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People who have their top set of teeth overlapping with the bottom set are usually considered to have an overbite. If you have this condition, you might have already looked into overbite correction. In the dentistry field, overbite is measured by how many upper teeth cover the bottom teeth or how much the teeth overlap. Almost every person has some kind of overbite.
When the overbite becomes too big or too small, this can lead to some issues and complications. When the overbite is too noticeable, professionals will refer to it as a deep bite. A deep bite can lead to issues such as excessive wear of the teeth, pain and discomfort, and also aesthetic ones. If you are experiencing issues caused by an overbite, it’s important to consult a dentist or orthodontist for the right solution for you. Correcting overbites for adults is not too difficult with the aid of orthodontics.
The average size for an overbite is about 2mm to 4mm. This is considered the normal range for the top and bottom teeth to be aesthetically pleasing. If you have a smaller overbite, then more bottom teeth will be visible. When someone has no overbite or a considerably reduced one, they have what is called an anterior open bite. Usually, there will be a gap between the top and bottom set of teeth when the jaw is closed. There are individuals who feel that this is not highly attractive.
If there is an increased overbite, fewer bottom teeth will be visible. For more severe cases, an increased overbite can cause the lower teeth to get worn. It can also cause strain on the gums of the top central incisors. If you have determined that you have an overbite, the first thing to do is consult with an orthodontist. Correcting the overbite can help prevent problems and pain in the future.
One of the causes of overbites is genetic or hereditary factors. During the childhood phase, the teeth will grow and emerge randomly from the gums. The teeth will stop growing if they hit the teeth next to them. This randomness is the cause of many different types of malocclusions including overbite and is extremely common.
A smaller lower jaw is also one of the most common causes of overbites. If the lower jaw is shorter compared to the upper jaw, the person may experience issues with jaw alignment. The lower set of teeth will grow upwards until they reach the back of the upper teeth. When the teeth continue to grow upwards, it often results in overcrowding and alignment issues. The size and shape of the teeth and jaw can also contribute to the development of an overbite. Depending on the size of the jaw, a person could have too much space or too little space for the teeth to develop.
Some childhood habits can also make overbites worse. Thumb sucking is one example of a childhood habit that can aggravate an overbite. When a child sucks their thumb, the thumb places pressure on the upper teeth. This pressure pushes the teeth forward and also puts pressure on the lower jaw which then forces it to move back. Other childhood habits that contribute to overbite development are sucking the lips and tongue thrusting.
Tooth loss can also cause overbite. Losing baby teeth too soon or losing a tooth in adulthood can cause the teeth to go out of their alignment. If you have a lower tooth missing, this can cause a condition comparable to when someone has a smaller lower jaw.
There are two general categories used to differentiate overbites – a skeletal overbite and a dental overbite.
1. Skeletal Overbite
This type of overbite develops when a lower jaw that is too small does not fit the upper jaw. As a consequence, the top set of teeth pushes forward over the small jaw. The shape of the jawbone and how the bones develop are largely affected by genetic factors. For a skeletal overbite, surgical options are usually recommended to properly realign the jaw.
2. Dental Overbite
A dental overbite happens when the teeth are not aligned correctly. It occurs when the development of teeth is interrupted by an external factor such as losing the back teeth, crowding, and bad oral habits. In these types of cases, the lower and upper jaw could be balanced. The problem will occur due to the misaligned teeth which cause the lower jaw to push back towards the neck. For dental overbites, nonsurgical solutions are often recommended to correct this problem among adults.
For some people choosing to correct an overbite may just be a matter of aesthetics. However, it is important to remember that an overbite can also lead to different issues and complications if it remains uncorrected.
For example, an overbite can cause difficulty with speaking. It can lead to a person suffering from a speech impediment. You may experience difficulty when pronouncing specific words. Having an overbite can also cause difficulty when chewing as well as gum damage for more severe cases. Gum damage occurs when the bottom front teeth touch the gums at the back of the top front teeth. When the bottom teeth come in contact with the gum line, it can cause receding gums. This can then lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
In addition to that, an uncorrected overbite can also lead to damaged and worn teeth as well as sleep apnea. There are also some people who experience jaw pain due to their overbite. If the overbite is caused by a misaligned jaw, patients may experience headaches and jaw pain and lead to TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
When you visit a dentist’s office to consult regarding an overbite, they will normally refer you to an orthodontist if you want to get it corrected. Overbites are easier to correct at a younger age when the child’s jaw is in the development stage. However, correcting overbites among adults is still a common procedure. Among teenagers, the most common problem experienced is overcrowding of teeth. An overbite during adulthood is commonly caused by the lack of preventive treatment. This can cause more complicated symptoms related to overbites.
When you consult with an orthodontist, expect the orthodontist to request dental X-rays. This will help them assess what type of overbite they are dealing with as well as the current condition of the teeth and jaw. They will examine your teeth and jaw to come up with a treatment plan. Treatment for an overbite can last two or more years. Treatment time will vary according to the severity of your case.
There are different options available for correcting an overbite in adults. These include traditional metal braces, Invisalign clear aligners, and surgery.
Traditional metal braces are one of the most common solutions to correct an overbite. Metal brackets can be assisted by headgear or elastics to realign the jaw. The disadvantage of metal braces is their prominence which pushes adults to look for more inconspicuous options. If the aesthetics of metal braces is not an issue, they are a great solution for overbites and can be completed faster compared to other options. For some cases, teeth extraction would be needed if the overbite is caused by overcrowding of teeth.
Invisalign is the pioneer of clear teeth aligners and is another option for adults who want to correct an overbite. Invisalign technology has developed over the decades to match results from traditional metal braces. Invisalign also has available attachments which can aid in speeding up the treatment time or if the case is too severe for clear aligners only. Adults typically choose Invisalign since it’s less noticeable than metal braces.
3. Correction Surgery
Surgery is recommended only for the most severe overbite cases. The procedure would involve shifting forward the lower jaw or both the upper and lower jaws could be repositioned if needed. Overbite surgery is often performed if other cosmetic treatments are not effective. The surgery is expensive and the recovery time will last several months. Most cases, however, will not require surgery and can be corrected with braces and clear aligners like Invisalign.
As technology continues to develop, solutions for treating different types of oral problems are also improving. There are now more options available for adults who want to correct an overbite problem. If you are looking for a solution to correct your overbite, it’s important to consult with a licensed orthodontist. Professional advice will help you choose the best option for your case.
Given that there are several choices for correcting an overbite, the right solution will depend on how severe the overbite is, how much you are willing to spend, and how much time the treatment will last. Braces and Invisalign clear aligners will cost thousands of dollars, so it’s important to choose the right treatment to correct your overbite.