What are protruding or buck teeth, why do they occur and how to fix them

16 March · 3 minutes

"Buck teeth,” also known as protruding front teeth, “goofy teeth” or “bunny teeth”, is a dental condition where upper teeth stick out more than lower teeth, causing discomfort and aesthetic issues for both adults and children. This article covers the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for protruded teeth to help you better understand and manage it.

What are buck teeth?

Buck teeth or goofy teeth" happen when upper teeth extend too far forward compared to the lower teeth. This can lead to difficulty in fully closing lips and more prominent tooth protrusion (overbite) in affected individuals. In essence, the protruded front teeth look like bunny teeth, hence the name they’ve acquired.

What causes buck teeth?

The causes of buck teeth can be varied. We break down a few reasons someone may have buck teeth:

Genetic factors for buck teeth

The following are a few inherited factors that contribute to protruding teeth:

  • First genetic factor for buck teeth is a type II malocclusion of the jaw. It occurs when the upper jaw is positioned further forward than the lower jaw, leading to misalignment of teeth. In severe cases, upper incisors can protrude over a centimeter beyond the lower incisors.
  • In some cases, buck teeth may occur due to a receding jaw, causing the upper jaw to shift forward and pushing the teeth into a bunny-like placement.
  • Improper tongue placement during swallowing, also known as atypical swallowing, is another genetic factor that can contribute to buck teeth. In this scenario, the tongue exerts pressure on the upper teeth, causing them to shift forward and causing buck teeth.
Doctor consulting with a patient in a care suite

Common habits that can lead to buck teeth

In addition to genetic factors, certain habits can contribute to protruding teeth:

  • Thumbsucking is a common habit that can contribute to buck teeth in some individuals. The pressure exerted by the thumb against the inside of the upper teeth, known as "piping", can cause the teeth to shift forward and protrude outward, leading to a buck toothed appearance.
  • Using a pacifier is another common cause of buck teeth in children.
  • Nail-biting is a habit that can cause buck teeth in both children and adults by exerting a consistent force that can lead to dental protrusion over time.
  • Biting the lips with the teeth, known as lip-sucking, can cause buck teeth in some cases by pushing the upper teeth outwards.

Consequences and problems caused by protruding teeth

Protruding front teeth not only affect a person's self-esteem and confidence but can also cause health problems, including:

  • The appearance of cavities
  • Bumps or fractures due to protruding teeth
  • Problems chewing and discomfort when eating
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Breathing problems
  • Alterations to the shape of the face.

How to prevent buck teeth

Preventing buck teeth may not always be possible due to genetic factors. Still, there are some measures parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk in children. Regular dental checkups can help identify misalignment issues early on. Additionally, using a thumbsucking glove can discourage thumbsucking and decrease the chances of developing buck teeth.

Doctor evaluating a child's smile

Treatment options for kids and toddlers with buck teeth

Buck teeth in kids and toddlers may stem from genetic causes, but it often results from thumb sucking during childhood, which exerts too much pressure on the teeth. Regular dental checkups can help prevent buck teeth, particularly when the upper teeth have moved, as prompt correction can be achieved.

It is advisable to correct a buck tooth in kids while they are still growing. The ideal time to do this is before the child reaches the age of 12, but ultimately the specialist will make the final decision after assessing the case. Interceptive orthodontics can correct buck teeth and prevent potential issues in adulthood. Children's teeth are more malleable and thus easier to correct, as the bones are still developing. Therefore, dealing with buck teeth in toddlers and kids is easier than waiting until they reach adulthood.

After completing orthodontic correction for buck teeth, it is crucial for the child to wear a retainer, particularly during the initial months.

How to fix buck teeth in teens and adults

Orthodontic treatment is ideally the first line of action for correcting buck teeth, especially in children. However, adults with severe protrusion caused by type II malocclusion may require oral surgery to reposition the jaw bones.

Orthodontic treatment is a common way to correct protruding front teeth in adults and teens, as it adjusts the position and inclination of the teeth. Metal brackets or invisible orthodontics may be used, depending on the specific case. The ultimate goal of treatment is to give the patient a beautiful smile and alleviate any issues caused by buck teeth.

After completing the treatment for protruding teeth, retainers are necessary to maintain the position of the teeth. It is recommended to check and replace the retainers every 6 to 9 months.

Impress clear aligner in a hand

How can you fix buck teeth without braces?

At Impress, we have a team of dental experts who can offer solutions to a variety of dental problems, including protruding teeth, without the use of fixed braces. Our expert doctors are able to correct and align buck teeth with the use of tech-enhanced clear aligners.

Can Impress clear aligners fix buck teeth?

At Impress, we are the experts in clear aligner orthodontic treatments that correct occlusion, deviation, or bite types.

At Impress, we provide cost-effective orthodontic solutions by cutting out intermediaries, as we have our own clinics and a highly skilled team of specialists. Opting for Impress to achieve the smile you desire also comes with the added benefit of being able to track your treatment progress remotely through our mobile app.

In addition to considering your future smile, we also prioritize your comfort. Our aligners are both removable and aesthetic, making the process of achieving a perfect smile easier and more comfortable.

Our team of highly experienced professionals is dedicated to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams. To schedule an appointment at our nearest clinic, you can visit our website, call us at +1 628.265.8188 or send us an email at careteam@smile2impress.com. With Impress, you can look forward to a great smile!

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