Overbite vs. underbite 

As you flip through a magazine, turn on the TV or watch a film, you likely feel inundated with sparkling white smiles. While these perfect smiles may seem like they’re everywhere, the reality is that many people have malocclusion, which is when the teeth are not perfectly aligned. If you have a misaligned smile, help is within reach when you enlist the Hess Orthodontics team in West Coastal or Central Florida.

What is an overbite?

An overbite is when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth. While almost everyone has a slight overlap to prevent the teeth from hitting each other when you bite down, if the top front teeth extend past the bottom front teeth, this is an overbite.

There are two types of overbites to be aware of:

  • Vertical overbite: A vertical overbite is when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth.
  • Horizontal overbite: A horizontal overbite is when the top teeth protrude over the bottom teeth.

The most common reason people develop an overbite due to the shape and size of their jaw and teeth. If you do not treat an overbite correctly and there is not enough space in the jaw, it can result in the teeth becoming crowded and crooked. For those with too much space, it can cause their teeth to come in too far apart.

Symptoms of an overbite

Generally, an overbite is easy to diagnose because it’s visible whenever someone smiles or opens their mouth. However, a slight overbite may be less noticeable. Some of the significant symptoms of overbites include:

  • Bad bites: Your teeth must be in alignment to perform functions such as chewing and speaking correctly. If the upper jaw is not in proper alignment, it can cause the top and bottom teeth not to bite together properly and result in jaw pain or challenges in speaking and chewing.
  • Jaw problems: Poor jaw position can result in issues like headaches, jaw stiffness and neck pain.
  • Psychological conditions: The appearance of an overbite can cause psychological issues, as the individual may have low self-esteem or be hesitant to smile.

What is an underbite?

An underbite is when the bottom teeth extend forward to give the appearance that the jaw is protruding from the mouth. Unlike an overbite, an underbite in any form is abnormal and requires dental treatment.

Depending on the shape of your jaw, two types of underbites can form:

  • Skeletal underbites: A skeletal underbite is a malformation of the jawbone typically resulting from genetics.
  • Dental underbites: Dental underbites are tooth misalignments resulting from a crossbite. With a dental underbite, the upper teeth extend forward slightly while the lower jaw remains in place.

While an overbite typically results from your genetics, it can be a side effect of childhood habits. For example, thumb sucking and nail biting both contribute to an underbite. You can also develop an underbite as a result of an injury. Severe trauma, such as a jawbone fracture, can cause permanent damage as the jaws no longer fit perfectly together.

Symptoms of an underbite

The symptoms of an underbite are generally easy to identify as they are visible when someone smiles or talks. Some of the main symptoms and issues that can result from an underbite are:

  • Pain: A misaligned jaw can result in mild jaw pain or discomfort or only flare when performing certain activities like eating or speaking.
  • Difficulty biting: A misaligned jaw can also cause issues while chewing, as your teeth cannot mesh together to chew your food correctly.
  • Speech problems: Another key symptom of an underbite is speech problems, as having teeth in the wrong position can make it more difficult to form words properly.

Correct your smile with Hess Orthodontics

At Hess Orthodontics, we want to help our patients smile brighter. We offer many orthodontic services to help straighten teeth and correct under and overbites. Some of our service offerings are:

Damon System Braces
Professional teeth whitening
Early treatment
Synapse Dental Pain Eraser

Achieve the smile of your dreams

Choose Hess Orthodontics for premier orthodontic services in Florida. Our experienced team works to help you feel comfortable and confident at every step of the orthodontic process. Schedule a complimentary consultation in Riverview, Lithia, Parrish, Apollo Beach, Sarasota or Winter Haven to learn how we can help you achieve the smile of your dreams!