A deep bite is characterized by the top front teeth sticking out much farther over the lower teeth than they should. A bite with this alignment is one of the major malocclusions treated by dental and orthodontic professionals because of the health issues it can cause over time, in addition to cosmetic ones.
If you or your child has been diagnosed with a deep bite – also known as a deep overbite or closed bite – you are likely wondering about your symptoms and treatment options. Below, we address some of the common deep bite warning signs and the various treatments available to you so that you can correct this dental issue before it becomes a medical concern.
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What Does a Deep Bite Look Like?
A deep bite is diagnosed when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth to an excessive degree. The result is a bite that puts gum and palate tissue in the way of the lower teeth and unevenly distributes the force of your bite in an unhealthy way. Your provider will evaluate the position of your teeth and soft tissues to diagnose a deep bite.
While cosmetically undesirable, the medical seriousness of a deep bite depends on the patient’s age and the depth of the misalignment. However, if left untreated, a deep bite will likely cause issues in the future, including:
- Jaw, face, or chewing pain
- Ulcers or sores in the palette
- Wear on the lower teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Eating, chewing, or speaking problems
- TMJ disorder
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
How Does a Deep Bite Develop?
Your or your child’s deep bite may be a result of genetic factors, habits, or a combination. Even oral trauma can cause a deep bite if damaged teeth heal incorrectly.
Genetic factors that can lead to a deep bite include being born with a jaw that isn’t large enough to accommodate the permanent teeth, which can lead to crooked teeth and cause bite issues. Even excessive thumb-sucking, which in early childhood can narrow the palette and move the upper teeth forward, could contribute to the development of a deep bite.
The exact cause of a deep bite is often indeterminate. Thankfully the treatment options are more concrete.
How a Deep Bite is Treated
The first line of defense for treating a deep bite is a dental appliance. Orthodontists can use braces, retainers, or tray aligners as different methods to achieve the same goal of coaxing the upper teeth into a less crowded position.
While braces are permanently bonded to the patient’s teeth, connected by a wire that applies the necessary pressure, tray aligners and retainers are removable appliances that can be worn as needed to make the desired adjustment. These are not equivalent treatments, as tray aligners may not be able to treat malocclusions as severe as the ones treated by braces. Speak with your orthodontist about the options they recommend in your situation.
Since a lack of space due to a small jaw is often to blame for a deep bite, your orthodontist may suggest removing teeth as an alternative to an appliance or in addition to one. Removing either baby or permanent teeth could give the remaining teeth the space they need to spread out and reduce the issue.
Alternatively, if they suspect that damage to your teeth has contributed to your deep bite, they may suggest using implants or bonding to improve alignment by repairing it. In cases where the bone structure itself causes a deep bite, your orthodontist may recommend jaw surgery to correct it.
However, surgery is usually considered a last resort for cases whose deep bite has become severe. If left untreated, a deep bite can cause pain and dysfunction. Therefore, treatment is simpler and cheaper the earlier it begins. Speak with an orthodontist about whether your symptoms could be caused by your bite and the treatment options that make sense for you.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.