An Overbite is when the lower jaw is too far behind the upper jaw. An overbite is what causes a large horizontal gap between your top and bottom teeth. Now the term overbite can be used to describe many different scenarios, so there is no one exact definition.
Now, this can be caused by many factors. The first being genetic. Your genes can be carried down from your parents for your teeth to grow improperly or for your jaws to be different. Now some of these examples deal with your mouth being too small for your teeth, which leads to crowding and shifting. You might also have a mismatch between your upper and lower jaws; this leads to an improper bite.
Secondly, you have bad oral habits; if your teeth are not adequately taken care of, they will grow improperly which can lead to a “bad bite” or even diseases. Next is over-development of your bone. If the bone that supports your teeth grows more significant than it should your teeth will grow in imperfect positions. This can lead to crowding, gaps, bad bite and so on. Another cause of the problem might have been your baby teeth falling off too soon. When you lose your baby teeth on the top but still have your baby teeth on the bottom, your top teeth get forced to grow behind the bottom teeth.
Lastly, a child over 3 using a pacifier, thumb sucking or prolonged bottle use can lead to an overbite. All these can lead into an overbite and many other negative such as gum irritation or problems, damage lower teeth by slowly wearing them down and jaw problems.
An improper bite can result in
- Improper chewing
- Increasing chance of tooth decay, gingivitis, cavities, gum disease and so on.
- Muscle, teeth and jaw strain, can lead to broken tooth and surgery to prevent muscles and bones from further damage (that is a more extreme scenario)
- Reduce self-esteem: with a bad bit, you will most likely have a bad smile, which will reduce you smiling. Smiling has been proven to help increase self-esteem and create a more positive self-conscious.
How To Know
It might be hard for some individuals to notice, but there are some ways to tell or at least point out if there is a problem or not:
- Teeth aren’t aligned
- The face is not symmetrical (one side bigger than other or higher up MIGHT be because of teeth)
- Difficulty using mouth for eating or just biting down
- Difficulty speaking properly
These can be signs of an overbite or other teeth related problems, but a dentist or orthodontist will need to take a look.
How Will They Know?
The dentist or orthodontist will take an x-ray and or teeth impressions. These give them a better understanding of all the problems of your teeth have. They will look at how the teeth clamp down and if your jaw or teeth are the problems. The examination will take a look at your overall face and make sure that your mouth isn’t causing any problems.
After the examination, the orthodontist will suggest a treatment based on the severity and number of issues. In some situations, a retainer will be used, but in others, it might require braces, which is common. Rarely will surgery be needed, but it might have to be done with braces depending on all the issues.