13 November 2020

4 mins read

Clear Aligners Cannot Correct Severe Teeth Conditions. But What Exactly Does “Severe” Mean?

Not sure if you're a suitable candidate for clear aligners? We cover the teeth conditions that cannot be corrected with invisible braces, so you know for sure.

If you’ve been meaning to straighten your teeth, going with invisible braces can seem like a no-brainer decision.


  1. Less painful
  2. Subtle
  3. Budget-friendly (find out just how affordable they are in our pricing guide)
  4.  More time-efficient

There’s just one catch though…

While invisible braces can now solve a host of teeth misalignment problems ranging from mild to complex, there are still some severe conditions that may require other orthodontic treatment options.  

Unsure if your teeth concerns can be fixed with invisible braces?

Here we give you the low-down on the conditions that invisible braces may not be able to fix.

(Psst: Want to find out right now? Take our FREE smile assessment here.)

Severely rotated teeth

If you have a rotated tooth, it’s likely to be highly visible–especially if it’s one of your incisors, the flat teeth at the front of your mouth.

There are several reasons why your teeth are rotated including:

  • Trauma to the tooth during the developmental years
  • Overcrowding
  • Supernumerary (extra) teeth

Research has consistently shown that clear aligners are typically limited in correcting severely rotated teeth. If your rotated tooth is severe (i.e. more than 50 degrees), clear aligners might not be a suitable treatment option for you.

Large tooth gaps

Gap teeth, or teeth spacing, refers to when you have large spaces in between your teeth.

Gap teeth are usually the result of a discrepancy between your jaw and teeth size–either your jaw is too large and your teeth too small, or a combination of the two.

Nonetheless, there are other causes of teeth spacing as well:

  • Losing a tooth
  • Having been born without a tooth

While clear aligners are perfect for closing small gaps in the teeth, the same can’t be said for large tooth spacings.

These large gaps are typically the result of losing a back tooth, missing multiple teeth, or a congenitally missing tooth.

Closing large tooth gaps with clear aligners, without additional orthodontic attention and treatment, can worsen your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth come together) and lead to other severe dental problems!

Severely crowded teeth

When you don’t have enough room (i.e. ‘real estate’) in your jaw for your teeth to fit properly, your teeth can overlap, bunch up, and twist–sometimes getting pushed to the front of back. The common signs of overcrowding include:

  • Front tooth or teeth sitting high and pointed outwards
  • Overlapped front teeth in the lower jaw

Lack of orthodontic care, and even genetics (thanks, Mom and Dad!) can all contribute to overcrowding.

In comparison to conventional metal braces, invisible braces can’t exert the necessary force needed to create complex tooth movements in order to correct severe overcrowding.

Also, in cases of severe overcrowding, teeth extraction may be necessary to create space in your jaw.

Patients having premolar extractions may not be suitable candidates for invisible braces as the aligners cannot always keep the teeth upright during space closure.

In other words, there’s a high level of unpredictability involved during the treatment process.

Severe Deep Overbites

An overbite refers to the vertical overlap between your upper and lower front teeth when you’re biting down.

Most people have at least a little overbite, which is approximately 30% to 50% of the height of the lower teeth. Anything over that, however, is considered a deep bite.

For severe, deep bites, clear aligners alone won’t be a suitable treatment option.

Skeletal Malocclusions

This is a developmental deformity which may vary from minor to major malformations of skeletal origin, such as the size, shape, and relative positions of the upper and lower jaws.

With skeletal malocclusions, clear aligners are not the answer. Instead, depending on the patient’s growth status, treatment options commonly include use of the following:

  • Fixed functional appliances (FFAs) to enhance mandibular growth
  • Headgear to restrict maxillary growth
  • Camouflage by extraction of upper and/or lower premolars
  •  Surgical correction of the underlying skeletal discrepancy

Open bites

If your lower and upper front teeth do not touch each other when you close your mouth, you have an open bite. Because an open bite may be caused by inherited skeletal problems, the same treatment options apply with skeletal malocclusions (i.e. not clear aligners).

The gold-standard treatment typically involves the combined approach of orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances and orthognathic surgery.

Read through the entire article, and didn’t relate to any conditions?

Congratulations: clear aligners will (most likely) be all you need to straighten that smile of yours!

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Clear Aligners Cannot Correct Severe Teeth Conditions. But What Exactly Does “Severe” Mean?