The Expected Costs for Correcting an Overbite
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, aligners, and surgery can amend overbites, but these solutions have deep cost differences.
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. Surgery is the most expensive option, but it's the right choice if your overbite is severe.
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 the following:
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 in these ways:
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?
It will cost $2,000 to more than $40,000 to correct your overbite, on average, depending on what solution you choose.
Here's a quick cost breakdown:
Braces: About $4,500, depending on the dentist
Traditional aligners: About $5,000, depending on the dentist
Doctor-directed, at-home aligners: About $2,000, depending on the company you choose
Surgery: Between $20,000 to $40,000, depending on the severity of your overbite
Both braces and aligners can amend an overbite issue, but aligners are best for mild to moderate cases, and by choosing this option, you could save yourself thousands.
Are There Different Types of Treatment Options for Overbites?
If you have an overbite, you can change your smile with the help of a talented team. Three different options are available.
Aligners are translucent trays that fit over the teeth. As the teeth move, new trays are swapped in. 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 of 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.
Braces consist of brackets attached to teeth and wires that connect all teeth. As the teeth move, orthodontists tighten the wires in several appointments. A team can use shortened wires to tighten your dental arch and bring your top and bottom teeth closer together.On average, experts say, braces can cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
Braces also come with added brackets and attachments, so orthodontic teams can use bands and headgear to change the shape of your jaw. Expect to pay more for these options.
The surgery used to fix a severe overbite is called orthognathic surgery, and it's usually completed in people who are also using braces.
Teams use titanium plates and screws to position your jaw properly. During recovery, your team will place bands around your brackets to seal your mouth shut so your bones can heal.
This surgery is expensive, and it can cost up to $40,000 to do it right.
When Should you Expect To Pay more For A Correction?
If given a chance, most people would opt to pay less money for the same product. But sometimes, fixing an overbite is complicated. Those complications could add money to your bill.
If your gap is very large, your dentist may need to address other issues before your teeth are straightened, including these:
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.
All 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. Braces might be best if you're missing several teeth and recovering from surgery.
In addition, experts say, a standard overbite should take a year or two to correct. But your recovery could take longer if you have a complicated case. Some professionals charge more for taking on a patient 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 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 insurance 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 correction 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 other factors don't complicate your overbite, 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 reduce your taxes if you use a program like this.
Make 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 clear teeth aligners are certainly appealing in terms of cost and the treatment timeline, 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.
You should see an orthodontist if you learn that aligners aren't a valid option to fix your overbite. They can recommend specific overbite correction plans — like braces, headgear, or surgery — that can correct your overbite.