Overbites: Identifying the Cause and Finding a Treatment

Posted on 01/13/2016 by Dr. Lovrovich
A woman suffering from an overbite wearing orthodontic braces to correct her smile.

An overbite is an extremely common problem, especially in the U.S. The term overbite refers to when the teeth of the top jaw jut out pas the teeth of the bottom jaw. If you suffer from an overbite that is making it difficult to speak or chew, or if you simply feel that correcting your bite would lead to a more beautiful smile, orthodontic treatment may be a good option.

What Causes an Overbite?

An overbite can be caused by a few important factors:

  • Genetics. In most cases, your overbite has been passed down from your family members. If your mother or father had an overbite, chances are good that you will too.
  • Bad habits. Bad habits during childhood could result in an overbite, including sucking on a pacifier for too long or a lengthy thumb sucking habit.
  • Abnormalities within the jawbone.

How Do You Treat an Overbite?

While most overbites aren’t a serious issue, there can be some major disadvantages an uncorrected overbite. You’ll be living with an increased risk of developing gum disease or tooth decay, and the alignment of your jaws could affect your speech. Additionally, the appearance of your mouth and smile can be negatively impacted, resulting in low self-esteem.

Fortunately, there are some treatments available to correct an overbite. If your overbite is due to overcrowding of your teeth, tooth extractions and dental braces could be a permanent solution to your problem. Elastics are especially useful, as they can help to reposition the teeth to overlap correctly.

If your overbite is the result of a skeletal issue, jaw surgery may be needed in order to correct the problem so that the maxilla can be repositioned and the mandible may be pulled forward, but this is generally only pursued in the event of a serious problem.

Please contact us if you have any questions about overbites.

4540 Sand Point Way NE, Suite 140
Seattle WA 98105-3941

Tel: (206) 525-7000
Fax: (206) 525-0479

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