How Long Does an Overbite Take to Fix?
An overbite is a common type of malocclusion, or teeth misalignment. With an overbite, your upper front teeth stick out in front of your lower front teeth.
Overbites can affect your appearance, but they can also make it harder to breathe, chew, and perform daily oral hygiene routines. This increases your risk of certain health conditions, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Treatment options for overbites vary depending on the severity of the problem. For more serious overbites, braces may be required, and treatment could take one to two years or more. In the most extreme cases of overbite, jaw surgery or a tooth extraction may be needed.
For mild-to-moderate overbites, clear aligners may be an option. Treatment time could be as short as 4 months.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Your treatment time will depend on the severity and complexity of your overbite, and the type of orthodontic treatment program you choose.
Individuals with a mild or moderate overbite will likely have their choice of treatment options, including any type of braces (traditional metal, “invisible” ceramic, or lingual, which attach to the back of the teeth) as well as clear aligners.
Individuals with a more severe overbite may be limited in their choices. Some moderate to severe cases can be treated with in-office clear aligners or “invisible” braces, but others may require traditional metal braces, additional hardware, tooth removal, or even surgery.
Braces treatment time will also depend on the type of overbite you’re dealing with. After meeting with an orthodontist for a consultation, you may return for multiple visits for an exam, x-rays, and scans or impressions of your current teeth.
If you have any issues that need to be addressed before treatment, like cavities or crowding that requires an extraction in order to create space for teeth to move, those will also need to be taken care of prior to your braces being put on.
Your orthodontist will create a treatment plan to correct your overbite. With braces, brackets are attached to your teeth and bands are placed around them. The bands are connected by wires that are periodically tightened to provide gentle pressure in order to move teeth.
Braces treatment for an overbite may take one to two years and may require additional hardware, like a palate expander. Major overbites may require more treatment time.
Researchers say, for example, that some people need intense treatment that blends both surgery and braces. Based on a 2017 study, that treatment can take the following lengths of time:
14.6 months if people have surgery to amend jaw size first, before braces
22 months if people have braces before surgery
During braces treatment, you meet with your orthodontist regularly for the following:
Assessment: The orthodontist looks at your teeth and braces to determine if everything is moving according to plan.
Tightening: Most braces rely on expert tightening. Wires get shorter to move teeth more while guided by an orthodontist.
Repairs: Brackets that slip and slide can't pull on your teeth. New ones are sometimes required.
Skip an appointment, and you will pay the price. Researchers say missing more than two appointments adds almost a year to your treatment time frame.
For many people with a mild-to-moderate overbite, clear at-home aligners offer a faster and more straightforward treatment program — plus, they’re removable and virtually invisible.
With clear aligners, the process begins by getting a clear image of your current teeth. This is done with either an in-office tooth scan or at-home impression kit. Using that image, specialists and software are able to determine where your teeth need to move in order to create an optimal smile and bite.
A treatment plan is then made, and your series of aligners is created and shipped to you. The series of aligners is custom-designed to gently move your teeth through a progression of movement. After the last aligner tray, your teeth will be in correct positioning.
While in-office aligner programs may vary in treatment times (and may be able to address more severe cases of overbite), many at-home aligner providers have an average treatment time of around 6 months.
An overbite alters the relationship between upper and lower jaws, and fixing the problem with braces can take years, but aligners can do the job in a shorter time frame.
A Step-by-Step Progression
Why does treatment take so long? The answer varies from person to person. But in general, doctors must complete many steps to align teeth and amend an overbite problem.
Experts say traditional overbite correction with braces involves the following:
Alignment: Brackets affix to teeth, and wires connect them. As the wires shorten, teeth move into new positions.
Overbite reduction: Headgear, rubber bands, or both pull jaws into new positions. These devices attach to braces that stay in place.
Space reduction: Close monitoring ensures that jaws don't move too much, and teeth fit together in perfect alignment.
Aligners are a little different. Choose this therapy, and your treatment follows one of two paths.
Braces first: Headgear and rubber bands attach to braces to adjust the overbite. With that step completed, braces come off. Aligner therapy pushes your teeth into their final spots.
Aligners only: If your overbite is mild or moderate, you may only need clear aligners. You’ll wear each tray for a week or two before moving on to the next. Each tray will progressively move your teeth to correct positioning.
When your braces treatment is complete, your teeth should overlap in perfect harmony. But sometimes, the treatment doesn't work as planned.
For example, researchers say some overbite adjustments with braces lead to poor smile aesthetics. The smile broadens, so too many teeth appear when you smile. Everything should look fine and ideal, but something looks slightly altered or wrong.
You're not forced to live with a smile you don't love. If braces adjusted the overbite but left your smile less than ideal, aligner treatment may help. A subtle adjustment to a few key teeth could give you the smile you’ve been looking for.
When Is Treatment Complete?
Most people measure treatment duration by the time they wear the devices. When they're done wearing braces or aligners, their work is complete. The reality is more complex.
Braces and aligners work by pushing your teeth into new spots. The ligaments attached to your jaw bend and stretch in time, and new bone is built. When the devices are removed and pressure eases, teeth can drift back into old positions.
It takes time for teeth to remain in the right spots. Ligaments must strengthen and straighten rather than stretching due to pressure. Release the pressure too early, and teeth can just move back into their old positions.
Retainers remind your teeth to stay where they are newly placed. Retainers can be clear like aligners, or they can be wire-and-plastic devices that slip over your teeth. Some retainers are even permanently bonded to bottom teeth.
In general, you must wear your retainers full-time for about 6 months after braces or aligner removal, experts say. Then, you should wear them at night. That continues for years, if not indefinitely.
Is This Hard Work Worthwhile?
You have plenty of things to do and many demands on your time. It's reasonable to wonder if you should worry about your overbite.
Remember that an overbite can cause serious health problems due to the following:
If your overbite is accompanied by crooked teeth, you may struggle to brush and floss efficiently.
In severe cases, lower teeth can hit your upper palate. When lesions form, they can get infected.
It's difficult to bite and chew with misaligned teeth. Sore muscles can lead to headaches. If your doctor recommends help for your overbite, it's best to listen. You're protecting your health as well as your appearance.
Rest assured that correcting your overbite doesn’t usually involve an extensive time commitment. Get an assessment of the severity of your overbite. If it’s mild to moderate, you may be able to have it fixed in a matter of months with at-home aligners. If it’s more severe, your treatment timeline may extend into years.
Byte Before & After Overbite
For those with a mild-to-moderate overbite, Byte offers clear aligner treatment that is the ultimate in value and convenience. Our reputation in the industry is unmatched, and for good reason: We make at-home orthodontic treatment easy, affordable, and fast. The average treatment time for our doctor-monitored programs is 4 months, and each aligner kit comes with a Byte for Life guarantee.
These are other Byte advantages:
Not sure if we can help with your overbite? Start with our online “Am I a Candidate” questionnaire and then continue on to an at-home impression kit. Once you send it back, we’ll determine if aligners are a good option for you.
If it turns out you’re not a candidate for our aligners, we’ll refund you. If you are a candidate, you’ll be ready to begin your custom treatment plan and correct that overbite.
Byte offers at-home convenience throughout your entire treatment. After sending in your impression kit, you’ll receive your aligner trays and check in virtually with your clinical support staff to ensure your teeth are progressing as they should be.
In addition to a free post-treatment retainer, you’ll receive a HyperByte massage tool with your aligners. The HyperByte is a high-frequency vibrational device that massages the gums. Research has shown vibrational devices like these may increase comfort and improve result times with aligner treatment.1
With Byte’s user-friendly app, you’ll be able to check on your progress, learn more about your treatment, and access our super-supportive clinical network and customer service reps.
Byte offers an affordable one-time fee of $1,999 as well as convenient payment plans and discounts for the military, students, and first responders.
Overbite Frequently Asked Questions
Your orthodontist will recommend the best way to properly align your teeth, so ultimately, the best way to help your treatment go faster is to follow every step your treating professional recommends.
If you have an overbite that can be treated using several different options, you may be able to choose a faster option. For example, traditional metal brackets are good orthodontics for people with complex dental alignment problems, but increasingly, clear plastic aligners are a better option for serious or moderate dental alignment struggles, including overbites.
Currently, treatment with clear aligners takes several weeks or months, while treatment with metal brackets and wire braces takes months, up to two years.
Treating your overbite with orthodontics can be expensive since dental insurance will not generally cover adult braces or other orthodontia. However, treating your overbite does not have to cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Many people with overbites benefit from less expensive, at-home clear aligner treatment, which is overseen by a professional orthodontist with very few required checkups or even virtual visits. Following the treatment plan and taking care of your clear aligners ensure you get the best possible results for much less than you would spend on in-person orthodontic treatment.
No, an overbite will not correct itself. Sometimes, children with baby teeth who have an overbite can see that problem resolve when their adult teeth come in, but this is rare. Teenagers and adults with overbites are more likely to experience a worsening of the problem than an improvement.
If you have an overbite, you might want to correct it because you want a dazzling smile. It can also be important to fix an overbite for the health of your teeth. Otherwise, your teeth might become sensitive, develop a chip, or even crack because of pressure when you bite and chew. Do not wait to get treatment to resolve an overbite.
If your teeth are generally healthy and your dentist is not concerned about their alignment, you do not have to correct your overbite. Keep going to your dentist at least once per year and maintaining a strong oral hygiene routine to reduce plaque buildup and tooth decay.
Unfortunately, having an overbite means that your teeth might suffer some damage because of pressure in the wrong places. This increases the risk of dental hygiene problems like cracked enamel. This is not your fault, as a good oral hygiene routine alone will not be enough to help.
Fixing an overbite can improve your smile so you feel less self-conscious, but it can also support better dental health overall.