Would it surprise you to learn that most people have at least a minor overbite? Not everyone requires treatment for their overbite, but if you’ve ever been told you have an overbite or a deep bite, you may want to know more about what it means.
Let’s take a look at what an overbite is and what causes it. We’ll even discuss why it’s important to correct the issues and how to correct an overbite.
What is an Overbite?
An overbite is a type of malocclusion, meaning it’s a deviation or misalignment that causes the upper jaw to stick out over the lower jaw. The front upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth and can impact normal teeth and jaw function.
What Does an Overbite Look Like?
Have you ever been told you have buck teeth? Maybe you know somebody who does, or you’ve seen it played up as a facial feature in mainstream media. While an exaggerated bite may seem comical in some situations, it’s not especially amusing for people dealing with severe overbites.
Overbite vs Normal Bite
A normal, healthy bite means all teeth align properly when the jaw closes. The molars line up so that the grooves in the teeth fit together nicely and the upper front teeth only slightly overlap the lower ones. Some people may have such slight overbites that it doesn’t require treatment
Overjet vs Overbite
The term “buck teeth” can describe both of these conditions, but overjet and overbite differ slightly. Overjet refers to the upper front teeth protruding outward resulting from a horizontal misalignment of the teeth. Overbite refers to the vertical misalignment of the jaw causing the front teeth to extend beyond the lower teeth.
What Causes an Overbite?
Usually, an individual develops an overbite due to genetics. That means it is the natural shape or size of their jaw and teeth. Too much or too little jaw space creates problems that can be exacerbated by other behaviors.
Tongue thrusting against the backs of the front teeth over time can cause an overbite. Several factors can lead to repetitive tongue thrusting, including swollen tonsils and stress. Tongue thrusting can happen overnight while you’re sleeping, so you may not even be aware of it!
Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking
It turns out that some of those tales about thumb-sucking and pacifiers causing buck teeth are true. These common childhood behaviors can significantly impact a child’s teeth because of the pressure placed on the front teeth. Pacifiers and thumb-sucking don’t just affect baby teeth either! Overuse can lead to problems with permanent tooth alignment.
Chewing and Nail-Biting
Adults and teens can develop overbites as well. It turns out that chewing inappropriate objects isn’t just a gross bad habit, it could affect your teeth! Gnawing on pencils and your nails can impact tooth alignment.
People who grind their teeth can be at greater risk for developing an overbite. While you can take steps to control the behavior during your waking hours, you may need some help to cease overnight grinding.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with TMJ, you could be at risk as well. It’s important to manage the triggers and try to alleviate your symptoms before it affects your bite.
What Happens If You Don’t Correct an Overbite?
Overbites can affect the shape of your face, but it’s not just a question of how you look. Unfortunately, neglecting an overbite can lead to complications and irreparable damage.
- Jaw pain
- Tooth decay due to wear and tear on tooth enamel
- Gum disease due to difficulty cleaning between teeth
- Difficulty eating
- Speech impediments
- Breathing problems
- Sleep apnea
How to Fix an Overbite
Overbite correction may require tooth extraction to correct crowding or palate expanders to create more room for teeth, but orthodontic treatment is the most common approach. Additionally, orthodontic appliances can help treat some contributing factors, like overnight teeth grinding.
Correcting an overbite is most common during childhood years when the jaw can still grow and shift easily. For adults, surgery may be the only option for overbite correction because the jaw can’t grow anymore.
Do Braces Fix Overbite?
Yes! Braces do more than straighten teeth, they can correct bite issues, including overbite. Traditional metal braces and invisible ceramic and clear braces can work wonders on an overbite as long as you follow the treatment plan.
If you don’t like the idea of traditional braces, you could speak with your dentist about trying Invisalign. The clear aligners can successfully correct a malocclusion. You can find examples of overbite before and after treatment on Invisalign’s site or at your orthodontic office.
Correcting an overbite is important for your overall health and can reduce or prevent future problems. If you’re concerned about an overbite, or ready to start orthodontic treatment, the team at Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics can help. Book a free consultation at the office nearest you to get started!