There are many different ways in which a bite can be misaligned - and an overbite is a common one. This oral health issue refers to the top teeth overlapping the bottom teeth. And whether or not it has been formally diagnosed, many people have this condition.
So, what causes an overbite? And what can be done about it? Let’s find out.
What is an Overbite?
An overbite occurs when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth. This is more formally known as malocclusion. This overlap is normal when it occurs at a 10% to 20% overlap. When you have an overlap that extends beyond your lower teeth by 30% to 50%, you have an overbite.
There are two different types of overbites - a vertical overbite and a horizontal overbite. Vertical overbites are when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth significantly. A horizontal overbite is one where the top teeth protrude in a horizontal fashion over the bottom teeth.
Overbites should not be confused with underbites. Overbites involve issues with the top teeth whereas an underbite strikes the bottom teeth. The latter refers to teeth that stick out over the top teeth, whether in whole or in part and in varying degrees. Both overbites and underbites are classified as malocclusions.
What Causes an Overbite?
Genetics seem to play a large role in those patients who have an overbite. While many patients have close family members who also have overbites, not all of them do. There are other factors that can cause this oral health issue, such as:
- Sucking the thumb
- Regular use of a pacifier after 3 years of age
- Nail biting
- Lip sucking
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Tongue thrusting
Any of these issues if done in excess can encourage the teeth to fall out of alignment and lead to an overbite.
How is an Overbite Treated?
Braces and Invisalign are two of the most common treatments used for overbites - and they can help most patients overcome this condition. Although sometimes, for more severe cases, overbites that don’t respond to braces may need something more in-depth, such as extractions and jaw surgery to correct jaw problems.
If your dentist or orthodontist has suggested treatment, don’t ignore it. Treatment for overbites is so important because, if left untreated, it can lead to all sorts of symptoms that can follow you through life, including:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Jaw pain
- Speech difficulties
- Tooth decay
- TMJ disorders
- Breathing difficulties
- Sleep apnea
Due to their interaction with the aesthetics of a smile, untreated overbites can even impact self-esteem and change your facial structure.
Overbite Treatment in Las Cruces
If you have an overbite, don’t delay treatment. Do not risk having bigger issues in the future. Instead, seek treatment with the orthodontic team at Las Cruces Orthodontics. We strive to transform smiles so that our patients not only feel better about the look of their smiles but also about the way they feel.