The size, shape, and alignment of our teeth take centre stage when it comes to the quality of our smile and facial aesthetics. While some people are born with perfectly aligned teeth and a naturally beautiful smile, others may have certain tooth alignment flaws that affect their appearance and personality.
One of the most common orthodontic problems that affect one’s oral health and ruin the smile and appearance is an overbite. This article explains everything you know everything to need to know about an overbite and how it is treated.
What Is An Overbite?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, an overbite – also known as a deep bite – is a condition in which the upper front teeth overlap the lower ones excessively when all the teeth come together. There are two main types of overbites; dental and skeletal overbite. A dental overbite occurs when the upper front teeth are positioned excessively forward compared to their lower counterparts. On the other hand, the upper jaw protrudes excessively forward in comparison to the lower jaw.
How To Tell If You Have A Skeletal Overbite?
It may not be possible to detect whether one has an overbite or to ascertain its type just by the naked eye. Your orthodontist will perform a detailed clinical examination, including evaluating the x-ray images of your teeth to visualise the relative position of your jaws to confirm the type of overbite. Orthodontists use a special type of x-rays, the cephalograms, which provides detailed information regarding the relative position and angulation of teeth in relation to the jaws and other important facial landmarks. The cephalograms also help orthodontists in preparing a detailed treatment plan for treating the underlying problem.
Skeletal Overbite Versus Dental Overbite, What’s The Difference?
As discussed earlier, a dental overbite occurs when the upper teeth protrude excessively compared with the lower ones. This type of overbite occurs primarily because of the improper angulation of the teeth, mainly caused due to parafunctional dental habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and nail-biting. The treatment of dental overbite is performed with traditional braces or Invisalign aligner – to close the excessive horizontal gap between the upper and the lower front teeth.
On the other hand, a skeletal overbite occurs due to the malformation or misalignment of the jaws. It can also occur when there is a mismatch between the size of the jaws. Treatment of skeletal overbites usually involves surgical treatment to reposition or realign the jaws.
How Long Will It Take To Fix A 4 mm Overbite?
The time required for fixing a 4mm overbite depends on various factors, including the type of orthodontic treatment, the skill and expertise of the orthodontist, and patient compliance. Your dentist may either recommend traditional metal braces or Invisalign aligners for treating overbite. Generally, it may take you anywhere between one to two years to get a 4mm overbite fixed. In some cases, your dentist may also consider using additional appliances, like elastics, to accelerate the tooth movement. Your orthodontist can give you a rough estimate required for your treatment based on your oral health status and orthodontic needs.
Are Braces The Only Option For Treatment?
Metal braces are one of the most effective and time-tested options for fixing orthodontic problems, including correcting an overbite. However, they are not the only option for overbite correction. If you do not wish to get traditional braces for your treatment, you may also consider getting Invisalign aligners, which have the added advantage of being more convenient, comfortable, and virtually invisible when worn.
Can An Overbite Cause Jaw Problems?
Any condition in which the teeth or the jaws are not optimally aligned can lead to various dental complications, in addition to causing aesthetic concerns. An overbite may result in the following problems:
- Excessive tooth wear
- Tooth sensitivity
- Difficulty in eating
- Speech problems
- Gum disease
Perhaps, the most significant complication of a deep bite is the risk of developing temporomandibular joint or jaw disorders. An improper bite puts excessive pressure on the jaws, leading to problems such as difficulty in opening the mouth, clicking or popping sounds while eating or speaking, jaw pain, and jaw joint dislocation. Therefore, you must seek treatment for overbite as soon as possible to avoid damage to your oral health and physical wellbeing.
Will Fixing An Overbite Change My Face Shape?
Any problem involving the bite or jaw misalignment can affect your smile and personality. An overbite can have a significant effect on your appearance and facial aesthetics. Getting an overbite fixed with braces or Invisalign aligners can help you get rid of these aesthetic problems, and enjoy a healthy, lasting and beautiful smile.
What Braces Fix An Overbite?
Traditional metal braces are one of the most effective options for fixing a dental overbite. The orthodontic braces, or the brackets, contain a slot through which an orthodontic wire passes. The tension in the orthodontic wire exerts pressure on the teeth, resulting in their movement or realignment. In this way, braces gradually fix excessive upper teeth overlap compared with the lower ones. Another option for fixing an overbite is the Invisalign aligners. This system uses a series of aligners that apply gentle pressure on the teeth and move them in the desired position. Dentists may also use removable appliances to fix mild cases of an overbite problem.
When it comes to fixing orthodontic problems, it is imperative that you go to an experienced and qualified Specialist orthodontist . If you are looking for a reliable and renowned orthodontic practice in Harley Street, then look no more. 128 Harley Street Dental Suite is at your service! We take pride in offering the highest-quality dental services to our esteemed patients in a comfortable and relaxing environment. So, book an appointment for a free e-consultation today and let us give you a beautiful, attractive and healthy smile.
Dr. Stefan Abela
BChD, MFDS, RCS Eng, MSc, MORTH RCS Ed, AHEA, FDS Orth RCS Ed
Stefan is a Consultant in Orthodontics at one of the most prestigious London teaching hospitals; Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
Stefan is also a specialist in Orthodontics and is registered on the General Dental Council (GDC) specialist list. Stefan qualified as a dental surgeon in 2003 and underwent further training in various specialties including restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry, oral medicine and complex oral and maxillofacial surgery including the management of facial trauma.