An overbite occurs when your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth. It often makes sufferers feel self-conscious about their appearance.
Additionally, a severe overbite can cause oral health issues. Fortunately, there are many solutions available to treat the condition.
So how can I tell if I have an overbite that needs treatment?
Normal vs. Severe Overbite
Class I OverbiteMany patients have a slight overbite that overlaps about a third to a half of the lower bite. Typically, treatment of a class I overbite is not necessary unless you are unhappy with your appearance.
Class II OverbiteTreatment is usually recommended for a moderate to severe overbite, known as a class II overbite or malocclusion, because it places you at higher risk of oral health issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Look at Your Side Profile to Determine If You May Suffer from Malocclusion
A severe overbite is usually easy to identify because the upper teeth very noticeably protrude over the bottom teeth.
Early Childhood Habits Can Increase Your Risk of an Overbite
Some patients develop an overbite by no fault of their own. However, there are certain habits that may increase your risk, including:
- Prolonged pacifier use
- Tongue thrusting
- Nail biting
These habits exude repetitive force on the teeth and jaw, causing them to shift in ways that can require extensive and costly therapy.
Some Causes Are Beyond Your Control
Some patients have an underdeveloped lower jaw or overdeveloped upper jaw due to genetics, resulting in an overbite.
Abnormal Tooth EruptionIf teeth erupt improperly, or if you have extra or abnormally shaped teeth, they can cause an overbite to develop.
No Reason to Be Embarrassed: Many Patients Suffer from Overbites
Class II overbite is the most commonly treated condition in orthodontics. In the US, 33% of orthodontic patients are receiving treatment for a severe overbite.