You may have heard of an overbite, but what does it mean, and how does this affect the health of your teeth?
It can be worrisome to be diagnosed with any kind of condition, whether it be medical or dental, so how can you identify if you have an overbite and what treatments are available to you?
You may have questions such as whether it is necessary to correct an overbite or if it can be done naturally by yourself.
Read on to find out how to identify the problem and the risks associated with severe forms of the condition.
What Is An Overbite?
Put simply, an overbite is when the upper front teeth have a significant overlap over the lower front teeth.
Overbites are a common bite issue as most people will have a slight overbite and may not have any problems from it, but 8% of people in the US have a severe overbite.
This is where the alignment of your face may not look right, and some people have upper front teeth that protrude outward- This condition is often referred to as overjet or buck teeth.
What Kind Of Overbites Are There?
This is the most common type and occurs when the molar position is normal, but the other teeth aren’t aligned properly.
If you have this type of overbite, you may find issues such as gaps between the teeth, an open bite, and even overcrowded teeth.
This type is more specific and occurs when the upper molars are too far forward compared to the lower molar. This type falls into two categories.
- The first is when the lower lip rests behind the upper teeth, and often people with this overbite experience a slackening of the lips.
- The second is where soft tissues in the mouth and face exert pressure that tilts the incisors towards the palate.
This type can occur when the lower molars are positioned too far forward compared to the upper molars, and people with this underbite usually have a more prominent chin.
There are 2 subdivisions of this class.
- One is a malocclusion which occurs when the jaw is misaligned due to a growing problem.
- The other is when the lower teeth are too far forward compared to the upper teeth.
What Treatments Can I Get For An Overbite?
If you have a severe case of an overbite or an overjet, you may need to get surgery on the jaw, which can correct the upper and lower jaw alignment.
This treatment option is usually performed on adults as all of their permanent teeth should have grown through.
As teeth can move around even into adulthood, it can be necessary to intervene at this stage to avoid issues like crooked teeth, gum disease, tooth decay, and jaw pain.
If you are suffering from any discomfort, it’s best to see your dentist so the condition can be identified and the right treatment plan can be put in place as soon as possible.
Your dentist will go through the treatment options that are available to you and can make a referral if the issue requires surgical or specialist intervention.
If, however, you have a class 1 malocclusion, the most common form of an overbite, you may only need a clear plastic aligner made for your teeth.
If you have overcrowded or rotated teeth, you may want to consider whether braces are a good option, as the aligner is best used for specific and sometimes slight alterations.
Do I Need To Correct My Overbite?
If it is significant and it causes you pain, then yes. If left untreated, this can lead to irreparable damage to your teeth, especially ones that may be crooked or twisted.
Other complications include headaches, pain while eating, trouble fully opening or closing your mouth, and tooth decay.
Overbites can also alter the face in terms of its alignment and can ruin self-esteem, and this can extend to children where the effects can continue to deteriorate as early as 8 or 9 years old.
If you are concerned about your overbite or suffering discomfort from it, you can go along to a dentist’s appointment, and they would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
They can also inform you whether you need any intervention from a simple examination and will offer their opinion on how to proceed with treatment.
Can I Correct Them Myself?
Unfortunately, you can’t.
As great as it would be to avoid sitting in the dentist’s chair, you may need to get overbite braces, jaw surgery, or even a retainer as a form of intervention.
However, you can prevent some cases of overbite when childhood habits such as thumb sucking and pencil chewing are cured, but the emphasis here is some, so these can be cured in childhood, but some other forms of overbite might still be apparent.
But it can still be good practice for young adults to avoid chewing pens, pencils, and bottle caps, which can grind down enamel, plus no one will want to share their stationery with you!
The Bottom Line
Overbites are a common issue in terms of teeth health, and you could live with a bite issue, but you may find as you get older that your condition worsens.
A good tip is to ask someone to check your smile. You want them to look at the vertical overlap of your top and bottom teeth.
If it is over half, then you have an excessive overbite. Even with this check, it may not identify how severe it is, so now you have a reason to arrange a check-up.