How to Fix an Unsightly Overbite for Good.

Medically Reviewed by a
Byte Licensed DDS

Table of Contents

  1. What Is an Overbite?
  2. Overbite Types
  3. Related Issues
  4. Importance of Correction
  5. Assessment
  6. At-Home Treatment
  7. References

There are different treatment options for an overbite, depending on its severity. Treatment can also depend on the cause of your overbite.

Often, genetics determines how our teeth and jaws develop and fit together. When this issue is caught earlier in life, a pediatric dentist can guide a child’s jaw and teeth as they form, which can reduce later issues.

You may end up with an overbite in adulthood even if you had braces as a kid. Adult teeth can shift over the years.

Fortunately, overbites can be fixed for good with a range of treatments, including braces, at-home aligners, and other approaches.

What is an overbite?

When dentists talk about occlusion, they mean the alignment of your teeth. A malocclusion means that there is a deviation in how your teeth should fit together, which is typically an alignment issue like an overbite, underbite, or crossbite.

While there are subcategories of these types of bite problems, the term overbite generally refers to when the upper teeth stick out too far over the bottom teeth. An overbite may also be called a deep bite or a closed bite.

An overbite can make it hard to close your lips, cause your jaws to fit together incorrectly, make taking bites difficult, and lead to other oral health issues.

Types of overbites.

There are three types of malocclusions, two of which are overbites. These two are:

Class 1
This is the most common type of overbite. Though the overall bite is normal, the upper teeth somewhat overlap the lower teeth.
Class 2
Also called retrognathism, this type of overbite is more serious and will probably need to be corrected with dental appliances like braces or aligners.

Causes of an overbite include:

  • Abnormal alignment of your teeth that causes the front teeth to push forward.
  • Having extra teeth, like wisdom teeth, which cause a forward adjustment of the rest of the teeth.
  • Ill-fitting dental fillings, crowns, implants, aligners, or braces.
  • Misalignment of the jaw after an injury, fracture, or illness.
  • Tumors in the mouth and jaw.
There are two basic types of overbites, but both involve your upper front teeth jutting over your lower front teeth, and it can lead to a closed bite, deep bite, or bucktoothed appearance.

Why should I correct my overbite?

Many people live with overbites, even serious ones. But getting treatment for this dental issue can make you feel more comfortable and boost your overall health.

Goals of treatment include to:

  • Make teeth easier to clean to reduce tooth decay.
  • Reduce pressure on enamel, which reduces tooth decay.
  • Eliminate strain on the jaws, teeth, and muscles in the face.
  • Reduce clenching and grinding of the jaws and teeth due to poor alignment.
  • Prevent biting into the gums, cheeks, or roof of the mouth, which can cause pain or sores.

To start getting treatment for your overbite, you would typically need to go to an orthodontist. This specialty dentist would take x-rays of your mouth to understand the alignment of your teeth and how to correct them. You may also need to get x-rays of your skull so your orthodontist can see how your jaws align.

Once the orthodontist understands why you have an overbite, they can plan for how to correct it. This may include braces, aligners, elastic bands, and other orthodontic devices.

Treatment timelines usually range from one to two years with traditional orthodontic equipment. The specific timeline depends greatly on the severity of your overbite.

More adults are turning to at-home approaches to straighten their teeth. If you think you have an overbite, you can diagnose this at home to a certain extent.

Here are some steps to try at home:

  • Close your mouth normally, with your teeth resting gently together. Do not force them or grind them, as this can hurt and produce exaggerated results.
  • Look in the mirror and smile. Stand as close as possible so you can see your teeth. Check if your upper teeth extend over the bottom of your lower front teeth.
  • If the overlap is noticeable and more than 3.5 millimeters, you have an overbite.

In some cases, you may also feel your lower teeth biting near, or even hitting, the roof of your mouth.

At-home overbite treatment.

Medical research suggests that clear plastic aligners can, for many people, work as well as braces, with a shorter treatment duration. There is also less embarrassment associated with this form of teeth straightening because aligners are not as noticeable as braces.

One survey of eight papers found that there was no significant statistical difference between using traditional braces and clear aligners when it came to overbite results. The review noted that there may be severe situations in which aligners alone are not the right course of treatment. Most people who used aligners had a much shorter treatment duration, which could be better for the customer’s emotional health.

A specific case review in a different publication suggests that when using aligners to correct an overbite, it can take less than a year to adjust teeth into a healthier alignment. The case involved 12 clear aligners, changed each week, with a follow-up orthodontist appointment after those 12 aligners were used. Once that appointment was complete, another set of 12 aligners was distributed. The entire treatment took 36 weeks.

While there were a few additional steps after the aligner treatment was completed, the focus of treatment was using plastic aligners, demonstrating their effectiveness for even moderate problems.

One of the greatest benefits of at-home aligner treatment is access to an orthodontist to consult on your treatment, without having to leave your home. You will start by making impressions of your teeth, which are sent to the aligner company for review. If you have a mild or moderate overbite, an orthodontist can usually develop a treatment plan for you to follow.

Not every type of overbite can be corrected with at-home aligner treatment. Some companies refund the cost of your impression kit if they determine you aren’t a good candidate.

At the end of your treatment, you’ll receive a retainer to wear at night. This helps to maintain the results of your treatment, ensuring that your unsightly overbite is gone for good.

References.

When Overbite Correction Can Be Beneficial. Colgate.

Malocclusion of Teeth. (February 2018). MedlinePlus.

What Is a Deep Bite? (January 2019). American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

How to Diagnose an Overbite. (March 2019). wikiHow.

A Comparison of Treatment Effectiveness Between Clear Aligner and Fixed Appliance Therapies. (2019). British Medical Journal Oral Health.

Clear Aligners Versus Brackets in Adult Orthodontics. (May 2019). Dentistry Today.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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