What Are Overbites?
An overbite is a dental condition where the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth excessively when the jaws are closed. It’s a common orthodontic problem that affects the appearance and function of the teeth and jaws. Overbites can be caused by various factors such as genetics, thumb-sucking habits, missing or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.
Symptoms of Overbites
The symptoms of an overbite may vary depending on the severity of the condition, but common symptoms include:
- Teeth Protrusion: The upper teeth may protrude outwards, making them more visible than the lower teeth.
- Jaw Pain: Overbites can cause discomfort in the jaw area due to pressure on the jaw joints.
- Speech Problems: Overbites may cause difficulty pronouncing certain words or sounds.
- Difficulty Eating: Overbites may make it harder to bite and chew food properly, which can cause digestion issues.
- Teeth Crowding: Overbites can cause overcrowding of the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems.
- Headaches: Overbites can cause headaches due to the strain placed on the muscles of the face and jaw.
Treatments for Overbites
If you have an overbite, our South Florida orthodontist may recommend:
Braces are the most common treatment for overbites. They apply constant pressure on the teeth to move them into the correct position. Braces can take several months to several years to work, depending on the severity of the overbite.
Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces. It uses clear plastic aligners that are custom-made to fit your teeth. These aligners gradually move your teeth into the correct position.
Orthodontic headgear is a device that attaches to your braces and fits around your head. It applies pressure to your upper teeth and jaw to move them into the correct position.
In severe cases of overbite, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can involve repositioning the jawbones to correct the overbite.
Causes of Overbites
Several factors can contribute to the development of an overbite, including:
- Genetics: Inherited traits can affect the size and shape of your jaw, which can impact the alignment of your teeth.
- Thumb Sucking: Children who suck their thumb or use a pacifier for an extended period can alter the alignment of their teeth and jaw.
- Tongue Thrusting: This is a habit where the tongue pushes against the front teeth when swallowing, speaking, or resting.
- Mouth Breathing: Chronic mouth breathing can lead to changes in the position of the teeth and jaw.
- Dental Trauma: A blow to the face or jaw can cause damage that affects the alignment of the teeth.
- Jaw Growth: Abnormal jaw growth can create an overbite, such as when the upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw.
Frequently Asked Questions
If left untreated, an overbite can cause several dental problems, such as difficulty chewing, speech difficulties, jaw pain, and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Over time, an untreated overbite can also lead to more severe dental and jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
An overbite can get worse with age, especially if not corrected. As we age, the jawbone naturally recedes, which can make an overbite more pronounced.
The age at which an overbite should be corrected depends on the severity of the overbite and the age of the patient. Children should receive orthodontic treatment for overbites between 10 and 14, as the jaws are still growing and developing. However, adults can also receive treatment for overbites, although the treatment may take longer and be more complicated.
Yes, an overbite can affect the appearance of the jawline, especially if it’s severe. In some cases, the lower jaw may appear recessed or smaller than it is due to the upper teeth overlapping the lower teeth. Correcting the overbite can improve the appearance of the jawline and create a more balanced and symmetrical smile.
Seek Personalized Orthodontic Care for Overbites
Modern orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign can help correct overbites and realign your teeth. By scheduling a consultation with our experienced orthodontist, you can get a personalized treatment plan that will help improve your smile, bite, and overall dental health. Don’t wait to get the help you need. Call our Miami, FL, office at (305) 441-1200 to book an appointment.