An overbite is when the top front teeth which normally overlap the lower ones do so to a deep degree. This can be so extensive that the lower teeth are barely visible in a full grin.
Underbite refers to when the opposite happens: the lower front teeth close over the upper ones.
Both of these conditions can fall under the category of a “bad bite.”
Underbites and overbites are common in children and some individuals hold onto this jaw alignment well into adulthood. While mild cases might not seem so bad, there are some inherent risks:
If you or your child is living with either an underbite or overbite, you probably want to find a reliable solution.
Whatever you do, NEVER attempt any at-home or DIY treatments you may hear about! DIY braces are a recipe for trouble – perhaps even danger. It’s always best to consult your dentist or an orthodontist for practical solutions.
Young patients often benefit from a palatal expander which gradually encourages the upper teeth to match the alignment of the lower ones. Older patients are usually candidates for corrective surgery. “Facelift dentistry” is a cosmetic solution for a lot of adults with mild underbites.
When correcting teeth in an overbite, braces are the preferable option for kids. Adults usually enjoy the results of using an invisible aligner.
To find out which orthodontic option is right for your family’s situation, start out by talking with your orthodontist.
Posted on behalf of:
East Cobb Orthodontics
2810 Lassiter Rd
Marietta, GA 30062
In dentistry, the alignment or relation of the upper and lower teeth when a person bites down is called occlusion, or more commonly, “bite”. Malocclusion, or misalignment of the upper and lower dental arches results in a “bad bite” and when a bad bite negatively affects a person’s oral and overall health, a bite disorder is present.
An improperly functioning bite puts strain on a person’s jaw bones and facial muscles and causes problems with chewing, talking, and swallowing. A bad bite can contribute to a host of problems, including: receding gums; teeth grinding/clenching; broken teeth; tooth erosion; maxillofacial pain; and sleep apnea.
Bite disorders are caused by: deviations in tooth development; ill-fitting dental prostheses; an underdeveloped jaw; injury; or dysfunctions of the TMJ (temporomandibular jaw) joints. They can also develop as a result of habits such as thumb-sucking and tongue thrusting which put constant pressure on the teeth causing them to shift.
Types of bite disorders
Teeth in the lower dental arch tilt inward or outward more than the corresponding teeth in the upper dental arch.
The upper teeth overlap or protrude over the lower teeth.
The lower teeth overlap or protrude over the upper teeth.
The upper and lower teeth do not quite come together when the person bites down leaving a space between the dental arches.
Bite disorders are treated by dentists using a mixture of bite occlusion dentistry and TMJ therapy. Tooth reshaping, orthodontic treatment (e.g. braces), dental prostheses, and tooth extractions may be used to correct the patient’s bite, while bite splints/mouth guards are used to treat malocclusion-related teeth clenching and sleep apnea. Jaw surgery may also be required to fix bad bites and reduce maxillofacial pain.
The way your teeth bite together can affect a great many things. Patients with crowding or misaligned teeth may be more susceptible to develop premature wear, periodontal disease (gum disease) and TMJ disorders. Even if the teeth in the front of your mouth appear to be straight and aesthetically pleasing, the alignment of the back teeth is important as well.
There are several aspects of your bite that your dentist will evaluate during your first appointment, or after changes in dentition (such as the loss or extraction of a tooth). If you receive orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will also conduct regular bite assessments to determine what type of progress your treatment is making. The main types of bite classifications are:
Class 1: A healthy biting relationship. Minor crowding can be present, but the molars are biting together properly.
Class 2: The bottom teeth are farther back compared to the upper teeth when biting together. This appears as an overbite or short jaw.
Class 3: The bottom teeth are farther forward compared to the upper teeth when biting together. This appears as an under-bite.
In addition to the classification of bites, there are other bite problems that your dentist checks for, such as:
All of these different aspects of your bite affect how efficient your tooth function is and will be for the time to come. While orthodontic therapy can help correct many of these situations, preventive dental care is also important. For example, premature loss of a tooth can cause drifting of the other teeth if a space maintainer or replacement tooth is not put into place. If you have concerns with your bite, ask your dentist or hygienist to assess it at your next dental visit.
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