Updated, September 2022
An overbite is a common dental condition among children and adults. While a minor degree of overbite is indistinct and usually unproblematic, severe cases may lead to low self-esteem and more serious health issues.
We have all the details regarding overbites, what causes them and how to correct them below.
An overbite is a type of malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth, where the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth when the mouth is closed. This overlap may be so severe that the lower teeth touch the gums behind the lower teeth.
There are two common types of overbite — skeletal and dental — but some patients may have a combination of both.
A skeletal overbite occurs when a person’s jaw bone has developed irregularly and the upper and lower jaw don’t align, pushing top teeth forward.
A dental overbite occurs when the jaw is aligned, but either poor teeth alignment or overcrowding pushes the lower jaw back.
Your dentist or orthodontist will measure the severity of your overbite based on a percentage scale to determine the best course of action.
Overbite can occur due to a variety of factors, including:
Because teeth aren’t lining up as they should, an overbite needs to be corrected — and the sooner you can fix it, the better. If you’ve been diagnosed with an overbite, you’ve got a number of options for treatment.
While typically viewed as a method for straightening crooked or misaligned teeth, braces can also correct jaw alignment, helping to fix an overbite. There are various types of braces, all of which are designed to shift and straighten teeth over time. Traditional metal braces are secured to the teeth with cement and linked together using archwire. Elastic bands will likely also be fitted to the brackets to align the jaw through constant pressure. After the braces are removed, a retainer is beneficial for keeping the newly aligned teeth in place permanently.
On average, this process takes about two years, though it will differ from patient to patient.
Don’t want to deal with the discomfort or appearance of traditional braces? Invisalign is a popular alternative that uses a series of clear trays to gradually mold your teeth into the desired position. While Invisalign costs more than braces, this treatment is far less noticeable and takes less time (about a year total).
In more severe overbite cases that can’t be treated with orthodontic treatment alone, orthognathic surgery may be recommended to realign jaw bones and restore symmetry in the face. This approach is typically only used for adults, since children’s teeth and bones are still developing.
Overcrowded teeth may be the culprit for what’s causing an overbite. In a child or teen, a dental professional may recommend removing certain baby teeth to create more space for adult teeth to come in straight. When teeth hold their normal position, the jaw also aligns normally.
Adults may also require extraction prior to using braces or Invisalign, so teeth have room to move into alignment.
You may want to fix your overbite for appearance reasons, but treatment in fact also helps to prevent other health complications — not just to the teeth — down the road.
When left untreated, overbite can cause:
Fixing your overbite will not only give you a boost in confidence, but it will also keep your smile healthy and prevent other debilitating conditions. Enroll in a dental insurance plan to help shoulder some of the cost of an overbite correction procedure.
Spirit Dental has low-cost dental insurance with no waiting periods. Get the treatment you need now—request a quote today.