What is an Overbite?
Overbite is when the upper teeth overlap the lower ones. In medical terms, it is known as a malocclusion. Often, an overbite can merely appear to be an issue with crooked teeth when, in fact, the person’s teeth and jaws are not lining up properly.
How is it Caused?
The most common cause of malocclusion is the shape and/or size of the teeth or the jaw. This could mean having an extra room in the jaw area or too little room to accommodate one’s teeth size.
What Happens If I Don’t Treat an Overbite?
If left untreated, an overbite could cause major health issues, including irreparable damage to teeth from abnormal positioning and possible jaw pain.
Other overbite complications include:
- Tooth decay
- Severe headaches
- Discomfort or pain while eating
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Sleep apnea
- Trouble with fully opening or closing mouth
An untreated overbite could also alter the facial structure and lead to psychological issues like low self-esteem.
Treating an Overbite and Fixing It
Overbites are easier to treat in children because their jaws are still developing. For children, the most common problem is teeth crowding. For many adults with an overbite problem, the lack of early treatment can cause more severe symptoms linked to overbites in the near future. In either case, the orthodontist will examine the area and write up a treatment plan lasting for up to 2 years or longer. The very first x-rays will be taken to study the type of malocclusion and the relation between teeth and jaw in figuring out the best treatment.
Here are some possible treatments your oral surgeon may recommend for fixing an overbite:
Children and Teens
- Removal of baby teeth (a way to make room for permanent teeth to grow in straight)
- Braces – slowly move the teeth to correct the overbite as well as the jaw
- Growth modification device – helps to better position the jaw
- Retainers – a device used after the braces treatment to help keep the teeth in place
- Braces – move the teeth to correct an overbite
- Surgery – jaw issues for skeletal-type overbites can only be corrected with surgery
- Teeth removal – orthodontists try to avoid this option but will do this in severe overbite situations to allow the teeth more freedom to move.
If your overbite is causing issues, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist for treatment. In all cases, whether a child or adult, the best way to prevent oral issues from occurring is to ensure you visit your dentist early and often.
Schedule an appointment with Sima Family Dental today. Give us a call at 281-457-6444 or book online.