To many of people, overbites are only unsightly but are pretty harmless healthwise. As a result, they ask for help purely for cosmetic reasons. Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Overbites affect not only your smile but your oral health and even your facial structure. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options
To many of people, overbites are only unsightly but are pretty harmless healthwise. As a result, they ask for help purely for cosmetic reasons. Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Overbites affect not only your smile but your oral health and even your facial structure. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options for overbites.
What are overbites?
Before we delve deep into the treatment of n overbite, let’s take a look at its definition. Simply put, an overbite, also known as bulk teeth or malocclusion, is a condition where the upper jaw overlaps the lower jaw by a proportion of 30-50%. From face value, a malocclusion appears to be an issue with crooked teeth but it is really an issue of improper jaw alignment. There are two types of overbites: vertical overbites where the top jaw overlaps the lower jaw and horizontal overbites where the top teeth stick out over the bottom teeth. Both of these are caused by jaw alignment issues.
Overbites are primarily hereditary but certain habits such as thumb sucking, use of a pacifier, and tongue-thrusting can cause it too. For adults, teens, and older kids, an overbite can come as a result of grinding teeth, biting the nails, and chewing on pens and pencils. Additionally, if you lose teeth and don’t get them repaired in good time, you might develop an overbite.
Often, an overbite affects your speech. When you have one, you tend to speak with your tongue more. At best, this affects the clarity of your sentences, and at worst, you may have a lisp when speaking.
What Are The Top Treatment Options?
If left untreated, an overbite will get worse over time leading to tooth decay, speech challenges, gum disease, jaw pain, and even loss of your teeth. Other severe overbite implications include trouble opening and closing the mouth fully, sleep apnea, headaches, and pain or discomfort while eating. Before things get too complicated, consider treating your overbite through any of the following options.
Braces are perhaps the most common treatment option for less severe overbites. In most cases, people get braces in their childhood or teenage years but even adults can use them too. Basically, braces are fastened on teeth to align them. Once aligned, your orthodontist will add coils, rubber bands, and springs to correctly shift your jawline. Traditional metal braces are visible but you can opt for clear braces if you don’t want them to be noticeable.
Retainers or Invisalign is a less flashy option fitted over your teeth. These clear plastic retainers are great because you can remove them during mealtimes and feature no dietary restriction. The only problem is that you’ll be required to visit your orthodontist every couple of weeks to get transparent aligners that hold tightly into your teeth until they shift into place.
There’s also the option of lingual braces that look somewhat like traditional braces but which are installed at the back of the teeth. This is perfect for patients who would like their braces to be totally invisible.
- Tooth extraction
Sometimes, your overbite is too severe to treat it with braces. In this case, your orthodontist may suggest the complete extraction of a tooth to help alleviate the problem. This is especially true if your upper and lower jaws consist of different sizes or if you have overcrowded teeth. The idea is to shift your teeth by creating space for movement. After the extraction, your orthodontist will shift your teeth using braces.
- Jaw surgery
This is often the last resort and is primarily ideal for skeletal overbites. Most of the patients who benefit from this are adults rather than children. Kids’ jaws are easier to shift because they are still developing. Ideally, you will put on braces both before and after surgery. The reason for braces pre-surgery is to prepare your mouth for surgery.
During the surgery, the orthodontist will align your upper and lower jaws properly by reshaping, removing, and grafting the bone in place. He or she will then proceed to hold your jaw in place using wires, surgical plates, screws, and rubber bands. It takes about six months to recover, a period in which you will put on your braces, a rigorous hygiene plan, lots of rest, and a strict diet.
There you have it; the top three treatments for overbites. Regardless of the option you settle for, never underestimate the importance of oral hygiene. Keep brushing and flossing your teeth two times a day and visit your Sc Columbia Pitner Orthodontics twice a year.