Ever wondered if you have an overbite? If yes, then this piece of content is going to answer all your questions about this subject matter. Over 70% of the human population has some degree of overbite. So how does one tell if it’s a normal overbite or a severe overbite that needs to be surgically treated?
Stick with us till the end of this blog to find out the answers to all your doubts. Let’s begin…
Meaning | What is an Overbite?
An overbite is nothing but a horizontal gap or a vertical overlap between the top and both sets of front teeth. The horizontal gap is known as an ‘Overjet’, and the vertical overlap is known as an ‘Overbite’.
When the vertical overlap is 2-4 Millimetre (mm) or covers 30% of your lower teeth, this is considered a normal overbite. On the other hand, when the overlap is 4-6 mm or more that’s a deep overbite. In the case of a severe overbite, the upper teeth completely cover the lower teeth and in some cases even pushes into the lower gums.
And, when the gap is horizontal, the upper teeth stick out at the front of the mouth, also known as ‘buck teeth’ in the common dialect.
An overbite can be both horizontal and vertical, which means the upper teeth can project forward or hang too far below the lower teeth.
What is Normal Overbite?
Unlike deep and severe overbite, Normal Overbite is when ½ to ⅓ of your lower front teeth is covered by the upper incisors. Normal overbite is very closely related to the essential mewing posture.
As stated earlier, it is a very common condition. It occurs when the upper teeth do not adjust with the lower teeth properly. This can be a result of various activities such as mouth breathing, thumb sucking, or pushing the tongue against the front teeth.
There are ways to determine if you have a normal overbite or a deep overbite which we talk about further in the blog. We suggest you take the at-home exam if you feel you are having difficulties with your front teeth.
Normal Overbite vs Deep Overbite
This table will help you find out the difference between normal overbite and deep overbite. It will also help you understand normal overbite measurements in mm.
|Type||Size||Cause||Requirement of braces||Requirement of surgery|
|Usually Dental||Unlikely||Highly unlikely|
|Dental or skeletal||Very likely||
|9 mm or more||Dental or skeletal||Yes||
If you find out your overbite is not normal and comes under the deep or severe category, it is wise to get it fixed. The consequences of a neglected overbite are :
- Reduced Teeth Life
- Poor dental Hygiene
- Facial Muscular Pain
- Speech disorders
- Poor Facial Structure
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Difficulty in chewing
If you are a parent reading this, considering getting your child treated, we would advise on not delaying the process. The reason being, the more your age, the more difficult it is to fix the overbite. The bones and teeth roots are firmly placed and developed once you enter adulthood. Hence, the pain of going through the treatment at an early age is definitely worth it.
We can totally understand that the process of braces, retainers, or surgery may sound intimidating to some, however, the benefits of fixing misaligned teeth outweigh the temporary discomfort an individual goes through during the treatment.
Overbite Diagnosis | How to Measure Overbite?
Let’s understand how an overbite is formed, in most cases when the palate of your mouth becomes narrower, the lower jaw is pushed back, resulting in a gap between the two. Losing the teeth at the back, especially, the molars can also be one of the many reasons for an overbite.
We will now discuss how you can measure an overbite. Although any misalignment in the teeth is usually treated at a young age between 10-12, there is no age barrier in getting a treatment done, even if you are an adult.
Overbite Measurement at Home
- Shut your lips together normally. Place your teeth in their usual posture and make sure you are not clenching your jaw.
- Look in the mirror and smile wide.
- Check if your upper front teeth fall over the top of your lower front teeth.
- If the overlap is more than 3.5 mm, you have an off teeth alignment, an overbite
- Another way to check is to see if the lower row of teeth is pushing into the roof of your mouth.
Visiting a dentist or an Orthodontist is highly recommended if you discover you have something much more severe than a normal overbite.
Causes of Overbite | What causes an Overbite?
Some of the common reasons that might cause this dental issue include:
- ill-formed jaw as a fetus
- Thumb sucking
- Overusing of a bottle or pacifier as a baby
- Tongue thrusting
Types of Overbite
This type of overbite is caused by misaligned teeth. In these cases, the upper and lower jaw may be well fitted, however, the misalignment causes the chin to recede. Usually, nonsurgical treatments work well for this type of overbite correction in adults.
In this type, the lower jaw is smaller than normal which creates difficulty in fitting the upper jaw. As a result, the upper rows of teeth are pushed forward from the lower jaw. Skeletal overbites require surgical solutions in most cases.
Is Overbite Correction Important?
The motive behind getting an overbite treated may just be a matter of wanting to enhance your appearance. But it is important to remember all the consequences of an untreated overbite mentioned above.
Overbites make speech difficult, chewing a task, and in severe cases result in gum damage. It may also result in Sleep Apnea. Misaligned jaws can result in chronic pain in the jaw and even headaches, contributing to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).
On the flip side of things, it could also dramatically affect an individual’s self-esteem. An overbite often messes up the facial structure of a person and leads to aesthetic deterioration.
Overbite Correction | How to Fix an Overbite?
Most overbite correction in the US is done via braces. Braces are effective and, when followed up with retainers, the results are everlasting. This treatment is long term and can take between one and two years, sometimes more.
Invisalign braces are an effective way of overbite correction for mild and moderate cases. Although almost invisible, these braces push the teeth to a much better position, transforming a deep overbite into a normal overbite. Patients normally switch to a new set of Invisalign aligners every 2 weeks.
In a few cases, it’s possible to fix an overbite with a removable retainer. This works in the same way as braces, slowly moving the teeth into the correct alignment. In orthodontic treatments, retainers are a compulsion to wear in order to stop your teeth from slipping back into their old position.
Headgears are only used for severe bite problems. They are normally worn only at home and are most common in children, as they work with your child’s jaw as they grow.
Skeletal issues can cause a jaw to set too far forward, resulting in a severe overbite. In this case, a jaw correction surgery is required, also called orthognathic surgery. When the mandible (lower jaw) has not developed properly, surgery can improve its shape.
Overbite treatment through surgery involves one or more of the following:
- Teeth Removal
- Jaw Repositioning
- Insertion of Screws
- Addition of Plates around the Jaw
There is no visible scarring through these surgeries as most of the work is done inside the mouth. Patients can resume school or work after 2-4 weeks of the surgery. Hospitalization is done only over-night in maximum cases of overbite surgeries. Orthodontic treatments may be conducted both before and after the surgery to ensure the alignment of teeth.
As for expenses, you may be wondering how much overbite surgery costs. An Overbite Surgery is typically super expensive and may cost anywhere between $20k – $40k without insurance. This is the reason why insurance will only cover treatment if your dentist insists on it to be medically necessary.
Overbite Correction in Teens
- Removal of baby teeth which makes room for permanent teeth to grow in straight
- Growth modification device that helps to better position the jaw
- Braces that slowly move the teeth to correct the overbite
- Retainer device used post-braces that help maintain the teeth in place
Overbite Correction in Adults
- Teeth removal
If you feel your overbite is causing issues, it is important to make an appointment with an orthodontist for getting it treated. As far as normal overbite is concerned, there is no need to panic.
You can always get a second opinion from an expert if you aren’t satisfied with the at-home examinations and still hold doubts. In the case of both children and adults, the only way to prevent dental issues is to make sure of regular appointments.
Children should get checked by the age of 7 for any signs of misalignment. As for adults, a check-up every 6-12 months is recommended to avoid any potential physical repercussions, severe in nature.