An overbite, a condition where the top teeth extend beyond the bottom teeth, is a common dental problem that can be corrected by dental braces. Overbite teeth are considered a type of malocclusion, or "bad bite." Sometimes an overbite is so minor it's hardly noticeable, while more extreme cases can make your top jaw look significantly larger or your bottom jaw much smaller.
Many people are fine with the way an overbite looks. But one thing to keep in mind is that it can actually cause significant dental problems. Overbite teeth can affect the way you talk and even change the structure of your face -- those who have ever heard the term "buck teeth" can attest to that. Many patients who have undergone overbite correction or overbite surgery are often pleased with the results, finding improvements with chewing, speech development and their appearance.
Overbite Teeth: A Cause for Concern
If you're worried that your child has a habit that is contributing to an overbite, set up a dental appointment. Even at an early age, a dentist can check your child's bite with X-rays and determine the need for overbite correction at a later date. Your dentist can even suggest ways for your child to stop bad oral habits that increase the chances of developing overbite teeth.
A dentist can determine if you have an overbite during a regular dental visit. Although minor malocclusions may not need to be corrected, overbite correction is usually recommended to avoid future dental problems. An overbite can cause you to exert more pressure on your jaw while chewing -- over time, this can wear down your teeth, increasing the need for a tooth filling or gum disease treatment.
Overbite Surgery and Other Treatments
Orthodontic treatment is the most common form of overbite correction. A dentist or orthodontist will often use dental braces and rubber bands to pull the top teeth back. If an overbite is complicated by overcrowding, you may need a tooth extraction to make room for your front teeth.
Invisalign® overbite correction is an alternative solution to traditional wire braces. With Invisalign overbite correction, your dentist will prescribe a series of clear, plastic aligners to wear for a period of 1-2 years. The aligners snap onto your teeth and can be removed whenever your eat or brush. Each aligner is designed to incrementally shift your overbite teeth into a certain position.
In extreme circumstances, where the overbite is mostly skeletal, overbite surgery may be required to set your jaw backwards or forwards. For optimal results, corrective overbite surgery is recommended after a child has stopped growing -- in the late teens or early 20s. If a severe overbite is not corrected by adulthood, the teeth can continue to shift and cause problems like gum disease.
The earlier you see a dentist for any dental problem, the better. An overbite is easier to treat in children and teenagers, as their jaws are still developing. But it's never too late to correct your bite -- adults can also be treated for an overbite. More time may be needed to correct the problem.
Maintaining Your Smile After Overbite Correction
Once your overbite is corrected, you still need to see a dentist for regular dental visits to monitor your progress and check for other signs of dental problems. To protect your investment, an orthdontic retainer is usually made to keep your teeth from shifting back.
If you think you have an overbite, see a dentist. Your dentist will assess the need for treatment and discuss your options. With a corrective procedure, your teeth won't just look great, but your mouth will function better -- and you'll feel better, too!