Although it is almost imperceptible in many cases, overbite is a reasonably common alteration in the way of biting.
It is one of the most common types of dental malocclusion, and if not treated properly, it can eventually cause problems for the teeth and the tissues that support them.
The term refers to having the upper teeth of the mouth advanced. This problem is easily identified. How? If, when you look in the mirror, you notice that when you bite the upper teeth almost completely cover the lower teeth or that you see the upper teeth quite forward or protruding, it is most likely that you suffer from an overbite.
An overbite can be corrected many times with orthopedics, orthodontics, or surgery. We detail everything about the different options in this article.
What Is an Overbite?
An overbite is a malocclusion where the upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth.
This type of malocclusion is often hereditary. The shape of the jaw, like other physical characteristics, can be passed down from generation to generation.
Childhood habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use are other possible causes of overbite.
That is why the way to approach it depends on how this position affects the patient’s physical and functional appearance.
How Orthodontists Fix Overbite
Depending on the patient’s age and the degree of an overbite, we can apply different solutions:
Orthopedic Treatments or Interceptive Orthodontics (children)
Orthopedic treatments are those that are aimed at guiding bone growth. It is performed in children between the ages of 6 and 11, approximately, since the bone is in formation. What is sought is to stop or increase bone growth as necessary.
These treatments only correct bone defects, with minimal dental movement, so there will be times when it will be necessary to conclude with orthodontics to make the required dental adjustments.
But it will always be easier to accommodate the teeth if the space is adequate and the jaws are appropriately located.
You can also install some devices for the control of habits, such as the grid, for the tongue’s habit. It is vitally important that you remember that early treatments for this type of malocclusion will prevent more traumatic procedures in the future, such as surgery.
Orthodontics (adolescents and adults)
When it comes to adolescent and adult patients, the jaws’ position and size can only be partially modified through the use of orthodontics at the expense of tooth movements.
There are mild bone origin malocclusion cases in which, without correcting the bone relationship, the problem can be masked with orthodontics, performing only dental movements, with good functional and aesthetic results.
The orthodontic treatments that can be carried out to solve the overbite are:
Orthodontic treatment with brackets (metallic, sapphire, or Incognito lingual) is the most common treatment, gradually moving the teeth over time and obtaining a more harmonious smile. Sometimes when the upper jaw is too small to accommodate permanent teeth, the palate needs to be expanded.
This procedure is performed with a particular appliance consisting of two pieces attached to the upper molars and an expansion screw that gradually separates the two parts to widen the palate.
Invisible Orthodontics or Invisalign
Invisible orthodontics can also be used to treat this type of malocclusion in adolescents and adults. This type of treatment consists of placing a series of transparent plastic aligners, which are made to measure and gradually change the teeth’ position.
Orthognathic Surgery (adults)
In situations where there is a more severe malocclusion, the overbite’s definitive solution will be to perform a maxillofacial surgery to correct the bone problem.
This is combined with orthodontics to give final balance to the occlusion through tooth movements.
First, it is sought to stabilize the occlusion with dental movements. And after achieving the desired positions, the required maxillary surgery is performed as the last step.
Maxillofacial surgery seeks to cut or reposition the affected bone. Thus, the mandible can be advanced, or the upper jaw delayed, always according to the problem’s origin.
In some cases where there is a lack of space, it will be necessary to have some teeth extracted to make room and to be able to adequately accommodate the remaining teeth.
Because the treatment options for each patient must be carefully studied, the pediatric dentist or orthodontist, depending on the age of the patient, will be the ideal professionals to determine which the most indicated alternative is.
Adequate prevention and detection during childhood are essential to correct an overbite. At this stage, teeth are developing, so it is advisable to do everything possible to make them erupt correctly.
For this reason, it is advisable to avoid habits such as the pacifier or thumb sucking. It is also recommended to rectify these complications during childhood using orthodontics.
In this way, it can be treated in time to prevent the overbite from altering the patient’s quality of life later on.
In adult patients with this complication, professionals recommend going to a trusted dentist to achieve a beautiful and functional smile.