As the name implies, an overbite results when the upper front teeth extend forward and cover the lower front teeth. If you’ve visited any of the Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics offices, you may have heard us refer to it as a malocclusion—orthodontist speak for a misalignment of the teeth and jaws.

It’s a very common condition. In fact, many people don’t even realize they have an overbite until diagnosed by an orthodontist. But it can be a serious condition. If left untreated, overbites can create significant dental problems.

Fortunately, it’s fairly straightforward for us to fix with the use of Invisalign or braces.

How Thumb Sucking Affects Your Child’s Teeth

Learn More

Reasons for an Overbite

There are two main causes of an overbite:

  1. Genetics:  Overbites are often hereditary, and there’s nothing you can do to avoid them. Either your lower jaw is underdeveloped or your upper jaw is overdeveloped.
  2. Childhood Tendencies:  Sometimes childhood tendencies can create an overbite, such as thumbsucking, prolonged bottlefeeding, chewing your nails, or extended pacifier use. In these cases, we correct your overbite by guiding your jaws back in the right position.

How Orthodontic Treatment Can Fix Your Overbite

Some people may want to treat their overbite for pure esthetic reasons. However, in more extreme cases, overbites may cause health issues, such as speech issues, trauma to the teeth, difficulty chewing, gum damage, jaw pain, and more.

The process for correcting an overbite frequently involves repositioning the lower jaw and teeth to match your upper jaw and teeth. First, we take x-rays, pictures and digital impressions of your teeth to determine the exact positions of your upper and lower jaw. Then, we use one of the following tactics to correct the issue:

  1. Invisalign:  In many cases, we’re able to treat patients with an overbite using Invisalign, a customized set of clear, plastic aligners. These removable aligners fit perfectly to your teeth and allow you to eat almost anything during treatment.
  2. Braces and Elastics:  For those with braces, adding elastics between your top and bottom brackets moves your upper and lower jaw into the right positions. Elastics are typically used in less severe cases of overbites.
  3. Appliances:  For more extreme and rare cases, we may use an appliance—such as a Herbst Appliance—to correct skeletal imbalances where the lower jaw is behind the upper jaw.
  4. Permanent Tooth Extractions:  Sometimes the jaw discrepancy and teeth crowding are more than can be corrected with Invisalign or braces alone. In these more severe cases, we selectively extract permanent teeth (premolars) to create space to correct the overbite and relieve crowding.
  5. Jaw Surgery:  Sometimes, the issues with jaw discrepancy lie in the bones. In these severe cases, a highly skilled oral surgeon works in unison with our doctors to create a comprehensive treatment plan to align the teeth and surgically correct the jaws, leading to an ideal esthetic and functional result.

While it is possible to be treated for an overbite at any age, the earlier we can detect the issue—ideally during jaw development—the better. In many cases, early treatment can help avoid more complicated treatment down the road. Nevertheless, please don’t hesitate to reach out at any age if you have questions regarding an overbite. We’re happy to help!

Ready to schedule a free consultation?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.