An overbite (sometimes called Buck Teeth)involves your upper and lower teeth and occurs when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. Typically, most patients have at least a slight overbite. Orthodontic braces can fix many issues, including an overbite. An overbite can hurt your smile.
The most common cause of an overbite is the size and shape of a child’s teeth and jaw (genetics). A patient’s mouth size can be too large or have too little space to fit teeth properly.
If untreated, this form of malocclusion can also result in overcrowding, misaligned teeth, or spaced teeth.
Childhood habits that involve pushing the tongue against the back of the teeth (tongue thrusting) can cause an overbite. These habits include long-term pacifier and bottle use, tongue thrusting, finger sucking, and thumb sucking.
Causes Of An Overbite?
The term occlusion refers to how our adult teeth align with each other. An overbite is a type of malocclusion. A malocclusion is a misalignment between the upper and lower teeth when they approach each other as the jaws close.
An overbite is when a patient’s upper teeth stick out far beyond the lower teeth. Overbites are usually a genetic trait. It can also be caused by a behavioral habit leading to malformed jaw development.
These habits can include thumb sucking, extended use of a pacifier, teeth grinding, tongue thrust issues, biting our nails, or chewing on objects. TMJ disorder can also cause malocclusion and loss of teeth as your teeth shift into open spaces.
Dental malocclusions include:
Class One Malocclusion.
This type occurs when the upper jaw has a slight overlap of the upper teeth. This is the most common malocclusion.
Class Two Malocclusion.
This type of malocclusion is diagnosed when the overbite is severe. Also called a deep bite.
Class Three Maloccluison.
This malocclusion is a severe dental underbite (when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth). Another term for this is prognathic.
Dental Overbite – 2 Types
This overbite occurs when the top teeth significantly overlap the lower teeth.
This overbite occurs when the top teeth protrude out over the lower jaw.
Dental overbites are also classified as either dental or skeletal. An overbite means the teeth are the root cause of the overbite. A skeletal overbite identifies the jaw as the root cause of the overbite.
Orthodontic braces are the most common treatment for an overbite. A dentist can diagnose an overbite. There is no age limit on overbite treatment. It will just be easier on still-developing children vs. adults.
It is usually straightforward to see an overbite so that parents can understand it easily visually. In patients, x-rays and dental impressions will be necessary to assess the overbite fully.
Orthodontic braces will slowly place forces on the jaw and teeth to properly align, thus eliminating the overbite.
In a severe overbite, removal of teeth (usually premolars) may be necessary or even dental surgery to reposition the lower jaw. An overbite can create issues in dental hygiene, which can lead to an increased incidence of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Possible Treatment For Children and Young Adults
Early removal of baby teeth.
This will give permanent teeth the needed space for eruption into the mouth.
Growth modification appliance.
Your dentist will use this during growth periods to help better position the jaw.
The use of braces will directly apply forces, slowly moving the permanent teeth to correct the overbite along with the jaw.
Orthodontic Retainers For Permanent Teeth
These orthodontic appliances are used following orthodontic treatment to help to keep the teeth in place following the completion of treatment.
Possible Treatment For Adults
Orthodontics allows for movement of the teeth to correct an overbite.
Both dentists and orthodontists try to avoid extracting permanent teeth, but this will become necessary in severe overbite cases. This removal is to allow the remaining teeth more space to move into alignment.
You may need this for skeletal dental overbites that can only be corrected with jaw surgery by an oral surgeon.
If an overbite goes untreated, there can be significant issues both with your smile and for your health. The following are possible complications that can arise from an overbite:
- TMJ Disorders, including jaw pain.
- Increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Severe Headaches.
- Teeth Grinding.
- Discomfort upon eating and chewing.
- Sleep Apnea.
- Speech Impediments
How do you know if you have an overbite?
An easy way to tell is to look in the mirror and examine only your teeth when biting down. If most of your lower teeth (3.5 mm or more) are hidden by your top teeth, you may have an overbite. Your dentist will be able to diagnose your overbite.
What causes an overbite?
The most common cause is genetics. A patient’s mouth can be too big or too small to fit the erupting permanent teeth properly. Childhood habits, including pacifier sucking, finger sucking, and thumb sucking, push the tongue against the back of the teeth. These habits can lead to the development of an overbite.
Can you correct an overbite without braces?
Yes. For children, extraction of teeth often helps correct an overbite. Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional dental braces. Cervical pull headgear and jaw surgery can also be used to correct overbites.
Can overbites get worse with age?
It depends on the type of malocclusion. Every patient is different. But yes, unfortunately, overbites usually get worse with age.
Can a mouthguard fix an overbite?
A mouthguard will not fix an overbite, but it may help alleviate some symptoms. These symptoms will include jaw pain and headaches.
How long does it take to correct an overbite?
It all depends on the severity of the overbite and the type of treatment recommended. Braces typically take 1 to 2 years. Invisalign can fix a mild to moderate overbite in 9 months to 1 year.
Jaw surgery can correct an overbite fairly quickly, and it will take 6 to 8 weeks to heal and fully recover.
Can You Live With an Overbite?
Yes, you can live with an overbite. However, letting an overbite go untreated can have serious consequences for your smile and overall health.
It is best to correct an overbite when possible to achieve a healthy, straight smile, avoid gum disease, excessive wear and tear on the teeth, or even tooth loss.
Can an Overbite Change Your Facial Structure?
Yes. An overbite can create the esthetic perception of a shorter chin or weaker jaw. Overjets, commonly associated with overbites, can also cause the teeth to stick out – known as “buck teeth.”
Your dentist can quickly diagnose your overbite and offer you different options to correct your smile. We all want a perfect smile, but an overbite can cause other dental issues beyond esthetics.
Remember to see your dentist routinely for dental examinations and professional cleanings to keep your smile healthy and happy for a lifetime!
Contact Marielaina Perrone DDS at (702) 458-2929 to schedule a no-cost cosmetic consultation appointment if you are ready for a smile makeover. We cannot wait to help you with your smile makeover to create the smile of your dreams in Summerlin, Henderson, and Las Vegas, NV.