The human body can be quite astonishing. Every organ and system works so closely together that, when one is out of order, you can feel its effects in more areas than just the original trouble spot.
A great example of this is your teeth.
While most people consider it an aesthetic element of the human face, your teeth’s condition affects your oral health and facial structures. Even something that people view as a small physical flaw, such as an overbite, can cause an array of health concerns if left uncorrected.
Here, you’ll learn about the basics of an overbite, the possible complications if left untreated, and what dental solutions can correct it.
What is an overbite?
An overbite is a condition wherein the upper jaw overlaps the lower jaw. Although it is common – pretty, even – for people to have a slight overbite of up to two millimeters, some have more significant bite differences that can lead to severe issues.
A deep overbite, or what dentists call a malocclusion, happens when the overlap is more pronounced. Often, patients with malocclusion have a recessive chin that affects the shape of their face. In some cases, this causes people to have rounder and shorter faces, and make them look older than they actually are.
When dealing with this condition, dentists first determine the type of overbite a patient has between the two existing classifications: vertical and horizontal. The primary difference is how the overbite is formed.
For vertical overbites, the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth significantly. On the other hand, horizontal overbites entail the top teeth jutting forward in front of the bottom teeth.
While they may not look the same, both of these overbites are either caused by dental or skeletal issues. As the name suggests, the issue with dental overbites lies with the teeth. For skeletal ones, it’s the jaw that needs correcting.
Whichever the case may be, classifying the type and causes of overbites determines the types of treatment available and their effectiveness in correcting the issue.
What could happen if an overbite is not corrected?
Although it primarily affects how your smile looks, overbites are more than just about aesthetics. When left unchecked, deep overbites can cause headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. It can also get deeper over time and may wear down the teeth.
Below are some examples of other prominent physical issues that can occur if you don’t get your overbite corrected early on:
- Lisps and other speech impediments
- Eating and chewing difficulty
- Pain due to strained jaw and facial muscles
- Weakened teeth enamel that could lead to gum disease or cavities
- Damage to the front teeth due to their overly protruding position in the mouth
- Damage to soft tissue on the roof of the mouth caused by constant contact with the bottom teeth
3 Possible Solutions for an Overbite
Depending on the severity of your overbite, you’ll likely be offered several possible solutions to correct it, such as:
Orthodontic braces are arguably the most common method of correcting overbites. Braces in Fort Lauderdale are used to reposition and adjust any abnormalities in your bite.
In this dental solution, patients will undergo a two-stage process:
- Teeth realignment
During this stage, orthodontists attach the metal brackets to the patient’s teeth. Then, they connect each of these brackets to a metal wire that will apply force to the teeth and adjust its alignment.
Once the teeth are straightened, the next step will be more focused on correcting the overbite.
- Jawline correction
The next stage is jawline correction, which entails the attachment of springs, coils, and rubber bands onto the braces. These will work together to shift the position of the jawline into its correct alignment.
With most braces, the overbite treatment can be accomplished from six months to two years, depending on the severity of the malocclusion.
Besides traditional metal braces, you can also choose other forms of orthodontic devices that look less obvious when installed. One example is ceramic braces, which work like metal braces but have much more similarity in color with the teeth, making them less apparent.
You can also use a series of clear aligners placed over the upper or lower teeth (or both) to adjust their alignment gradually. Also called Invisalign, each set of these aligners is used for a period of two weeks, before being replaced subsequently until the overbite is corrected.
B. Tooth Extraction
In some cases, the patient’s upper jaw or lower jaw is not big enough to fit all their teeth. This results in overcrowding and, sometimes, misalignment of their choppers.
There are also instances when a certain amount of space is needed to allow the teeth to move more freely to correct their alignment.
In both of these situations, teeth extraction may be deemed necessary by the dentist. The removal of several teeth creates more space for the remaining ones to move more freely, making them easier to shift into an ideal position.
In cases wherein the problem is linked to a skeletal issue, surgery may be necessary to correct an overbite. During the procedure, a dental practitioner repositions the jaw that cannot be adjusted by braces alone.
Often, this corrective surgery is available for adults whose jaws can no longer be adjusted. However, it is not usually recommended for children since they still have more flexible bones.
Are veneers an option for overbite?
Does an overbite require the use of veneers or Lumineers in Fort Lauderdale? Not always.
There had been discussions about these dental appliances and whether they can be used to correct an overbite. After much deliberation, it was decided that Lumineers or veneers would only be recommended after the alignment issues have already been corrected.
You see, both veneers and Lumineers are shells made to look exactly like natural teeth. Their primary purpose is to cosmetically correct dental issues by covering natural teeth that may be chipped, too small, stained, or irregularly shaped.
For overbites, veneers and Lumineers are not effective in addressing the true root of the issue. This means that, if they are added before the malocclusion is corrected, there’s a good chance that they will end up breaking or cracking.
Correct Your Overbite to Stay Healthy
Overbite correction is necessary in preventing more serious health issues down the line. Consider the possible solutions listed in this article and talk to your dentist to determine which one best suits your case.