An overbite is a type of malocclusion or “bad bite” in which the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by an excessive degree. While the upper teeth should slightly overlap the lower teeth, the ideal degree of overlap is no more than one or two millimeters. In a patient with an overbite, the overlap is usually four to ten millimeters deep.
Why Is It Bad?
Overbites can cause cosmetic and dental problems. They cause teeth to wear down faster, and they increase the chances of developing TMJ problems, which can be painful. An overbite can also affect a patient’s ability to chew, eat and speak normally.
Overbites also affect a patient’s appearance. They make the chin appear to be receding, and they can make the patient’s face appear rounder and shorter than it is. They thus make the patient look older than they really are.
How Can It Be Fixed?
The treatment for an overbite depends on the type. The condition can be dental or skeletal. Dental overbites are caused by problems with the teeth, while skeletal overbites are caused by such abnormalities as a protruding upper jaw. If the condition is dental, it can be fixed with orthodontic treatments such as braces.
While the condition can be treated at any age, the process is easier in children, for their jaws have not yet fully developed.
Braces are still the most common treatment for this condition. Since the patient will usually also need to have their teeth straightened, the treatment will typically involve two phases. The first phase, which will emphasize straightening teeth, involves the placement of the braces. Our orthodontist will attach brackets to the patient’s teeth and thread a metal wire through them. The whole apparatus will gradually shift the teeth into proper alignment.
After the teeth have straightened, Dr. Ragan will adjust the orthodontic treatment to focus on properly aligning the jaw. Depending on the extent of their orthodontic problems, patients will typically wear braces for six months to two years.
If the overbite is mild, the patient may be able to use Invisalign®, a system that uses transparent aligners that look a bit like retainers or mouth guards. The patient will usually have to wear them for at least 22 hours every day. They will get a new set of aligners every two weeks as their teeth shift during treatment. If you are interested in receiving orthodontic treatment with Invisalign® in Dallas, Dr. Ragan can help you decide if it is the right treatment for you.
Patients looking for an orthodontist in Dallas can rest assured that Dr. Ragan has the expertise needed to provide comprehensive treatment for overbites, underbites and a wide variety of other orthodontic concerns at Ragan Orthodontics. Contact us today to get started on your personalized orthodontic treatment plan.