Most people would want to achieve straight and perfectly aligned pearly whites naturally. When we look at celebrities and models on TV and in magazines, it’s noticeable that a set of white and straight and teeth is a must. However, not everyone is gifted with naturally straight teeth. Sometimes genetics will get in the way and contribute to the development of some type of malocclusion. One type of malocclusion is an overbite. But what exactly is an overbite? How does an overbite develop and should you correct an overbite? Read on to find out more about the causes of an overbite and the solutions available if you need to correct one.
Occlusion, in the context of dentistry, refers to how the teeth are aligned and how the upper jaw and lower jaw come together. The term malocclusion refers to the misalignment of the upper and lower set of teeth and jaw. There are different types of malocclusion which include crossbite, open bite, underbite, and overbite.
There are three categories to evaluate a malocclusion. In class one, the patient has a normal bite but the upper teeth slightly overlap with the lower teeth. Class 1 is considered the most common category of malocclusion. In Class 2, also referred to as retrognathic, the patient will have a severe overbite. Class three, which is also called prognathic, is when a patient is diagnosed with a severe underbite. Their lower teeth overlap with the upper set of teeth.
A crossbite is a type of malocclusion where the upper and lower teeth do not have the correct bite position. A crossbite could be caused by the position of the jaw or teeth or a combination of the two. There are two types of crossbite. An anterior crossbite occurs when the bottom front teeth stick out farther than the top front teeth. Meanwhile, a posterior crossbite develops with the back teeth which include molars and pre-molars, extend past the bottom top teeth. A posterior crossbite is much more common type compared to an anterior crossbite.
An open bite refers to the condition where the upper and lower teeth are slanted outward and do not come into contact with each other when the mouth is closed. This type of malocclusion is rarer than other types and develops in less than 1 percent of the US population. Similar to a crossbite, an open bite can also develop in the front teeth or the back teeth. Anterior open bite refers to when the top and bottom front teeth are not touching or overlapping. Patients often have difficulty tearing their food using the front teeth. A posterior open bite is when the upper and lower back teeth do not touch.
An underbite is a condition where the lower set of teeth overlaps and extends beyond the upper set of teeth. This type of malocclusion can cause discomfort, pain, extreme self-consciousness. Patients with an underbite may also find it difficult to speak clearly and chew their food properly. This can lead to teeth wearing down faster.
With an overbite, the upper front teeth extend past the lower set of teeth. An overbite of one to two millimeters is common but a bigger overbite normally requires correction. Severe cases of overbite can lead to pain in the jaw and teeth wearing down faster as well.
One factor that contributes to developing an overbite is the size and shape of both jaw and teeth. A person can either have too much or too little space in their jaw area for all their teeth. If there is not enough space in the jaw, the teeth will tend to crowd together which leads to crookedness. If the jaw area has too much space, the teeth will grow far apart causing gaps and spaces between the teeth.
Another factor that causes an overbite is having bad childhood habits. These include thumb-sucking, extended and consistent use of pacifiers, and overusing feeding bottles. If childhood habits are not fixed early, the tongue will continue to put pressure on the back of the upper teeth which will then lead to an overbite. Among teenagers and older adults, chewing pencils and constant nail-biting can lead to an overbite.
Losing a tooth and not repairing the area can also contribute to having an overbite. Almost 70 percent of American children show signs of an overbite according to data from the American Dental Association. Other factors that lead to an overbite are teeth grinding, genetics, and TMJ or Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
What would happen if an overbite is left untreated?
If you leave an overbite uncorrected, it may lead to further health issues in the future. Possible health complications include permanent teeth damage, jaw pain, and temporomandibular joint disorder. Other complications that could result from an overbite are tooth decay, gum disease,severe headaches, pain or discomfort when eating,difficulty fully closing or opening the mouth, difficulty speaking, and sleep apnea.
Leaving an overbite untreated can significantly change the structure of the face and may lead to low self-esteem. If a severe overbite develops during childhood and significantly worsens, aesthetic damage could be experienced in the pre-pubescent years.
For patients who want to correct an overbite, they will typically be referred to an orthodontist who can provide the treatment. It is easier to correct an overbite in children since the jaw is still developing. For teens and older children, the most common problem experienced is overcrowding of teeth. A lot of adults who have an issue with an overbite develop more complicated symptoms associated with overbites. Not undergoing preventive treatment causes these symptoms to become more severe.
The orthodontist will examine the patient’s condition in order to assess and recommend the proper solution. They will take X-rays to get a more detailed look at what type of overbite the patient has and what evaluates the relationship between the jaw and the teeth. Once they’ve assessed the problem and its severity, they can write up a treatment plan for the patient. Treatment time for an overbite can last two years or more depending on the severity of the case.
• Remove the baby teeth to make space for permanent teeth and help them grow straight.
• Use a growth modification device to help develop a better position for the jaw
• Traditional braces will gradually shift the teeth and help correct the overbite and jaw problems.
• Retainers should be used post-treatment with traditional braces to help maintain the new alignment of the teeth.
• Traditional braces – The orthodontist can come up with a treatment plan targeted to move only the teeth for overbite correction.
• Teeth removal – Removing teeth for more severe cases of overbite. This will allow the teeth to move freely and is an option often avoided if unnecessary.
• Surgery – Surgery is the recommended solution for skeletal overbites. This type of overbite and the associated jaw problems can only be corrected through surgery.
• Clear aligners – Clear aligner companies such as SmileDirectClub have developed their technology and can correct mild to moderate cases of overbite.
Nowadays, there are several companies that offer at-home clear aligners. SmileDirectClub is one of the older brands of at-home clear aligners in the industry. They are much less expensive than traditional metal braces and Invisalign and could be a convenient option for some people. However, not all types of conditions can be treated with clear aligners.
SmileDirectClub will need to evaluate your condition before you can proceed to get a treatment plan from the company. If you have a mild to moderate case of an overbite, SmileDirectClub will accept you as a good candidate for their clear aligners. Those with more severe and complicated cases are normally rejected and referred to use more traditional methods such as metal braces.
SmileDirectClub clear aligners are ideal for those looking for a cheaper option to treat their overbite. Prices of clear aligners will not go for more than $3,000. This is already much cheaper than the average price of braces and Invisalign ranging from $5,000 to$8,000.
If you are interested in SmileDirectClub clear aligners, you can visit their website at smiledirectclub.com and take an online assessment to determine SmileDirectClub is the right solution for you.
Whether you are experiencing pain caused by overbite problems or simply want to correct the overbite for aesthetic purposes, your best move is to consult with your dentist. If your overbite is already causing you pain, it is even more important to get immediate treatment to avoid worsening the condition.
As always, the best method of preventing issues from happening is to regularly check in with your dentist. This applies to children, teens, and adults. When children reach 7 years old, they are often recommended to get checked to see if there are signs of an overbite developing. Adults should also visit their dentist every six to twelve months in order to provide preventive treatment and avoid severe complications caused by an overbite.