An overbite is a misalignment of the teeth where the front top row overlaps the front bottom row. Overbites can occur in varying degrees, from slight to severe, for different reasons. Ignoring this condition can lead to damaged and decayed teeth, jaw pain, and gum disease, so early identification and treatment are crucial.
Your orthodontist may have mentioned the term “dental occlusion,” which relates to teeth and jaw alignment. An overbite is a malocclusion, as it deviates from normal alignment and requires orthodontic intervention to treat. There are a few malocclusions besides overbites, including crossbites, underbites and open bites, all of which an orthodontist can treat.
Apart from the different types, malocclusions fall within classes related to their severity, including:
- Class one: A slight overbite, or an otherwise normal bite.
- Class two: A moderate overbite.
- Class three: A severe overbite.
Types of overbites
There are two distinct types of overbites, each resulting from a different cause, including:
- Dental overbite: This condition happens when normal dental development is obstructed, most often by teeth crowding, loss or removal of the back teeth, or poor dental hygiene.
- Skeletal overbite: A skeletal overbite results when a patient’s jaw grows incorrectly, preventing proper teeth alignment.
It’s also possible to have a dental/skeletal overbite combination. This condition occurs when your or your child’s jaw develops incorrectly, and the teeth suffer an interruption in growth, causing misalignment.
Both dental and skeletal overbites can occur at varying degrees of severity. The most severe form is an impinging overbite, which involves the top front teeth completely overlapping the bottom teeth, causing the bottom teeth to contact the gums or roof of the mouth when closed. If left untreated, an impinging overbite can lead to extensive tooth damage or loss of the front upper teeth.
Diagnosing and treating these conditions
Malocclusions are often initially noticed at a routine dental checkup, then the dentist will refer you or your child to an orthodontist. Orthodontists specialize in treating dental and jaw misalignments and can offer a broad spectrum of treatments for children, teens and adults, depending on the severity of the overbite.
Your orthodontist will begin with a physical examination of the teeth and jaw to determine the type and extent of the misalignment. The next step is for the doctor to X-ray the affected areas and assess the association between the jaw and teeth for further clarification. Using this information, your orthodontist will develop an effective treatment plan to correct the overbite.
Treatment options for overbites
Finding a reputable orthodontist that uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver leading treatment options will ensure you and your family experience the best possible results. While treatment for children, teens and adults differs slightly, the primary solutions include:
- Metal braces: Traditional braces offer a tried and tested method for moving teeth into alignment. A notable advancement in this area comes in the form of Damon Braces, which offer clear design options and advanced self-tightening technology for gentle, low-maintenance treatment.
- Clear aligners: For a less conspicuous appearance, you could choose clear teeth aligners like Invisalign®. This treatment offers an attractive, removable alternative to traditional braces made to fit your or your child’s mouth comfortably.
- Orthodontic devices: Your child’s orthodontist may employ one of several growth modification devices, such as headgear, a palate expander, a special type of retainer or a mandibular anterior repositioning appliance (MARA), to realign their jaw. Orthodontists typically use these devices when the child experiences a growth spurt.
- Surgical intervention: In severe cases, you may require surgery to improve jaw alignment and correct an overbite. The procedure involves widening the lower or upper jaw area or moving it backward or forward to regain proper alignment.
Orthodontic treatment for an overbite can last for up to two years or longer in more severe instances, and the cost will depend on the type of overbite and how extreme it is. Identifying malocclusions in the early developmental stages makes treatment easier because the child’s jaw is still developing.
Effective overbite correction in Florida
Whether you or your child have an overbite due to a dental impediment or jaw misalignment, seeking the proper diagnosis and treatment from a professional orthodontist as soon as possible is vital for swift and successful realignment.
Hess Orthodontics is Florida’s leading orthodontic service provider, boasting an expert team ready to help you and your family with their teeth overlap and other dental misalignment needs. With over 15 years of experience serving West Coastal Florida communities in the Greater Tampa Area, we provide a comfortable and friendly environment driven by our caring team. When you visit us, you can trust that we’ll use cutting-edge orthodontic technology and techniques for optimal results.