Will a Retainer Fix a Mild Overbite Without Braces?

Will a retainer help a slight overbite due to sucking my fingers at a young age? It's not as bad as most thumbsucker's teeth, but I wanted to know if a retainer would correct it without braces?

Doctor Answers 5

Overbite Correction with Retainer

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Although the word retainer, technically means to retain or hold previous treatment, some removable treatment appliances actually do correct overbites.  They are called Dentofacial Orthopedic Appliances and are inconspicous, removable and effective in correcting many jaw problems.  However, braces (or Invisalign) are usually needed to finish the result. 

Retainers "retain" the current position of teeth

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Retainers usually only "retain" the current position of teeth. They have a very limited ability to move teeth. At the very most, you may be able to achieve 1-2 mm of tooth movement (by tipping) only if there is space for the tooth to move. Therefore, it may not be the best option to correct your overbite. Consult with your orthodontist.

Matt T. Walton, DMD
Suwanee Orthodontist

Can a retainer fix an overjet

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It all depends!...If your upper front teeth are flared out with spaces, it is certainly possible to retract the teeth until the spaces are closed....after this, any overjet would require much more extensive treatment. Without more information it's impossible to know what else you need.

Robert Waxler, DMD, MS
Saint Louis Orthodontist

Overbite correction usually requires braces or Invisalign.

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Retainers may do a very small amount of tooth movement, but are usually used to "retain" the position of teeth after they are corrected. So all but the slightest of overbites will require more than a retainer for correction. Check out websites of some of your local orthodontists and look at the "before and after" illustrations. This might help you decide what type of treatment to seek. Schedule an examination with an orthodontist to get an expert opinion about how your goals can be met.

R. William McNeill, DDS, MS
Mercer Island Orthodontist

Retainer to correct mild overbite, definite maybe

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If the teeth are protruded a little (2-3 mm),  there are some small spaces between them, and they don't have very much vertical overlap it may be possible.  If they protrude 4-5 mm, spaces need to be a little larger, and they must not have much vertical overlap.  With enough space the retainer could probably help this some.   Much more than these amounts of protrusion and it probably won't work.  If there is a lot of vertical overlap of the upper over the lower it probably won't work.  Best thing to do is go see an orthodontist and have him show you exactly what you have and what he thinks is the most practical way to treat it.  . You can ask why about anything he says  and he should be able to show you and explain it to you so that you really do understand exactly what the issues are.  If you don't feel that you really understand exactly what he is saying, go talk to another one until you do.  If you really understand what the retainer or whatever appliance that is recommended is supposed to do  your chance of getting a good result is a lot better.  Patient cooperation is essential and we really  need for you to be on the team to help get these things done. 

Clark L. Jones, DDS, MSD
Phoenix Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.