Overbite Basics: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

According to a Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics study, 22 percent of people have an overbite. 

An overbite, also known as buck teeth, happens when the top front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth. Some overbites are minor, while others are more severe and require treatment. 

This blog post delves into the basics, exploring the causes, symptoms, and treatment options. 

What causes an overbite?

An overbite can result from many factors, including genetics, childhood habits, and jaw alignment issues. 

Let’s explore these common causes in detail:

  • Genetics —Like many dental conditions, such as underbites, genetics determine whether a person will develop an overbite. If one or both parents have an overbite, the likelihood of the children inheriting that trait increases. 
  • Childhood Habits—Thumb sucking, thumb thrusting, and extended pacifier use can lead to the development of an overbite. The reason is that these habits exert pressure on the teeth and jaw, which causes the teeth to shift out of alignment. 
  • Jaw alignment—Structural issues that affect how the upper and lower teeth come together cause an overbite. 

What are the symptoms of an overbite?

It’s essential to look for the symptoms to correct the issue. Symptoms include:

  • Teeth overlap—The most obvious symptom is an overlap. Many refer to this hallmark symptom as buck teeth. 
  • Chewing problems—People with a severe overbite may struggle to bite and chew food properly. If left unaddressed, this can lead to digestive issues. 
  • Speech difficulties—An overbite can lead to speech problems such as a lisp or trouble pronouncing certain sounds. 
  • Jaw pain—Misaligned teeth and jaws can cause pain and discomfort in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

How can you prevent an overbite?

While you can’t entirely prevent one from happening, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing or worsening one. 

  • Maintain good oral hygiene—Regular brushing and flossing can prevent gum disease and tooth decay, which can exacerbate issues with an overbite. 
  • Avoid bad habits—For kids who suck their thumb or use a pacifier, encourage them to break these habits.
  • Early intervention—Regular dental check-ups starting at an early age can help detect and address issues before they become severe overbites. 

Treatment Options

This dental condition is treatable, and there are several treatment options available:

  • Jaw surgery—In more severe cases, surgery to reposition the upper or lower jaw to improve jaw function may be necessary.
  • Removable device— Palate expanders or retainers can guide proper jaw and tooth alignment for children.
  • Orthodontic treatment—At Henry Orthodontics, we’ve helped countless patients correct mild to moderate overbites with the use of traditional braces and clear aligners. Both forms of treatment help gradually shift teeth into proper alignment, which corrects the overbite over time. 

Transform Your Smile and Your Confidence

As a trusted orthodontist in St. Augustine and St. Johns, Florida, we offer free consultations where you can learn about our process and ask any questions you may have about your situation and our treatment options.

A free consultation with us will help you better understand how braces can help improve your overbite.