4 Things to do if your child has an overbite
Overbites are as common as Atlanta traffic jams. If your child has an overbite, there’s a lot we can do here at Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists to correct it and give them the Insta-worthy smile they want.
What is an overbite?
When the top front teeth stick out further than the bottom teeth, this is considered an overbite. Sometimes people refer to an overbite as “buck teeth.” Overbites are very common — especially in children — and one of the most-treated conditions here in our office.
What causes an overbite?
For many patients, their overbite is hereditary. They simply inherited it from their parents. But in other patients, an overbite is caused by lifestyle factors such as:
- Thumb-sucking that continues after age 3
- Pacifier use after age 3
- Long-term bottle use
- Chewing on nails or pencils
- Tongue thrusting, a muscular imbalance that forces the tongue to press against the front teeth
- Tooth grinding
Is an overbite dangerous, or is it just a cosmetic problem?
Most overbites are mild and generally considered only a cosmetic problem. But sometimes, more severe overbites actually cause more than a silly smile. When the upper and lower teeth are severely out of alignment, this can interfere with breathing, cause pain while chewing, and contribute to TMJ disorders or speech issues.
Treatments for overbite
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to correct an overbite so your child can love their smile and avoid long-term dental problems brought on by misaligned teeth.
1. Herbst appliance
A Herbst appliance is a functional appliance that gently encourages the child’s upper and lower jaws to grow in alignment. The Herbst appliance puts backward force on the upper jaw and forward force on the lower jaw to slowly correct an overbite.
A Herbst appliance works 24 hours a day to gently correct your child’s bite without pain. Most patients will wear a Herbst appliance for around 12 months, but results become noticeable much earlier than that. A great side-effect of the Herbst appliance is that, in pulling the lower jaw forward, it creates a more defined and sculpted jawline, which is considered highly attractive for both boys and girls.
Braces are most common overbite treatment in Sandy Springs and around the Atlanta area. By keeping consistent pressure on the teeth, braces move the teeth gently into their proper position, erasing an overbite.
In older children and teens, Invisalign can help correct a mild overbite. Invisalign is not recommended for younger children, as they tend to have a more difficult time keeping the aligners in for the necessary 22 hours a day.
4. Jaw surgery
On rare occasions, jaw surgery is recommended to correct a severe overbite that cannot be treated by other means. Jaw surgery realigns or modifies the shape of the upper or lower jaw so that the teeth and jaw align correctly. Surgery is always a last resort, and it is only recommended when other treatment methods would not give a satisfactory result.
Concerned about your child’s overbite? Call us today!
Creating Atlanta’s best smiles is what Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists is all about. Give us a call today to schedule your child’s appointment.