There are many orthodontic issues that may require you to get braces. It could be a case of crooked teeth, odd gaps between teeth, problems with the jaw, overcrowding, underbites or overbites. Not everyone may be familiar with the term overbite but it is a very common condition. Within limits, there is no harm associated with overbites but as and when the condition deteriorates further, you may need to take corrective measures to deal with it.
In order to give you a better understanding of what an overbite is, why it is so common, the best ways of treating this condition and finally how braces can help you to get perfectly aligned teeth in case of an overbite, here is a brief guide to overbites.
What is an Overbite?
The medical term for an overbite is malocclusion. In dentistry, the word “occlusion” means the alignment of your teeth or the way in which they come in contact with each other. A malocclusion is the condition in which this alignment is off, causing the teeth to come in contact in an abnormal manner.
There are three different types of malocclusions. The first is where the upper jaw overlaps the lower one slightly. This is common but doesn’t need much treatment. The second is a more severe form of an overbite, where the proportions are off by almost 30-50%. This type of a malocclusion is referred to as retrognathia. The last type is an underbite, where the lower jaw protrudes more than the upper part of the patient’s mouth.
Even when the overbite is quite severe, it can take two forms. The first is a vertical overbite, where the teeth on top overlap the lower teeth by a significant amount. The second is a horizontal overbite, where the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth. It is possible for people to even suffer from both these types at one time.
Braces Before and After Overbite Example 2
How is it Caused?
In some cases, overbites can be hereditary, passed on from generation to generation. However, there are many other causes that can lead up to such malocclusions. For example, other major causes of overbites are the habits that people inculcate since childhood – sucking thumbs, thrusting of tongue onto the jaws, or prolonged bottle-feeding amongst children. These can lead to an underdevelopment or overdevelopment of either jaw, eventually causing an overbite.
If you chew at the back of pencils and pens, or bite your nails vigorously, you may also be at the risk of developing an overbite. Other reasons include grinding your teeth regularly or temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). This joint is responsible for connecting your jaw to the skull.
What Can Happen if Overbites Aren’t Treated?
While minor overbites should not give you much trouble in the long run, it is recommended that you try to correct the more severe overbites as they can have some more severe implications on your life going forward. First and foremost, there can be some permanent damage to your teeth because of the odd placement of the jaw in case of overbites. This damage will not be repairable.
In addition to this, you may have to bear severe pain because of problems with the temporomandibular joint. This pain can escalate over time, making it difficult for you to function normally.
There are other implications related to letting your overbite go untreated, many of which emanate from tooth decay. You could be making yourself more prone to cavities and gum diseases, along with severe head and jaw pains. Over time, it can become difficult to even open your mouth without feeling a shooting pain go up your jaw.
How Can Overbites Be Corrected?
If you are worried that your overbite is going to have long standing implications on your life, there are a number of orthodontic methods that can be used to deal with such malocclusions. These options can be divided into two main categories – options for children and teenagers, and options for adults.
If your child is developing an overbite and you want to do something about it, you should make an appointment with the orthodontist. In case the child still has baby teeth, the doctor may remove them to allow the permanent teeth to grow straight. The child may be advised to wear a growth modification device to correct the position of the jaw. Finally, the child can be given braces and – at a later stage – retainers to correct the bite and keep the teeth in place.
If you are an adult looking to treat your overbite, you have two main options at your disposal. The first of these is braces. Adults with overbites can stand to gain a lot by investing in braces to improve the position of their teeth. The second option is surgery, which can be used for the more severe cases where braces aren’t an option.
Effect of Braces on Overbites
Braces are one of the most effective ways to dealing with overbites. First, you will have to set up an appointment with a dentist or orthodontist. The medical professional will be able to get a better understanding of your case once he or she has examined your misalignment and the position of the jaw. The orthodontist may need to take an x-ray as well as an impression of your teeth to gauge the current condition and come up with the best strategy to deal with it.
There are different types of braces that can be used at this point, depending on the severity of your case and the look that you are going for. The braces are able to straighten the teeth and bring them in line. The amount of time required to do this depends on how bad the overbite was.
If you are suffering from an overbite and want to fix it before it starts having any major implications on your life, it is recommended that you visit an orthodontist and set up a consultation. An informed decision is the best way to move forward.