WHAT IS AN OVERBITE?
Overbite is the overlap between your upper and lower front teeth. It is actually the vertical gap between your upper and lower incisors, which is normally present in all individuals. An overbite of 2 to 3mm is normal. But if this overlap exceeds the normal, then you may have a condition known as “Deep Bite”. People with excessive overbite have a recessive chin, meaning their chin looks smaller, affecting their appearance.
WHAT CAUSES OVERBITE?
Genetics plays a major role in any kind of malocclusion. You could have inherited this feature from one of your parents. But more than often, an overbite may be a result of some abnormal childhood habits. For example, kids with a habit of thumb sucking for a long duration, or thrusting their tongue tend to push the upper teeth and jawbone more forward than the lower. This results in a smaller chin and an excess overbite.
TYPES OF OVERBITE
There are two types of overbite and that determines the treatment plan. They are:
● Dental overbite: It is caused due to improper arrangement of teeth as a result of disturbances during teeth development and eruption. This might occur due to crowding of your teeth, abnormal habits like thumb sucking or too forwardly placed upper front teeth.
● Skeletal overbite: This is as a result of disproportionate growth of upper and lower jaws. Irregular development of either of the two jaws (excessive forward growth of the upper jaw or deficient growth of the lower jaw) causes the teeth and jaws to be placed in an excess overbite or deep-bite.
IS IT BAD TO HAVE AN OVERBITE?
Although a small amount of overbite is a normal feature, accentuated overbite is a serious issue for many people. People with overbite have a shorter and rounder face due to their small chin and tend to look older. Overbite not only affects your appearance but also has numerous other repercussions. It leads to the grinding of teeth, clenching of the jaw causing headache, and TMJ pains. Malocclusion due to overbite may cause trouble in chewing your food properly. Breathing difficulty and sleep disorders are two issues that you may be facing due to overbite, but would never have thought they were related. A receded chin or smaller lower jaw causes your tongue to fall back during sleep and may cause sleep apnea, snoring, and difficulty in breathing. An overbite may also affect a person’s speech causing a lisp. So correcting your overbite could be a way to correct your lisp too!!
WHY IS EARLY TREATMENT IMPORTANT IN OVERBITE?
Overbites need to be corrected as early as possible. If left untreated it might deepen with time. Additionally, the continuous clenching and grinding of teeth would wear down the edges of your teeth and make the overbite more accentuated. This wearing off or attrition can cause sensitivity to hot and cold and even severe pain. It may also affect your TM joint and cause pain near your ear region. Pain can also affect your nutrition and overall health. The early you get your overbite corrected the faster and better results you get.
WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CORRECTING OVERBITE?
In case of pain and discomfort in TM joint splint therapy may provide some relief by releasing pressure from blood vessels and nerves by repositioning the lower jaw in a more natural position.
However, conventionally a fixed orthodontic treatment is recommended by most orthodontists. These orthodontic braces help realign your teeth in such a way that the overbite is relieved and the jaws are stabilized. There are multiple options available for fixed orthodontic treatment.
● Metal braces: The traditional orthodontic treatment is performed with metallic braces that are attached to your teeth and held together with wires to align the teeth into proper position gradually over time. They are difficult to clean as food may get stuck in between
the wire and the brackets.
● Ceramic brackets: They are an aesthetic alternative to metal brackets. These braces have tooth-colored brackets but use metal wires to move teeth. But they are better looking than metal braces.
● Clear aligners: The most esthetic option for overbite correction is clear aligners. These clear aligners, as the name suggests, are completely transparent and are virtually invisible inside the mouth. Dentistry has revolutionized leaps and bounds and newer breakthroughs have made such developments possible. These advanced systems of teeth alignment enable orthodontic teeth movement with the help of clear tray like appliances, that snugly fit your teeth and have orthodontic forces incorporated into them. They are removable transparent plastic aligners that need to be switched out about every two weeks, as the orthodontist slowly moves your teeth into a better alignment. Apart from being invisible, they are also comfortable as they have no wires poking around. They are removable so can be conveniently removed while eating, and brushing. This there are no diet restrictions with these aligners, so you can now enjoy your food while straightening your teeth. It is easier to keep your teeth clean too unlike metal braces.
● Lingual braces are ones that are attached to the back surface of your teeth instead of the front so they are not visible.
All of these treatment options vary in price, but sometimes the clear braces maybe a little more expensive. Your orthodontist will assess your condition and recommend the best option to suit your needs.
Regardless of which treatment option you choose, it is very to maintain proper oral hygiene. Throughout the treatment process, religiously brushing and flossing twice daily is extremely essential.