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Overbite vs Overjet: What’s the Difference?

Welcome to Reese Orthodontics, your Charleston, SC premier Invisalign and Braces professional. We look forward to helping you obtain your best smile.

Both overbite and overjet are valid concerns for developing children and their parents. These problems occur when your bite does not line up due to the position and size of the jaw or teeth. Overbite and overjet are common conditions that can become severe over time.

The good news is that both conditions can be treated by braces. It’s worth knowing how these conditions differ to figure out which you may have, how severe it is, and how important it is for you or your child to seek braces treatment.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

The Difference Between Overbite and Overjet

An overbite occurs when your lower and upper jaws are vertically misaligned. This causes the upper teeth to overlap in the front when your mouth is closed. They stick too far in front of your lower jaw and can cause a myriad of health and comfort issues, discussed below.

By contrast, an overjet occurs when teeth are misaligned horizontally. In this case, certain teeth are separated horizontally from others, a condition commonly known as “buck teeth.”

How Do Overbites and Overjets Happen?

Both overbites and overjets are “malocclusions,” which simply means that they are problems with the person’s bite. The causes for both issues are similar. Not all of them are in your control.

The most common cause of an overbite or overjet is a discrepancy between your jaw sizes. If one jaw is too small or large, teeth can come in crooked, out of alignment, or even continue to move over time. When things start misaligned, they tend to grow into more misalignment.

Other causes for overbite and overjet include losing teeth and excessively sucking on a pacifier or thumb. Many therapists and pediatricians recommend thumb-sucking to stop at an early age, because excessive thumb-sucking can narrow a child’s palette and lead to malocclusions like overbites later.

What are the Symptoms of Overbite and Overjet?

The most common symptom of an overbite or overjet is the obvious appearance change. The teeth will be visibly out of alignment with the others. This can lead to another symptom—a lack of confidence with one’s physical appearance—that can affect anyone from young children to professionals.

Other symptoms include:

  • Eating difficulties related to chewing and biting
  • Speech impediments, commonly a lisp
  • Abnormal face shape, even when the mouth is closed

These symptoms can become worse over time. This is why it’s important to see an orthodontist sooner rather than later if you suspect that you or your child has an overbite or overjet.

Treatment Options

You may be asking yourself when you should make the trip to the orthodontist to correct an overbite or overjet. You may not even know if you have one. The best way to find out is to ask an orthodontist, especially if you experience any of the above symptoms. Your doctor will inform you of your potential treatment options to correct your issue, based on your unique situation.

Depending on the source of your malocclusion, treatments could include:

  • Braces move teeth into proper alignment and improve appearance, bite, speech, eating, and other issues. They can even correct a misaligned jaw, a common cause of malocclusions.
  • Removing teeth can be necessary if they begin to protrude at an early age. Since crooked baby teeth can cause crooked permanent teeth, your orthodontist may decide to remove your child’s baby teeth early to try and prevent an overbite or overjet.
  • Growth modification can help children with bite issues. They are fitted with special appliances that can coerce oral structures into healthier positions over time. Herbst appliances, Bionators, and other devices are common fixes for long-term bite issues.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you are considering braces for you or your child, 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.

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