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overbite guide

Overbite Guide – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment (Everything)

What is an Overbite in Teeth?

An overbite, often called buck teeth, is a common dental condition categorized under malocclusions: teeth misalignments. In an overbite, the upper front teeth extend too far forward over the lower front teeth. It’s not just a cosmetic concern but also a functional issue affecting the oral health of many individuals.

A normal overbite with the upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower teeth by about 1 to 2 millimeters is considered ideal for effective chewing and speaking. This slight overlap is a natural aspect of dental anatomy and does not usually necessitate treatment.

However, when the overlap becomes more pronounced, exceeding 2 millimeters, it transitions into what dental professionals refer to as a ‘deep bite.’ In these cases, the upper teeth can almost completely cover the lower teeth when the mouth is closed, a more severe form of overbite. Excessive overbites can affect a significant portion of the population and are often more noticeable.

A deep overbite goes beyond a mere aesthetic concern; it can influence the overall function of the mouth. It may impact how a person chews and speaks and can lead to dental health issues if left untreated. Therefore, understanding the nature of an overbite, particularly when it becomes excessive, is crucial for dental health and overall well-being.

Wellness Dental Studio offers comprehensive care for overbite correction, utilizing the latest techniques and technology to ensure the best patient outcomes.

What Causes Overbite?

Overbites can have multiple causes, ranging from genetic factors to acquired habits. Understanding these causes is crucial in preventing and treating overbites effectively.

Hereditary Factors:

  • Genetic Jaw Shape: Some individuals are born with jaw shapes predisposing them to overbites. For example, a smaller lower jaw (mandible) that recedes backward compared to the upper jaw (maxilla) can naturally lead to an overbite.
  • Tooth Size and Arrangement: The size and arrangement of teeth are often inherited traits. If the teeth are too large for the jaw or are arranged in a way that pushes them forward, this can contribute to an overbite.

Childhood Habits:

  • Thumb-Sucking: One of the most common causes of overbite in children is prolonged thumb-sucking. This habit, especially if it continues beyond the early developmental years, can exert forward pressure on the upper teeth, pushing them out and leading to an overbite.
  • Prolonged Use of Pacifiers: Like thumb-sucking, extended pacifiers can push the upper teeth forward, contributing to an overbite formation.
  • Tongue-Thrusting: When a child habitually pushes their tongue against their upper teeth, usually during swallowing or speaking, it can encourage the upper teeth to move outward.

Behavioral Factors:

  • Excessive Nail Biting: This habit can exert undue pressure on the upper teeth, gradually pushing them outward and leading to an overbite.
  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Chronic teeth grinding puts continuous strain on the teeth and jaw, which can alter the alignment of teeth over time, contributing to an overbite.

Structural Issues:

  • Improper Dental Development: Issues with the natural development of teeth and jaw, such as delayed loss of baby teeth or irregular eruption of permanent teeth, can lead to misalignment and overbites.
  • Injury or Trauma: Traumatic injuries to the face or jaw can affect the alignment of the teeth and jaw, potentially leading to an overbite.

Symptoms of an Overbite

An overbite can manifest through various symptoms, affecting the appearance of one’s smile and the functionality of the mouth and jaw. Recognizing these symptoms is critical for early intervention and treatment.

Appearance of Teeth:

The most noticeable symptom of an overbite is how much the upper front teeth overlap the lower teeth. In a severe overbite, the upper teeth may cover a large portion of the lower teeth, sometimes even touching the gums behind the lower teeth.

Mouth Functionality:

Individuals with an overbite might struggle with fully opening or closing their mouth, which can affect everyday activities like eating and speaking.

An overbite can make biting and chewing food challenging, often leading to discomfort or toothache, especially when eating harder or larger foods.

Overbites can strain the jaw, leading to discomfort or pain in the jaw, particularly after prolonged periods of speaking or eating. This can sometimes escalate into temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).

Speech Impediments:

An overbite can affect how sounds are made, leading to speech challenges. Certain words or sounds that require the lips and teeth to meet in a specific way can be difficult to pronounce correctly.

Altered Facial Structure:

In severe cases, an overbite can alter the face’s overall appearance. The protrusion of the upper teeth can cause the upper lip to jut out, while the lower jaw may appear receded.

Dental Health Issues:

Overbites can lead to uneven wear on the teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to the difficulty in cleaning overlapped or crowded teeth.

Psychological Impact:

Often overlooked, the aesthetic concerns associated with an overbite can impact a person’s self-esteem and confidence, particularly if they feel self-conscious about their smile.

Diagnosing an Overbite

An overbite is typically first noticed by a dentist during a physical exam, often followed by dental X-rays to examine the extent of misalignment. An orthodontist specializing in teeth and jaw alignment may also be consulted.

How to Fix Overbite: Treatment Options

The approach to correcting an overbite is tailored to the patient’s age and the severity of the condition. The treatment goals typically involve realigning the teeth and, in some cases, the jaw to achieve a functional bite and aesthetic improvement.

Treatment for Children:

Growth Modification Devices: These devices harness the growth potential of children and adolescents. They can modify the jaw’s growth pattern to correct skeletal discrepancies contributing to an overbite.
Braces: Traditional braces are commonly used in children and teenagers to move the teeth into better alignment. They apply continuous pressure over time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction.
Tooth Removal: In cases where there’s crowding or lack of space, removing some baby teeth or, less commonly, permanent teeth can provide the necessary room for the remaining teeth to move into better positions.
Retainers: After braces, retainers are often used to maintain the new position of the teeth. They ensure that the teeth don’t shift back to their original positions.

Treatment for Adults:

Clear Braces/Aligners: Clear aligners like Invisalign are popular for adults with less severe overbites or those seeking a more aesthetic treatment option. They are almost invisible and can be removed for eating and cleaning. Both Invisalign and braces are different from each other.

Orthodontic Surgery: In cases of severe skeletal overbites, where the problem is more related to the jaw than the teeth, orthognathic surgery may be required. This surgery realigns the jaw bones to correct the overbite.

Teeth Removal:
Similar to children, adults might also need teeth removal, especially if significant crowding or orthodontic surgery is planned.

Preventing Overbite

While some overbites are due to genetics and cannot be prevented, specific measures can be taken, especially in children. These include avoiding prolonged use of pacifiers, discouraging thumb-sucking, and early dental visits.

Detailed Examination of Overbite Treatments and Corrections

  • Tooth Extraction for Overbites: Mainly in children, tooth extraction creates room for teeth to grow straight.
  • Braces for Overbite Correction: Braces apply pressure to teeth for proper alignment. Treatment duration varies and may be accompanied by retainers or functional appliances for jaw alignment.
  • Clear Aligners (Invisalign) for Overbites: Suitable for mild to moderate overbites, clear aligners are worn for at least 22 hours a day, with new sets every few weeks.
  • Functional Appliances for Overbites: Devices like Herbst appliances or orthodontic headgear align jaws and teeth.
  • Overbite Surgery (Jaw Surgery): Severe skeletal overbites in adults may require orthognathic surgery to reposition the jaw.

Signs of an Overbite

Signs include crooked teeth, teeth sticking out, a protruding upper jaw, cavities, toothaches, headaches, discomfort while eating, difficulty in speech, trouble in mouth movement, sleep apnea, and gum disease.

What Causes an Overbite?

Factors include genetics, infancy or childhood habits like thumb sucking, adolescent habits like nail-biting, mouth injuries, teeth grinding, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
Complications of an Overbite

Untreated overbites can lead to tooth injury, gum disease, tooth decay, TMD, speech problems, and psychological stress. The severity of these complications varies based on the overbite’s cause and extent.

How Overbites Change with Age

While overbites may improve slightly as pre-teens enter adolescence due to occlusal and bite stabilization, they can worsen if left untreated.

Different Treatment Approaches

Dental Deep Bite involves braces, clear aligners, or upper removable appliances. Types of braces include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and self-ligating braces.

Skeletal Deep Bite treatment involves growth modification techniques for growing patients or jaw surgery in adults, sometimes in conjunction with fixed orthodontics.

How to Get Rid of an Overbite

The method of overbite correction depends on the individual’s age and the severity of the overbite. Options include braces, clear aligners, functional appliances, and surgery. Early intervention can lead to more straightforward and effective treatments.


Understanding overbites, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for maintaining good oral health. If you suspect you or your child has an overbite, seeking professional advice is essential to determine the best course of action.

Wellness Dental Studio offers comprehensive care for overbite correction, utilizing the latest techniques and technology to ensure the best patient outcomes.

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