What Is An Overbite?
A vertical alignment overlap of the upper and lower teeth is referred to as an overbite. Having a slight overbite is important for a proper bite, but it should not exceed a certain extent. The ideal position for the upper teeth is to rest and cover the lower teeth, with a slight forward inclination.
An overbite that exceeds 2-3 mm is considered excessive and requires the attention of a qualified orthodontist with significant expertise for proper treatment.
Is an Overbite Bad for Your Teeth?
Parents are encouraged to seek professional advice from a local orthodontist if they suspect their child may have an overbite. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), it is recommended that children start seeing an orthodontist at the age of 7.
An untreated overbite can have long-term negative effects on your dental health, skeletal structure, and jaw function. Overbites can potentially result in speech impairment, facial discomfort, and inadequate oral care, which can then lead to the development of gingivitis and/or periodontitis.
Having an overbite can cause discomfort, pain, and embarrassment in regards to one’s smile. It is important to understand that an overbite can have long-term negative effects on your oral health.
Neglecting an overbite can result in various problems over time: some potential consequences of poor oral hygiene include tooth loss, overcrowding, difficulty with oral hygiene practices, migraines, jaw issues, discomfort while eating, gum disease, periodontal disease, and other dental problems.
It is important to remember that orthodontic treatment has benefits beyond just improving appearance. Having properly straight teeth and a correct bite is important for maintaining lifelong well-being and improving overall quality of life. Maintaining a healthy physical state requires a strong oral cavity.
Different Types of Overbites
Skeletal and dental overbites are the two main types of excessive overlap of upper teeth, either individually or in combination. The cause of a skeletal overbite is the abnormal growth of the jawbone, which results in improper development of the teeth and jaws.
External factors such as tooth crowding, missing back teeth, or poor oral habits can cause a dental overbite.
Orthodontists use a percentage scale to measure the severity of an overbite, which is determined by the degree of overlap between the upper and lower teeth. The scale categorizes overbites into three degrees: 30%, 50%, or 100%. As the percentage increases, the severity of the overbite increases, requiring more detailed and complex treatment.
The most extreme variant of overbite is known as an impinging overbite, where the lower teeth make contact with the upper teeth’s palate when the mouth is closed, which can cause damage to the bone around the upper front teeth over time. As a result, there may be a risk of losing the upper front teeth and/or causing significant damage to the teeth.
Most overbites can be effectively treated with orthodontic measures alone. In some instances, for severe overbites, oral surgery may be required in addition to orthodontic treatment in order to achieve the best possible results.
What Causes an Overbite?
Overbites occur due to a variety of factors:
- Genetics is one cause: Skeletal overbites occur when irregularities in the growth of the jawbone lead to excessive bites. The formation and progression of bones are primarily influenced by genetic traits inherited from ancestors or family members.
- Inadequate space can cause misalignment of teeth, leading to an overbite. There are multiple factors that can lead to crowding, including the premature loss of posterior teeth due to excessive wear. This can cause the remaining teeth to cluster together and create an overbite.
- Sometimes external factors cause an overbite: Dental overbites are a result of these issues. Overbites can be caused by thumbsucking or excessive use of pacifiers. Furthermore, participating in bad habits that are not healthy, such as biting nails or chewing on pencil tips can also result in the formation of an overbite or overjet.
Overbites are commonly seen in dentistry, regardless of their origin. The key to achieving effective correction is finding an experienced orthodontist.
A skilled orthodontist with the necessary credentials and expertise will effectively address your overbites, ensuring excellent dental care for your teeth.
Treating an Overbite and Correcting It
When a patient has an overbite, dentists often refer them to orthodontists for treatment. The orthodontic treatment approach is more streamlined for children because their jaws are still developing. A common dental issue among young people is overcrowded teeth in the mouth. Adults who have overbites may experience more severe symptoms if they did not receive preventive treatment during their youth. Dental professionals, including orthodontists and dentists, carefully evaluate the affected area before creating a thorough treatment plan that may last for more than two years. The first step involves capturing initial x-ray images, which will provide us with the necessary information to identify the specific type of overbite and analyze the correlation between the teeth and the jaw. This information is important in determining the best treatment approach.