How to Fix an Overbite: Causes, Corrections, and More

Everybody wants clean, white, and perfectly aligned teeth. You see Television commercials, magazines, and movies inundated with picture-perfect smiles. Unfortunately, not everyone’s teeth are like that from the beginning. Many children and adults suffer from malocclusion and one type of which is an overbite. Aside from thinking about the methods of overbite correction, you also have to know what the condition is and the reasons it may happen.

What is A Malocclusion?

A malocclusion refers to the misalignment of your teeth. Overbites, open bites, cross bites, and under bites are all types of malocclusions. Overbites commonly occur when the upper teeth stick out far beyond the lower teeth.

Malocclusions can be categorized as:

  • Class 1 – This is the most common type. The bite is normal and the overlap is just slight.
  • Class 2 – The overbite is severe, often referred to as a retrognathic.
  • Class 3 – This is a severe under bite. The lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. This is known as prognathic.

What Causes An Overbite?

Overbites can be caused by several factors. Although some are hereditary, others are caused by a malformed jaw. Jaws may grow unevenly under the pressure of certain habits such as thumb sucking, bottle feeding, and tongue thrusting. Habits developed later in life like nail-biting or eraser head-chewing may cause an overbite too.

Early overbite correction in children helps prevent severe cases.

Why Do An Overbite Treatment Immediately?

If left untreated, an overbite may cause significant health problems. One may suffer from permanent damage to the teeth. Abnormal positioning of the jaw and pain including temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are common.

Other complications may include:

  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Severe headaches
  • Discomfort and pain while eating
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Sleep apnea
  • Trouble sleeping

Without an appropriate overbite correction technique, one may also experience altered facial structures, which can lead to psychological issues such as low self-esteem.

How to Fix An Overbite?

Generally, a dentist refers to a patient with an overbite to an orthodontist for treatment. Children are easier to treat because their jaw is still in the developmental stages. The most common issue for children and teens is teeth crowding. For adults, the lack of precautionary treatment early in life is the usual cause of more serious symptoms.

In either case, a dentist or an orthodontist will examine the area and create an overbite correction plan that may last for up to 2 years or more.

Initial X-rays will help determine the class or type of overbite. These will also give a better view of the positions of the teeth and the jaw, helping in determining the most appropriate treatment plan.

Recommend Overbite Treatment Options

For children and teens:

  • Removal of baby teeth to help permanent teeth grow in the right position
  • Growth modification device to better position the jaw
  • Dental braces are perfect for the purposes of straightening teeth
  • Retainers will help keep the teeth in place post-braces

For adults:

  • Dental braces in adults may still be helpful in straightening teeth but the treatment is expected to be longer compared to children and based on the gravity of the overbite
  • Teeth extraction may be necessary in severe overbite cases to allow other teeth to move into place more easily. This will prevent crowding.
  • Jaw problems for skeletal-type overbites will require surgery

There is no age limit on when to treat an overbite, but again, it is easier to fix in young children because their jaws are still developing.

If your overbite is causing you severe issues, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. In all cases, whether a child, a teenager or an adult, the best way to prevent dental issues from occurring is to make sure you visit a dentist regularly. Children should see a dentist as early as 7 years old. Adults need to get regular dental visits every 6 months to ensure early intervention and avoid potentially serious physical repercussions of leaving an overbite untreated.

If you want to know how to correct overbite problems, visit our clinic in Durango or Farmington today. We will be more than happy to discuss potential treatment options that may be suitable for you. Sunrise Dentistry’s state of the art clinics offers holistic services and innovative technology for more accurate functional analysis.