An overbite (also called a “malocclusion”) is a common dental malady that can cause many issues. It occurs when your upper and lower teeth don’t line up properly, leading to irregular eating, hygiene issues, and even speech problems. Over time, overbites can even damage teeth. Read on to learn how to fix an overbite.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Main Types of Overbites
Technically, “overbite” refers to two different kinds of malocclusions:
- A dental overbite occurs when your upper and lower jaw are aligned in such a way that the bottom jaw becomes pushed back over time. This is an alignment issue that results in an overbite after many years.
- A skeletal overbite is purely structural. It occurs when the upper jaw is significantly larger than the lower, which makes the upper jaw jut forward over time.
Causes of an Overbite
Overbites can be caused by one or several factors working in tandem. They can be present at birth or develop over time due to bad habits.
Here are some of the primary causes of overbites:
- Genetics can play a role in creating overbites.
- Childhood habits such as thumb-sucking and nail-biting can change the palette over time and lead to an overbite. Even using a pacifier too much can cause it.
- Chewing on pencils or biting nails can also create an overbite over time.
- Grinding your teeth can lead to bite changes that result in an overbite, as can losing teeth and not having your smile corrected.
Problems that Result from an Overbite
If overbite correction is delayed, many orthodontic problems can begin to develop. These problems include:
- Appearance. The most obvious effect of an overbite is that your jaw is uneven and causes your profile to change.
- Jaw pain. This occurs from teeth grinding each other due to the misalignment. This can cause wear and tear on your jaw, which sustains the pressure of your bite problems over time.
- Bad bite. This can increase your risk for gum disease and jaw disorders. When teeth are not properly aligned, they can also become eroded and at risk for breakage and disease.
- Speech issues. An improperly aligned jaw can also cause speech impediments.
A Brief Guide on How to Fix Overbites
Now that you know the possible causes of overbites and the adverse effects they can have over time, here is a brief guide on how to fix overbites before or after they become a problem:
Dental braces are well-known remedies for a crooked smile, but they can also correct bite alignment issues. They first realign the teeth so that the jaws can connect evenly. Then, your orthodontist will attach elastic bands that stretch between your braces on the top and lower jaws. This will coerce your lower jaw into a more aligned position by applying a constant force on it throughout your treatment.
(Note: elastic bands should not be worn while you eat or brush your teeth. Be sure to remove them before doing so.)
Finally, after removing your braces, your orthodontist will fit you for a retainer. This keeps your teeth in the aligned position and prevents them from drifting and further impeding your bite.
For patients that may not require conventional braces to fix their issue, Invisalign offers an alternative. They are especially advantageous for those that need braces but want to correct their smile discreetly. Over time, your orthodontist will make new molds to continue correcting your alignment until the problem disappears.
Note that Invisalign treatments are more expensive than conventional braces but also more discreet.
If your overbite is severe enough, your orthodontist may recommend surgery to correct it. This is especially apparent in cases of overbite resulting from a misaligned jaw. Thankfully, children rarely need surgery to correct their overbite since their jaw is still growing. Less invasive corrective methods almost always do the trick.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
We hope you now know how to fix an overbite. For orthodontic care in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic options 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 treatments are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible care in your area.