Most people want to have a beautiful smile. If you look around on the television and in the media, you will see people everywhere in ads and photos with perfectly aligned teeth. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for everybody. Many children have their permanent adult set of teeth that don’t grow perfectly straight. There is one malocclusion that we are going to talk about today; an overbite. Overbites can not only affect the way you look; they can cause problems for you in several other ways as well such as wear on teeth, pain in the jaw and speech problems. Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics is here to talk about what causes overbites, and how they can be fixed.
Different Types of Overbites
Overbites effect many people. 70 percent of children develop an overbite to some extent. A lot of the time overbites are very visible, but sometimes they can be slight and noticeable only by a dentist. There are two types of overbites, horizontal and vertical overbites. A horizontal overbite happens when the top teeth protrude past the bottom teeth. A vertical overbite is when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth drastically. Overbites can also be classified as dental or skeletal. With a dental overbite or a teeth overbite, the teeth are causing the issue. When referring to a skeletal overbite, the jaw is the problem. The lower jaw is too small and when it doesn’t align with the upper jaw, it can cause problems.
What Causes Overbite Teeth
In most cases, an overbite is hereditary. As children develop, sometimes their jaws may grow unevenly. This is when the upper jaw ends up being larger than the lower and a problem arises. When children suck their thumb or other bad oral habits as well as prolonged pacifier and bottle use, it can cause an overbite problem. Tongue thrusting, which is when the tongue is pushed up against the back of the teeth when a child swallows, can also be a cause of an overbite. Other bad habits such as nail biting can cause bite issues.
Problems with Having an Overbite
The biggest problem people have with an overbite is the way that it makes their face look. It can cause people to be self-conscious of their appearance and effect their self-esteem in the process. There are other problems that can be caused by an overbite though. Those problems include:
• Enamel Wear. When enamel is worn off because of an overbite, you run the risk of cavities and problems with gum disease.
• Jaw Pain. Overbites can cause your jaw muscles to be strained resulting in pain.
• Speech Issues. Speech can be slurred and is especially a problem in older patients since an overbite usually gets worse with age.
• Eating. Overbites can at times make chewing and eating difficult.
Correcting Overbite Treatments
Orthodontics is the most common course of action in fixing an overbite. An orthodontist will take impressions of the teeth to better understand your upper and lower jaw before deciding on the best plan of action. Depending on the severity of the overbite, treatment usually lasts for about two years but can last longer. If there is a severe enough skeletal overbite, it may require tooth extraction and even surgical measures to fix it. There is no age limit in fixing an overbite, but it is beneficial to treat an overbite in younger children while their jaw is still developing.