An overbite is one of the most prevalent issues corrected with orthodontic treatment. We’re often asked, “What is an overbite?”

An overbite is a common growth pattern that occurs when the upper front teeth significantly overlap the lower front teeth when biting down.

What are the effects of an overbite? Patients with an overbite may exhibit symptoms such as discomfort with chewing and biting, difficulty with speech, and mouth breathing.

In terms of what causes an overbite, genetics is often to blame.  Overbites are also caused by discrepancies with jaw growth.

When is an overbite corrected?

Overbites are typically corrected when a child is going through their pubertal growth spurt. If you suspect your child has an overbite, it is important to get them in for an early orthodontic consultation. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic consultation at age seven. Timing is critical for properly correcting overbites.  An early consultation allows us to plan for the future and start treatment when a child is at the right age and tooth development.

How is an overbite treated?

An overbite is typically corrected using traditional braces in conjunction with some growth modification appliances, such as headgear. A headgear works to hold the upper jaw in place while the lower jaw grows freely, allowing the jaws and bite to come together. Patients may also be asked to wear springs or rubber bands to help correct the overbite.

If an overbite is treated as an adult, it often requires orthodontics in conjunction with the extraction of permanent teeth or orthognathic (jaw) surgery.

Why should an overbite be corrected?

Correcting an overbite ensures that the teeth and jaws will fit and function together long-term. There are several effects of an overbite that can occur if it goes untreated. Significant wear can occur on the teeth, making them more susceptible to damage and the need for dental restorations.

If the lower teeth are touching on the roof of the mouth, which often happens with an overbite, sores can occur in the area making chewing and eating uncomfortable.  An untreated overbite can also aggravate the jaw joints, cause speech impediments and may make patients more prone to sleep apnea.

Hopefully, this answers the many questions we receive about what an overbite is or why an overbite is bad. It is important to reiterate that timing is vital for correcting an overbite. An early consultation can identify an overbite before it causes more discomfort and damage.

At Sawyer Creek, we are always happy to answer further questions you have about overbites and treatment options. Call us anytime at 920-231-4922. We serve Oshkosh, Wautoma, and surrounding areas throughout the Fox Valley.