What is an overbite?
Overbite is the dental term given to a condition where there is an excessive horizontal overlap between your upper and lower teeth. Ideally, the upper teeth overlap the lower by 2mm both horizontally and vertically. When the horizontal overlap exceeds 2mm, it is known as overjet. When the vertical overlap exceeds 2mm, it is known as overbite.
What causes an overbite?
- Most common cause of an overbite is a difference in sizes between the jaws. Therefore, we can say it is hereditary in nature.
- Malformed or unperformed lower jaw and a normal upper jaw can also lead to a large overbite.
- Habits such as thumb sucking, tongue- thrusting and prolonged bottle feeding also lead to both overbite and overjet conditions.
- Other reasons that can lead to development of an overbite are grinding of teeth/bruxism in adults, TMJ disorders, biting of nails or other objects and early loss of teeth.
It is important to know that overbite can develop both in children, growing adolescents and in adults. In adults, however, overbite development occurs rather slowly.
Why you shouldn’t ignore an overbite?
Like other malocclusions, overbite is also a dental anomaly and has both aesthetic and functional problems if not corrected in time.
Some of the effects of a non- corrected overbite are:
- TMJ disorders
- Difficulty in speaking
- Inefficient chewing
- Headaches and neck pains
- Excessive tooth wear
- Sleep apnea
- Loosening of teeth
- Gum swelling, infections and pain
- Cavities if the overbite leads to crowding of teeth.
How is an overbite corrected?
Orthodontics is the only way to correct an overbite. Along with correcting the overlap of teeth, orthodontics also helps align the teeth and correct any other malocclusions if there may be. Conventional braces and aligners can both be used to correct an overbite. The degree of severity determines which one will work best in your case. In many severe cases, a corrective jaw surgery needs to be done before orthodontic appliances are used.
Look out for any of the above signs and symptoms and visit your dentist or orthodontist to get rectified!
Everyone deserves a pretty and a comfortable smile- Why not you?