dentists often pair Invisalign with additional appliances, like elastics, to make more significant jaw adjustments. Besides conventional dental appliances, treatment can also include Invisalign’s “Smartforce” attachments. Your dentist can fix these tiny tooth-colored devices to your teeth to add additional pressure in the desired direction. Between elastics and Smartforce attachments, Invisalign can achieve complex bite adjustments without a single metal bracket or wire.
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 Is 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 underbite 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 underbite 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 more complex jaw misalignments like underbite.
- 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:
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 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 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.
Beyond Standard Treatment Options
Corrective jaw surgery is reserved for cases of severe underbite in which the patient is seeking a radical transformation of the face and jaw. This procedure can deliver significant adjustments of your bite and facial structure by moving the top jaw, bottom jaw, or both. In any case, corrective surgery is most often used when standard treatment options are unable to produce sufficient results.
This is a pretty significant form of surgery. Besides being quite expensive, it also comes with a long recovery. Fortunately, most cases of underbite don’t require surgical intervention, and respond well to the options discussed above. If you have a very severe underbite, an orthodontist can help you determine if surgery is warranted.
Invisalign is among the most popular treatment options for adult underbite because it’s inconspicuous, removable, and extremely effective when used properly. However, Invisalign requires more discipline than braces, and isn’t nearly as affordable as remote options like home teeth aligners.
Consider the pros and cons of each treatment option discussed above, and (if you haven’t already) consult a dentist to make sure you understand the nature and severity of your particular condition. That way, you’ll be confident in your ability to shop around the most appropriate treatment options for you. Best of luck to you and your beautiful smile!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get rid of an underbite?
Yes! Underbite is a common and treatable condition. Many dentists will recommend orthodontic treatments like Invisalign or braces, but more severe cases might require surgery. Regardless, if you have an underbite, there should be a solution.
What causes underbites?
Underbites 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, childhood habits like thumb sucking, excessive nail biting, tongue thrusting, and using pacifiers past age three can also lead to underbites.
What happens if you don’t fix an underbite?
An underbite can cause your enamel to wear down unevenly, and over time, that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and temporomandibular disorders (TMD). An untreated underbite can also cause sleep apnea and chronic jaw pain.
How do I know if my underbite is severe?
A severe underbite is when your lower teeth protrude so far forward they appear to overlap your upper ones. This may cause jaw pain, difficulty chewing or speaking, headaches, or a chin that sticks out. However, both mild and severe underbites can affect your overall oral health, so it’s best to get either type treated.
Do underbites change your face?
Not always, but they can. If you have one — particularly a severe case — your lower jaw might jut out or your face might look asymmetrical.
What age is best to correct underbite?
Childhood is best, if possible, since the underbite could affect how the child’s jaws grow and develop. Treating it early allows the permanent teeth to descend in an ideal environment, reducing the risk of misalignments later on. But that doesn’t mean adults can’t get an underbite fixed. Ask your dentist about your options as soon as you notice symptoms of an underbite.
Are braces or Invisalign better for underbite?
Both can effectively correct many cases of underbite, 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.
How long does it take Invisalign to correct an underbite?
It depends almost entirely on the severity of your underbite. 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.
How long does it take to fix an underbite?
It depends on the severity of your case, but it often takes braces or Invisalign 12–30 months to fix a crossbite. However, your treatment might fall outside that range. The milder your case, the shorter your timeline usually is.