The procedure you and your dentist decide is best for you will depend, in part, on whether you have a mild problem or a more complicated set of overlaps.
- Braces -- This highly effective and traditional approach can also be costly, and it'll involve having a smile of wires for anywhere from a matter of months to a couple of years. You can opt to go with lingual braces which can't be seen because they're attached to the back of your teeth, but those can cause a lot of discomfort. "The Six Month Smile" braces are something else to consider. They're connected to the front of the teeth, but the wires are tinier and they come in shades of white, which makes them less unsightly [source: Total Healthcare].
- Invisalign -- As their name implies, Invisalign devices are intended to fix the problem without being seen. They're also removable. Want to eat a caramel apple or some chewy candy? You can just take the brace-like mouthpiece out and chomp away. You can also remove them before your brush. The downside? They're expensive and aren't ideal for severe overlapping [source: Total Healthcare].
- Sculpting -- Sometimes all your teeth need is some reshaping. Your dentist can use a laser or drill to reduce overlapping and give those pearly whites a bit more room. Be advised, your teeth could be weakened by the process. Bonding is another means of changing the shape of your teeth. In that procedure, a hardening paste is applied to the tooth which can then be shaped [source: Cleveland Clinic].
- Veneers -- A veneer is like a perfectly shaped case for a tooth. Your dentist will sculpt your existing teeth, build a mold, and then put the veneer over the old teeth. The veneers also have the extra benefit of brightening your smile, since they can be made in any shade. The downside is their cost. Depending on the material used, veneers can run from $250 to $1,500 per tooth [source: Johnstone].
Generally, you can expect costs for fixing overlapped teeth to be in the ballpark of $1,800 to $6,500, and insurance companies view the procedures differently. If they interpret the dental work to simply be cosmetic, you may not get any help with the bill. Fixing overlapped teeth, however, can be a life-changer and many patients choose to undergo the procedures despite the expense [source: Cleveland Clinic].
Keep reading: There's a lot more information below.
- Cleveland Clinic. "Braces and Retainers." (Oct. 20, 2011) http://my.clevelandclinic.org/devices/dental_care/hic_braces_and_retainers.aspx
- Dentalfind.com. "Straighten Overlapping Teeth." (Oct. 20, 2011) http://www.dentalfind.com/go/teeth-straightening/article/overlapteeth.html
- Johnstone, Greg. "Dental Veneers Cost and Procedure Details." Consumer Guide to Dentistry. (Oct. 20, 2011) http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/veneer-procedure/
- Total Healthcare. "Tooth Straightening." (Oct. 20, 2011) http://www.totalhealthcare.com/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-straightening/
- Z. Hommer. "Correct Defective Teeth through Dental Contouring." Dental Cosmetics. July 15, 2010. (Oct. 20, 2011) http://www.mydentalcosmetics.com/index.php/tag/fix-overlapping-teeth/