An overbite is when the upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth, making the lower teeth appear behind the upper teeth. 

Overbites can range from mild to severe and may require professional medical attention, depending on the severity of your case. While a mild overbite can be considered normal, an excessive or severe overbite can pose some problems. Read on to learn about when you should get treatment for your overbite.

What causes an overbite?

While some people may have a hereditary tendency towards having an overbite, many overbites are caused by other factors. 

Prolonged thumb sucking, pacifiers or bottles can cause the upper and lower jaws to grow in a way that creates an overbite. Other habits like tongue thrusting or teeth clenching can also contribute to an overbite. In some cases, dental problems like missing or severely crowded teeth can lead to an overbite. 

It’s important to have an overbite evaluated by a qualified dentist or orthodontist, as potential jaw and teeth problems may occur if left untreated. It’s not too difficult to tell the difference between an overbite vs normal bite. Here are some reasons your overbite may need attention:

  • For oral hygiene

An overbite can make it difficult to clean teeth properly, especially around the gum area, leading to the accumulation of bacteria and food particles. This can cause tooth decay, gum disease and even bad breath. 

When an overbite interferes with daily oral hygiene, it’s time to see an orthodontist.

  • Impacts your speech

Overbites can affect your speech by altering your ability to speak clearly. For instance, if your upper front teeth jut out too much, you may have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds like ‘s’ and ‘th.’ 

  • Enamel erosion

Overbites can cause the upper front teeth to rub against the lower front teeth. The constant friction can wear down the enamel and lead to sensitivity and tooth decay. If left untreated, this issue can progress and result in more significant problems.

  • Trouble eating

An overbite can cause difficulty biting, chewing and swallowing food properly. Small bites or soft foods may offer temporary relief, but it can take a toll in the long run.

  • Teeth grinding

Bruxism or teeth grinding is a common issue for people with overbites. The constant grinding can eventually lead to worn down and broken teeth. It also puts stress on the jaw muscles and joints, leading to pain and discomfort.

  • Pain in the jaw and gums

Over time, an overbite can cause pain in the jaw and gums, especially if you grind your teeth at night, exacerbating the condition. The mild discomfort can progress to a severe TMJ disorder that requires orthodontic treatment.

  • Lower teeth are cutting into the upper teeth

An overbite can cause the lower teeth to touch the upper teeth on the inside of the mouth, causing pain and discomfort. This condition requires orthodontic treatment to help align the teeth properly.

  • Low self-esteem

An overbite can make people self-conscious about their appearance, leading to low self-esteem and confidence. Orthodontic treatment can correct an overbite, improve the appearance and increase confidence!

How to correct an overbite

One method to correct an overbite is braces, which gradually shift the teeth into proper alignment. Another option is invisible aligners, which are nearly invisible plastic trays molded to fit your teeth perfectly and gently move them. For more severe cases, jaw surgery may be necessary to reposition the jaw and correct the overbite. 

With the proper treatment, you can achieve a beautiful, healthy smile and let go of any insecurities about your overbite.

If you suspect you have a severe overbite, getting it checked out sooner rather than later is essential. Doing so will help you take the necessary steps to prevent more serious dental problems from developing in the future. 

Bottom line

Consulting with an orthodontist is the easiest way to determine the best solution for you. Remember—the issues mentioned in this list can worsen if left unchecked. Take care of your dental health today, learn how much aligners cost and your future self will thank you!