The underlying health of smile is important, but you placing emphasis on the look and feel of your teeth can offer enormous benefits. Unfortunately, only 30 to 40 percent of the population has perfectly aligned teeth. The other part of the population suffers with a form of malocclusion such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. If you are dealing with the overwhelming physical and emotional issues caused by your overbite, using this guide to understand the causes and treatment can help.
Before repairing issues affecting your bite, you need to understand the root cause of your malocclusion. In most cases, heredity is the cause of a misaligned bite. If family members have differently sized upper and lower jaws, they most likely are suffering with overcrowding of their teeth and abnormal bites. Of course, your specific overbite may also be due to one of the following causes:
- Childhood Habits – Sucking on the thumb or fingers and excessive use of a pacifier or bottle can affect normal dental development.
- Unique Dental Development – Eruption of multiple teeth at one time or abnormally-shaped teeth can also misalign your bite.
- Head, Mouth, or Jaw Injuries – Various accidents that directly affect your head, mouth, or jaw can create malocclusions.
- Growth or Tumors – Various growths or tumors inside your mouth, jaw, or neck can misalign bites.
While these are common causes, visiting your dentist is smart to determine the cause of your specific overbite.
For most people, overbites negatively affect their appearance. However, each type of malocclusion can be bothersome and painful. While surprising to hear, your overbite can create the following issues:
- Decay – Excessive contact and force is common when your have a misaligned bite. This added stress causes tooth enamel to wear down faster, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- TMJ - Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, or TMJ, is a common problem for patients with improper bites. The condition causes popping, clicking, and locking of the jaw. In addition, patients with TMJ have constant headaches, ear pain, and difficulty chewing.
- Speech Issues – When you have an abnormal bite, speaking can be difficult. Most patients with malocclusions have speech impediments, such as a lisp.
Options For Treatment
Each person is different and may require their own type of treatment for their overbite. Fortunately, many effective options are available for patients of all ages. Here are a few treatments to repair your overbite:
- Orthodontics – Your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist, like one at Aspen Orthodontics, to determine the best course of action for your overbite. After a series of x-rays, the orthodontist may suggest correcting your bite using a palatal expander. The metal appliance fits the upper teeth in the back of your mouth. A small key-like tool turns the appliance to correct your misaligned bite. While the appliance can be uncomfortable at first to wear, it is an effective treatment for your overbite.
In addition, your orthodontist may suggest a series of braces to create the force necessary for realigning your bite. Metal, plastic, and ceramic braces are available, so there is an option for your budget and desired level of comfort.
- Extractions – For patients with overbites that stem from overcrowding, dentists may extract one or more teeth. Extractions will provide extra space for teeth to grow in a more aligned manner.
- Surgery – Surgical procedures are also available to correct severe overbites. After an initial consultation, a maxillofacial surgeon will reposition the upper jaw in a permanent manner. While the surgery is an invasive procedure, it can be the best option for efficient repair of your overbite.
Suffering with an overbite can be physically and emotionally overwhelming. Using this guide, you will understand possible causes and find the best treatment option for your specific smile.