Overbite: types, causes, and correction treatments

05 October · 4 minutes

Overbite is a type of dental malocclusion that can usually be identified with the naked eye, but few people know the impact it can have on our lives if it goes untreated.

In this article, we‚Äėll cover all you need to know about overbite: what it is, what the different types are, the causes and consequences, and treatment options that aid in correcting an overbite in adults and kids.

What is an overbite?

Wondering what an overbite is? An overbite is a type of dental malocclusion. It occurs when the upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth more than normal, they can even cover them completely. In most cases, an overbite is caused by a maxilla that is further forward than the mandible, meaning the jaw is misaligned and the top half is protruding too far forward.

For reference, in a normal bite, the upper teeth cover one-third of the lower teeth. If they cover more, we are dealing with a case of overbite.

Different types of overbite

There are different types of overbite depending on where the origin of the malocclusion is. Below take a look at the types of overbite that exist:

Close up shot of a kid with overbite’s mouth.

Dental overbite

A dental overbite means the problem lies in the position of the teeth. In cases of dental overbite there is a misalignment with respect to the maxilla or mandible.

Skeletal overbite

Then we have a skeletal overbite, this is when the origin of the malocclusion lies in the mandible or maxilla, the upper or lower jaw. When the maxilla is larger than the mandible or the mandible is smaller than the maxilla, we have a case of skeletal overbite. It may also be that the maxilla is further forward than the mandible, which is still a case of skeletal overbite.

Acquired overbite

This type of overbite does not have a genetic origin, but is caused by external or acquired habits, such as an abnormal position of the tongue, premature loss of permanent teeth or pushing the teeth with the tongue.

What causes an overbite

Now that we’ve discussed the different types of overbites, you might be wondering what they are caused by. The truth is, the causes may vary, although the vast majority can be classified into two large groups: inheritance or acquired bad habits.

  • Heredity or genetic factors are the main overbite causes.
  • Bad habits acquired can cause this type of malposition. Among the most common among babies we find bad habits such as thumb sucking, excessive use of a bottle or pacifier, poor placement of the tongue or swallowing incorrectly. Among adolescents and adults, habits such as nail biting, teeth grinding or pen biting are the most common overbite causes.
Child climbing onto a bed sucking his thumb.

Overbite problems and consequences

People who suffer from overbite problems may suffer from physical or functional problems with their mouth and teeth. Below are the most common overbite consequences:

  • Functional problems, such as chewing or breathing issues are common problems caused by overbite, they may even affect the patient‚Äôs speech.
  • Physical problems, such as aesthetic alterations, the wearing down of tooth enamel, or crowding in the canines or upper incisors are also consequences of overbite.
  • Overbite can cause problems in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can cause jaw pain, headaches, pain when chewing, or bruxism.
  • And a greater risk of cavities or periodontal diseases is common consequences among patients with overbite because it makes it difficult to maintain correct oral hygiene.

How do you fix an overbite?

Have you ever wondered how to fix an overbite? The consequences of an overbite can affect our daily lives, as we have commented in the previous section, so it is important to know how to correct and fix an overbite. Therefore, it’s important to diagnose it in time in order to be able to carry out the appropriate overbite correction treatment and prevent it from having lasting negative consequences.

Now, for how to correct an overbite: below we cover the different types of treatments that will help you in correcting an overbite.

Correcting overbite in kids

The best time to correct a child’s overbite is between 6 and 12 years old. This age allows professionals to modify bone growth which in turn allows them to correct overbite in kids and helps them to avoid problems when they grow up.

In cases of overbite in kids, it is possible to correct the malocclusion with interceptive orthodontic treatment. With this type of orthodontics, the palate can be widened so that the growth of the maxilla and mandible is proportional and, therefore, the overbite is corrected.

This treatment can only be carried out in cases of overbite in kids, since it is the phase in which the bones are most manageable.

Correcting overbite in adults

Correcting an overbite in adults is more difficult than an overbite in kids, since the bones are fully developed and cannot be modified. For these cases, it is important to go to the dentist to study the case carefully and determine what is the most appropriate treatment to correct the overbite in adults.

The two treatment options for overbite include orthodontics or jaw surgery. Below we go over in which cases each is used.

Correcting overbite through jaw surgery

In cases of overbite in adults that are severe or have a skeletal origin, overbite jaw surgery will be necessary to correct it. In these cases, the origin of the malocclusion is in the position of the maxilla or mandible, and overbite jaw surgery will be the only effective treatment to correct the overbite.

Orthognathic surgery allows the overbite to be corrected by modifying the size and position of the maxillary bones, advancing the mandible or setting back the maxilla. Overbite jaw surgery helps to recover the functionality of the bite and the aesthetics of the face.

In cases of overbite in adults in which orthognathic surgery is used, this is usually combined with a previous or subsequent phase of orthodontics, with which the position of the teeth affected by overbite will be corrected.

Correcting an overbite with braces or orthodontic devices

In the cases where the overbite has a dental origin, as we have explained previously, orthodontics is the most appropriate treatment. This is because it helps correct overbite by changing the position of the teeth when the size or position of the jaw bones does not need to be corrected. So if you were asking yourself, do braces fix an overbite? The answer is yes!

To correct an overbite with orthodontics you can use a fixed solution, like braces, or a removable one, like invisible aligners. Both types of orthodontics will help correct an overbite of dental origin.

Girl putting on invisible aligners in front of a mirror.

How to fix an overbite with Impress

With invisible orthodontics or braces in teens and adults; and with interceptive orthodontics in kids, at Impress we can treat cases of overbite.

In cases of childhood overbite, a specialized orthodontist will study the case and design a personalized Impress Kids treatment plan to correct the overbite.

When faced with a case of overbite in adolescents or adults, the Impress will also study the case and design a personalized treatment plan with our various orthodontic treatments. With Impress invisible aligners, overbite cases can be solved efficiently and discreetly.

If you are interested in learning more about how Impress can help you correct a case of overbite, come on into your nearest Impress clinic and meet the talented team of professionals who will supervise your treatment. You can schedule by giving us a call, or by booking online. Discover what Impress can do for you at your nearest clinic.

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