The expected costs for correcting an overbite.
Table of Contents
- Overbite Causes
- Treatment Cost
- Cost Expectations
- Payment Assistance
- Making the Best Choice
Ideally, your top and bottom teeth nest perfectly with no gaps, chips, or cracks. But when your upper jaw juts out too far, your unusual smile could get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.
Braces and aligners can both amend overbites, but there are deep cost differences between these two solutions.
Aligners tend to be much less expensive than braces. But if your teeth are far out of ideal position, you might need solutions that increase your cost.
What causes an overbite?
Close your mouth, pull your lips from your teeth, and look at your jaw. You should see about half of your bottom teeth. If your upper teeth cover up much more of their lower counterparts, you could have an overbite.
Some people are born with this issue, but others develop it due to:
- Childhood habits. Sucking your thumb, gnawing on a pacifier, and chewing on things like pens and pencils put pressure on your teeth. They can shift out of position, and that new configuration solidifies as you grow.
- Grinding. Pushing your teeth together as you sleep can shift them from their proper positions.
- Injury. Lose a tooth, and the others might shift into the space left behind.
An overbite isn't simply a cosmetic problem. If your bottom teeth always hit the top of your mouth, you might develop ulcers. You might also chip your teeth, and keeping them clean could be difficult.
The American Association of Orthodontists says overbites can be addressed by either:
- Pushing top teeth further into the supporting bone.
- Moving side and back teeth to open up the bite and add space.
How much will treatment cost?
There are two main methods teams can use to treat an overbite: braces and aligners.
Braces consist of brackets attached to teeth and wires that connect all teeth to one another. As the teeth move, orthodontists tighten the wires in a series of appointments.
Aligners are translucent trays that fit over the teeth. As the teeth move, new trays are made. Unlike braces, which stay on the teeth all the time, aligners can slide on and off when you need to eat, drink, or participate in something important, like a job interview.
Some types of aligners are made in dentist or orthodontist offices, and their prices can be similar to those generated by braces. On average, experts say, these aligners and braces can cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
Direct-to-consumer aligners are made from models of your teeth. While dental professionals supervise the movement, few or no appointments are involved. That cuts the price dramatically. Solutions like this cost anywhere from $1,900 to $3,500, experts say.
When should you expect to pay more?
If given the chance, most people would obviously opt to pay less money for the same product. But sometimes, amending an overbite is complicated. Those complications could add money to your bill.
Experts say overbites make up about 70 percent of dental problems in kids, and anyone with a gap of about 5 millimeters or larger has an overbite. But that problem can vary in intensity.
If your gap is very large, your dentist may need to address other issues before your teeth are straightened, including:
- Infections. If your teeth hit the top of your mouth, deep wounds can form. Bacteria in your mouth can multiply, and those wounds can fester, leading to infection.
- Extractions. If your teeth are packed too tightly into your mouth, there might not be room to move them. Your doctor might need to pull a tooth or two to make room for movement.
- Jaw size. Some people develop overbites due to smaller lower jaws. They may need surgeries or expanders to correct that issue.
All of these procedures come with added costs, and sometimes, the issues left behind can't be corrected with aligners. These products tend to work best for people with mild or moderate smile adjustment needs. If you're missing several teeth and recovering from surgery, braces might be best.
In addition, experts say, a standard overbite should take a year or two to correct. But if you have braces and a complicated case, your recovery could take longer. Some professionals charge more for taking on a complicated case like this.
Get help with your bills.
Your teeth are critical to your health, and addressing an overbite could be the best way to keep you healthy over the long term. There are plenty of options to try to keep your bills small and your overall costs reasonable.
For some families, that means tapping into insurance. Some plans, including those from MetLife, offer orthodontics coverage. The company could pay your doctor directly for your braces or aligners. You could also work with a direct-to-consumer company for your aligners, and the insurance company could reimburse you for the expense.
The least expensive solution available is typically aligners. Research suggests that aligners are just as effective in addressing an overbite issue, and as we mentioned, they can cost significantly less than braces. If your overbite isn't complicated by other factors, this could be a great way to save money.
Health savings accounts may also be helpful. Your employer may offer the opportunity to move money into your account on a pre-tax basis. Those funds are yours to spend on any qualified medical expense, including braces or aligners. You may also see a reduction in your taxes, if you use a program like this.
Making the best choice for your overbite.
Investigate your options carefully, and you can find a solution that helps you improve your smile without breaking your budget.
While aligners are certainly appealing in terms of cost and the treatment timeline, again, they don’t work for everyone. You’ll need to have your specific overbite case assessed to determine its severity.
Most direct-to-consumer aligner companies will have you take an impression of your teeth (top and bottom). A dental professional will then evaluate whether you are a good candidate. If they don’t think aligners can correct your overbite, they’ll let you know.
Doing this initial assessment to see if aligners will work for you is a good place to start. Some companies will refund the cost of this assessment process if they determine their product won’t work for you.
If you learn that aligners aren’t a valid option to fix your overbite, it’s best that you see an orthodontist. They can recommend specific treatment plans — like braces, headgear, or surgery — that can correct your overbite.
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