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Home / Blog / FAQs / How To Fix An Overbite?

How To Fix An Overbite?

Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  / Jun 20, 2024  
Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  
Jun 20, 2024  
How To Fix An Overbite?

An overbite is the term given to when you have a vertical misalignment of your teeth. Do you think your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth more than they should? Then you might have an overbite. The good news is that these are often simple to treat, and there are many types of treatment that you can choose from. Here at Gorgeous Smiles, we want to help you make the best informed decision for you, so keep reading to learn all about fixing your overbite.

What is an overbite?

An overbite is a malocclusion that shows the upper teeth overlapping the bottom teeth. We know what you're thinking - aren't all upper teeth supposed to overlap the bottom teeth? Well, while the answer to this is yes, it is possible for the upper teeth to overlap too much, which can lead to oral health issues such as jaw pain and tooth erosion.

Dentists will be able to tell you whether you have an overbite or not, as there are many factors that go into diagnosing them. However, a good rule of thumb that we tell patients is that if your upper teeth are overlapping more than 2 to 4 millimetres, it's classified as an overbite.

What are the symptoms of an overbite?

It's important to note that not all overbites come with lots of symptoms. Commonly, the only one is that the teeth are overlapping each other more than they should. However, we've seen more severe overbites come with other symptoms that can affect more than your smile's appearance, including:

  • Tooth decay

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Gum disease

  • Jaw pain

  • The inability to chew or eat solid foods

  • Speech impediments

To name a few! Patients who are suffering from these symptoms will need to fix their overbite sooner rather than later to avoid them creating any lasting damage.

What causes overbites?

There are many reasons why you might have developed an overbite, with the most common being simple genetics. Overbites can run in the family, which is why we often ask patients whether their parents or siblings also suffer from this malocclusion. However, there are other potential causes, like:

  • Thumb sucking in later childhood

  • Biting your nails excessively

  • Teeth grinding

  • Tongue thrusting, where your tongue applies constant pressure to your teeth from pushing too far forward

  • Using a dummy after the age of three

The shape of your jaw can also influence how your teeth sit and therefore cause an overbite. The good news is that overbites are very common, with around 22% of people having one, so there are plenty of treatment options available to you.

How to fix an overbite in children

Overbites in children are easier to fix as a child's jaw is softer and therefore easier to manipulate, which is why we always recommend bringing your children in to see a dentist more regularly than adults so we can keep an eye on these things.

This means that children's overbite correction can often be completed with orthodontic treatment alone. Some of the most common treatments we may offer here are:

  • Headgear to correct the position of the jaw

  • Palate expanders to widen the mouth during growth spurts

  • Braces to improve alignment

  • Removal of baby teeth to make space for the adult teeth

  • Retainers

How to fix an overbite in adults

When an overbite has gone unnoticed during childhood, it's possible for you to have grown up with your overbite. While you might still be able to benefit from the orthodontic treatments we've noted above, we also may recommend corrective surgery as well as the use of braces. Here are some treatment plans you might be offered to treat your overbite:

  • Traditional braces to move your teeth into the correct positions

  • Tooth extractions to give your teeth more room to move

  • Corrective jaw surgery to improve the alignment of your teeth

  • Invisalign retainers to make sure everything remains in place without such an invasive approach

How do braces fix an overbite?

Braces are made up of brackets that are attached to your teeth and connected with wire and plastic bands, and they can be used for a number of dental issues like an overbite. The rubber bands act as a chain and put gentle pressure on your teeth to move them into the correct position.

You might be wondering how straight teeth will fix an overbite, and they won't. However, when we connect your braces together with a rubber band on the upper and lower teeth at the back of your braces, this will pull the top teeth back and the bottom teeth forward, slowly correcting your overbite.

To learn more about traditional braces, keep reading here.

How do Invisalign retainers fix an overbite?

Unfortunately, wearing Invisalign retainers on their own won't fix an overbite. However, all hope is not lost - we can fix invisible aligners on your teeth with elastics, similar to traditional braces. The elastics are located at the back of your cheeks near your molars, so they shouldn't be seen when you're talking or smiling. The elastics will slowly pull your upper and lower teeth together to correct your overbite in a non-invasive way.

To learn more about Invisalign braces, keep reading here.

How can you get your overbite diagnosed?

Before you can even think about your treatment plan, you'll need to get your overbite diagnosed. The good news is that this often only takes a minute or two by your dentist. We can often see an overbite without any additional scans, but we might send you for dental X-rays if we need to determine how your teeth align and overlap before knowing how to fix an overbite.

You might then be referred to an orthodontist who specialises in tooth and jaw alignment to make sure you get the best care possible. It's here where your overbite correction will get escalated and you'll work with your doctor to create the best plan possible for you.

Is it possible to prevent an overbite?

Yes and no, depending on why you have an overbite in the first place. Some people are born with an overbite due to genetics and the shape of their jaw, and this can't be prevented.

Chances are that, if you're reading here already, you're dealing with an overbite of your own and it's too late for preventative measures. Here you'll need to undergo treatment to fix your overbite. However, if the overbite is caused by environmental factors, you might be able to prevent them in children by:

  • Avoiding sippy cups

  • Keeping an eye on thumb sucking and dummy use

  • Make sure you keep up to date with your child's dental appointments

Do you need to treat an overbite?

The answer to this depends on the severity of your overbite and whether you have been living with it comfortably for a while. When you come to see us about your overbite correction, we'll determine whether you have a severe overbite or not, and whether you can continue living with it without treatment.

When you decide to forgo treatment, we recommend that you practice excellent oral hygiene and continue with regular check-ups to make sure the overbite doesn't get worse. You might also get a nightguard to wear at night to prevent tongue thrusting and grinding.

However, if you find your symptoms getting worse, we might recommend you have treatment sooner rather than later to prevent them from causing even more issues like tooth decay and misaligned teeth.

When should you see a dentist about an overbite?

As long as you're seeing your dentist every six months for your routine checkups, you can wait until your next one to talk about your overbite. They might be the first one to notice the overbite if it's not giving you any other symptoms!

However, if you're noticing pain, the inability to chew food, or other worrying symptoms, you should book an early appointment to make sure everything is okay and to get treatment underway. A more severe overbite will need treatment sooner than mild overbites.

Final thoughts

A mild dental overbite is often nothing to worry about and you can go years without even realising you have one. However, people experiencing severe overbites might want to go through treatment to prevent symptoms such as tooth decay, lost teeth, and pain when eating. Thankfully, most overbites can be rectified with orthodontic treatment such as braces and clear aligners. However, in some cases corrective surgery might be needed before braces can be worn to remove the overbite altogether.

While some overbites are genetic and therefore can't be prevented, we always advise that environmental overbites can be prevented in childhood. For this reason, along with many others, it's essential that you have your children seen by dentists regularly so that their overbites can be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.

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