In a world full of beautiful and flawless smiles, many people are suffering from malocclusion that lowers the confidence of growing children and adults. An overbite is a form of malocclusion which is commonly found in children, teens, and adults.
It should be treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your teeth. If left untreated, it can cause deterioration, pain leading to the loss of teeth. Before starting treatment for an overbite, one must have to know completely about the possible treatments and causes that can result in this condition.
In this article, we have added many treatment options for treating overbite. Before heading to it, have a look at the causes and results of the untreated condition.
Occlusion vs Malocclusion
Occlusion is the normal alignment of the teeth and jaws while Malocclusion is the deviation from the normal arrangement. Overbites, underbites, and open bites are certain types of malocclusions.
Overbite, also known as buck teeth, is the condition when front upper teeth extend beyond your bottom teeth. There are also gaps between teeth and they may become crooked. It can result in severe gum diseases like tooth decay, swelling of gums, and pain.
Overbites make a person unattractive and affect your professional life. overbite up to 3 millimeters is normal but if overbite is above 4 millimeters, it must be treated. Overbite is commonly confused with overjet but these are not the same. In overjet, upper teeth extend beyond bottom teeth at an angle.
Causes of overbite
Many hereditary factors and childhood habits can cause overbite. Among the hereditary factors, one major factor is the shape and size of jaws. In this case, there is either too much room for your teeth or no room for accommodation of all the teeth. Teeth become crowded or spaced apart in the mouth giving an unpleasant look and pain to the sufferer. It may be a genetic disease running in the families.
In childhood, many children suck their thumbs or use pacifiers and bottles frequently. In adults, chewing different objects like pencils, teeth grinding, and nail-biting is very common. All these factors can cause severe malocclusion conditions in individuals.
Approximately 50 percent of the population is suffering from an overbite. Orthodontists put it into two different classes based on the severity of the problem. These classes are:
Class 1: This is the most common overbite in individuals in which there is a minor misalignment. It can be bearable and treated easily.
Class 2: in this class, major misalignment can cause a lot of discomfort. It can cause decay of teeth and jaw pain.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinge joint between jawbone and skull, could be a cause of many dental conditions, especially overbite.
Results Of an Untreated Overbite
If the overbite is caused in childhood, it must be treated as soon as possible. Because its effects on the facial structure can lower the self-esteem and confidence level of children. It should not be left untreated in any case or the result will be irreparable tooth damage. Other effects of overbites are difficulty in speaking, tooth loss, headaches, and many other disorders.
One serious effect of overbite is sleep apnea. Overbite lowers the flow of air in the body. Your body does not get proper oxygen which leads to sleeping disorders, heart and respiratory diseases. Fix it before getting a serious influence.
Types Of Overbites
Although overbite is the problem of jaws it can be classified into two types. These types are:
1. Dental overbite
In a dental overbite, alignment of teeth is not normal. The upper jaw moves forward.
2. Skeletal overbite
It is the condition in which there is a difference in the sizes of both jaws i.e., the lower one being smaller than the upper one. The lower jaw is in a backward position resulting in an overbite.
How To Diagnose the Problem?
If you want to know whether you are suffering from overbite or not you can check your teeth position in your mouth. Close your mouth with all your teeth in their normal position or smile into a mirror. Now observe the deviation and overlapping of top and bottom teeth. A slight deviation is normal but it is more than 3mm you need to fix it.
Another way of problem detection is seeing your dentist. Go for a physical checkup and x-rays to see if you are suffering from it. The dentist can tell you about the severity of the problem and suggest possible treatments to treat it better than self-diagnosis. Dentists can also refer you to an orthodontist to start the treatment immediately. Once diagnosed, stop doing anything that can worsen the condition and seek assistance.
Treatment Of Overbite
There are many methods to treat overbite. You can consult the dentist or orthodontist to know which method will suit you better with your lifestyle. Some methods suggested by orthodontists are:
Braces are an older and most frequently used treatment for the fixation of overbites and overjet. If your teeth are crowded or crooked, or jaws are misaligned, braces can fix all these problems. The gaps between your teeth can be corrected using braces.
Metal or ceramic-made braces are attached to all the teeth and connected using a wire. It is a slow process but gets your teeth and jaws back to the normal position by removing space or straightening the teeth. Once the teeth get back to the normal, springs and band, etc. are added to shift and move jaws back to the original position.
If you are choosing this method of fixing overbites; you need to visit your orthodontist at least every month for the whole period of treatment which is about one to three years based on the severity of overbite. The orthodontist tightens your braces as much as needed, which is an important part of treatment and cannot be done at home.
Being the most accurate method for the treatment of overbite, braces provide the needed pressure to slowly adjust the position of your teeth. You must be careful during this procedure and follow all the instructions of the orthodontist. Biting on a hard object, chewing gum, or eating sticky things can cause problems in the treatment like breaking of braces.
You may need to wear a retainer after braces are removed. Retainers prevent the returning of overbite otherwise you may need to restart the treatment. Retainers are not fixed; they can be worn all the time or as per the suggestion of the orthodontist.
Aligners are suitable for minor to moderate overbite but not for a severe overbite. They can be removed for eating or brushing teeth but must be worn for the maximum part of the day. Unlike braces, aligners do not provide constant pressure.
The approximate wearing time of aligners is 22 hours per day to provide maximum force to move your teeth. Otherwise, this method is useless. Many clear aligners are available that are easier to wear than the traditional braces.
· Removal of teeth
If the overbite is caused by the baby teeth, they are removed. The permanent teeth get enough room to align in the normal position. In adults, this method is not usually used by orthodontists.
But in the case of a severe problem like the crowding of teeth, dentists and orthodontists remove one or two teeth to provide enough space for the remaining teeth to correct their alignment.
· Growth modification devices
These devices are used to position your jaws correctly, mostly in teens. Headgear is an appliance used to fix the growing jaws of teens and children. These devices modify the growth pattern of jaws and correct the gaps between all your teeth. Either growth of the upper jaw is stopped or the lower jaw is positioned correctly. Traditional braces are used mostly in conjugation with these devices to align the jaws and teeth correctly.
This method is used for teens mostly because their bodies are constantly growing, not for adults whose body growth has been permanently stopped. Other growth modification devices are Herbst that is attached to the molars to fix overbite and Bionator that modifies the growth of teeth and jaws for correct alignment.
· Jaw surgery
Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery or corrective jaw surgery is performed to treat severe malocclusions such as skeletal overbite that cannot be fixed with braces. It corrects the deformation of face structure.
In this surgery, jawbones are aligned correctly which usually occurs when the growth of upper and lower jaws is not equal and right. Braces are used in this treatment too. You need to wear your braces before the surgery as well as after too.
The orthodontists will perform the x-rays of your skull. If the alignment of your jaws is not normal, they will continue the surgery. Some bones are added or removed to fix the structure of jaws and add many surgical plates, wires, and screws to fix the bones at the proper place following the healing process.
You need to be very careful during this period or maintain good health and hygiene. It takes a few weeks to several months to return to the normal lifestyle.
Home Treatment of Overbite
Many people on the internet will try to convince you that overbite can be treated at home easily. But it is not true even if they provide you with many shreds of evidence about it. All the hacks these quacks will tell you are either of no use or can result in serious and irreparable damage to your teeth and jaws that will make this situation even worse.
All you can do at home is to stop the causes that can cause overbite. Keep an eye on your children and stop them if they have adapted habits like thumb sucking or using the pacifier for a long time. Once the teeth have deformed, there is nothing you can do except visit the dentist or orthodontist and seek medical assistance for fixing it.
To change the arrangement of the teeth and reduce the gaps between them, consistent and correct pressure and force are needed that can only be applied by using braces or aligners. These treatments do not work in a single day or a week like the so-called hacks on quacks on the internet.
If a sudden force is applied to the teeth or jaws, it can cause breaking rather than fixing. Only a professional dentist can fix these conditions perfectly. You just need to be consistent with your treatment and follow all the instructions of your orthodontist.
These are all the possible treatments for the fixation of overbite. The treatment duration may vary from person to person of different ages.
Is There Any Treatment That Permanently Treats Overbite?
No treatment can treat overbite permanently. All the methods discussed above can treat the overbite but it may return if you stop to be careful about your teeth. You need to wear retainers for your whole life to pull your teeth together. If you stop following the instructions of your dentist or orthodontist, malocclusion may occur again.
Early diagnosis is important for effective and quick treatments. If you observe any change or discomfort in your mouth, go to visit a dentist as soon as possible. The best thing that you can do to prevent dental issues is to go for a regular medical checkup.
After the age of 7 years, make it a habit to visit doctors once or twice a year for a complete checkup of your body. Treat your disease immediately instead of waiting for the condition to get worse.
Final Words: Fixing Overbite
Never ignore a little discomfort or pain in your body too. Start your treatment and choose the treatment as suggested by the orthodontists only. For the treatment of minor or moderate overbite, aligners or braces are best.
For the treatment of severe overbite, jaw surgery is performed along with the braces before and post-treatment. Use retainers after these treatments to keep your teeth fixed at the optimum place.
Important: Information shared in this article is for information purpose only. Please visit your dentist for expert advice.