What is an Overbite and How to Correct It

How do you know if you have an overbite? An overbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude forward past the upper teeth, resulting in your lower jaw overlapping your upper jaw. This can create gaps between your two front teeth and may appear as if your lower teeth are sticking out of your mouth. A normal bite is characterized by even spaces between your top and bottom front teeth. While genetics can play a part in determining whether or not you have an overbite, diet can also play a role in creating uneven spaces between teeth.

An Overview


An overbite refers to teeth that are positioned outside of a normal bite position. In some cases, it’s possible for all teeth to be shifted upward. If your child has an overbite, they might have jaw pain as well as additional dental issues caused by their misaligned bite, such as tooth decay. An adult with severe overbites might experience jaw pain due to TMJ dysfunction or a buildup of plaque on their teeth or gums, which can lead to gum disease if left untreated. Dental braces can correct most types of overbites; some dentists also offer non-surgical treatments in addition to traditional orthodontic options.

What is an Overbite?


An overbite occurs when your lower jaw (mandible) protrudes beyond your upper jaw. Usually, a person’s top teeth fit comfortably inside their bottom lip, but in cases of an overbite, your lower front teeth extend beyond your upper ones. An under-developed lower jaw can lead to health issues throughout your life. If you have an overbite or if you suspect that you might have one, it’s important to find out why and how to correct it as soon as possible.

Types of Overbites


There are three types of overbites you need to know: normal bite, functional overbite, and skeletal overbite. For each one, there are specific causes and treatments—they aren’t interchangeable. Typically, a minor cosmetic adjustment can fix normal bites (such as braces) while a functional or skeletal bite may require surgery or orthodontics. In some cases, patients may have all three types of bites at once. The best way to figure out what type of bite you have is by consulting with a dentist or doctor who specializes in dentistry; they’ll use x-rays of your teeth and jaws to help diagnose any problems.

Diagnosis


An overbite refers to a condition in which your upper teeth fit into your lower lip or rest against your chin. If you don’t have an overbite, you may have a normal bite. Whatever your condition, it’s usually easy for dentists to detect with a visual examination of your mouth. However, most people don’t realize they have an overbite vs normal until they undergo treatment for another dental problem like TMJ syndrome (aka temporomandibular joint disorder) or crook teeth, or if they just notice that their teeth aren’t align as well as they should be.

Treatment Options


There are several ways a dentist can treat overbites. First, your dentist may suggest a night guard. If your overbite is mild, night guards can help train your jaw muscles to be where they should be while you sleep, so you wake up with a straighter mouth. They’re also non-invasive (which means you don’t have to worry about drilling holes in your teeth or getting fillings). However, it might take several weeks for results to show up. Secondly, if overbites are severe enough that there isn’t much room left for jaw muscle exercises alone, then orthodontics (braces) may be need.

Follow-Up Care


If you’re in a lot of pain after surgery, ask your dentist or orthodontist if they offer follow-up care. If they do, it’s usually cover by most insurance policies. Usually once or twice a week for several weeks, you will visit their office. At each visit they make adjustments to your braces that can hurt but are necessary if you want positive results from your procedure. Make sure you arrive at appointments on time and don’t miss any visits! If things get really bad, like if your jaw locks or pain becomes unbearable, call them immediately; it might be best to go ahead and come in during that case so they can make adjustments right away rather than waiting for a scheduled appointment.

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