What is an Overbite?

child with overbite

If your child has an overbite, you may be concerned that they could be teased in school. But the dangers of an overbite don’t stop with schoolyard bullies. Though mild overbites are very common and often do not require treatment, people with more severe overbites should seek overbite treatment because this condition can contribute to a host of health problems including gum disease, jaw pain and tooth decay.

What is an overbite? 

An overbite occurs when the upper front teeth stick out over the bottom front teeth.

What causes an overbite? 

Many times, an overbite is simply inherited. This type of malocclusion often runs in families. But genetics aren’t the only thing that can cause a bad overbite. An overbite can also be caused by:

  1. Thumb-sucking after age 3
  2. Pacifier use after age 3
  3. Tooth grinding
  4. Nail chewing
  5. Tongue thrusting

Why should I be concerned about an overbite? 

Even though an overbite can be quite cute as part of your child’s smile, if left untreated, an overbite can cause a host of complications that can affect your child throughout adulthood.

An overbite is a type of misalignment of the teeth, and that misalignment can lead to tooth grinding, jaw problems, speech issues, jaw pain, and even tooth decay and gum disease. Human teeth are meant to fit together like a puzzle, with the top and bottom rows of teeth meeting without excess pressure on any particular tooth or part of the jaw. But when the teeth or jaw are out of alignment, such as in the case of an overbite, the function of the entire mouth suffers. Over time, this causes wear and tear that leads to larger issues.

There are lots of ways to treat an overbite 

Fortunately, multiple overbite treatments have been developed over the years that can correct your child’s smile and prevent the painful side effects of an overbite from ever occurring … and of course, they get rid of the teasing, too!

  1. Braces – The most common treatment for an overbite is braces. Most instances of overbite can be corrected with braces, as they gently move the protruding upper front teeth into their correct positions.
  2. Herbst appliance – A Herbst appliance is an orthodontic appliance that puts gentle pressure on the jaws to pull the lower jaw forward and the upper jaw backward, correcting the overbite and bringing the jaws into alignment. Treatment with a Herbst appliance generally lasts about 12 months. An added bonus of treatment with a Herbst appliance is that it creates a more defined jawline, improving your child’s appearance.
  3. Invisalign – A mild overbite may be corrected with Invisalign in teens and adults. We don’t recommend treating an overbite in children with Invisalign because children typically aren’t mature enough to deal with keeping up with their aligners.
  4. Surgery – Sometimes, a very severe overbite can only be corrected with surgery. Surgery can realign the upper and lower jaw so that they align correctly.

Is it time to address your child’s overbite? 

It’s never too early to learn about the options for treating your child’s overbite. Give us a call today to schedule your first appointment.