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What’s an overbite and how can orthodontic treatment fix it?

What’s an overbite and how can orthodontic treatment fix it
Roy Abrahams
03, Mar 2020

As a specialist orthodontic practice the team at Rickmansworth Orthodontics sees every type of orthodontic problem imaginable, from spacing between teeth to crooked teeth and a host of other types of teeth related problems we call malocclusions. One of the more common malocclusions, or misaligned bites, is the overbite. We recommend treating overbites while your child or teen is still young and their jaws are still developing but don’t worry of you’re an adult who’s lived with an overbite all your life, there are orthodontic solutions for you too.

What is an overbite?

Misaligned bites are a really common problem for many patients we see at our Hertfordshire based Rickmansworth Orthodontics. They range from an overjet where your front teeth or jaw juts out in front of your lower teeth or jaw, openbites where you bite your upper and lower teeth together but your teeth miss or don’t touch and overbite where your upper front teeth overlap your lower front teeth. In fact, a very slight overlap is correct. The problems arise only when the overlap is excessive, which in some cases can be so pronounced that your lower teeth are completely obscured by the overlapping front teeth.

Overbites vary in severity. Most cases see your lower teeth grind against the back of your front teeth which wears away the enamel on both sets of teeth. In extreme cases an overbite causes the lower teeth to reach the gum line behind the front teeth which can cause more serious trauma to the soft tissue of your gums.

Causes of overbites

Most overbites are a simple of case of your genetic makeup. In other words you inherit the makeup of your teeth and jaws from your parents and their parents. It’s a common misconception that overbites are caused by thumb-sucking or using a baby’s dummy too long. Oral habits like these can lead to overjets which are often mistaken for overbites. At Rickmansworth Orthodontics we’ll be in a good position to treat your child or teen while they’re still developing and can arrest the development of any future overbite.

What problems are associated with an overbite?

Many of our patients look for an orthodontic solution to their overbite because they don’t like the aesthetics of overlapping teeth. However, there are other reasons why you should treat your overbite.

Tooth Wear — tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and is designed to protect your teeth so you can eat and speak naturally and without pain. When teeth wear against teeth excessively or in the wrong direction, the enamel can actually grind itself down prematurely leaving your teeth unable to the job they there for.

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) — when teeth don’t bite together properly, your TMJ “jaw joint” moves in unnatural directions in order to properly chew and grind your food. Over time, this can lead to physical strain to the joint, ligaments, and muscles around your TMJ.

Headaches — athough TMJ pain is common with malocclusions, often that muscular pain can extend into your face, forehead, temples, or even down through your neck. Headaches and migraines are more common for people with atypical bites.

Sleep Apnea — research suggests your jaw position can increase your risk of sleeping disorders like sleep apnoea.

What’s the best orthodontic treatment for an overbite?

Overbites concern the way the teeth and jaws fit together which is, essentially, what an orthodontic specialist like Rickmansworth Orthodontics does every day for patients in Watford and throughout Hertfordshire. For many of our patients conventional or traditional bracket and wire braces will treat an overbite successfully. Sometimes we’ll use additional orthodontic appliances such as bite planes and elastics to complement the braces and this will depend on each individual case. There are many “quick fix” type orthodontic treatments advertised but these do not address and correct the overbite. Specialist practices do not recommend these treatments.

In some extreme cases where the overbite is so pronounced it can lead to difficulty eating and speaking and also cause chronic pain. Some cases may require the removal of teeth to alleviate over-crowding but this is very rare as we prefer to avoid teeth extractions wherever possible. It’s often the case where our adult patients prefer to use more invisible orthodontic braces and we’re often asked about Invisalign at Rickmansworth Orthodontics, near Watford. Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners that are virtually invisible as an alternative to metal wires and brackets, to move teeth into place. Invisalign is used to fix a range of malocclusions, including overbites, but we’ll discuss with each patient all your orthodontic options and advise on the best treatment on a case-by-case basis. qualify.

For more information on how to correct your overbite contact the practice today.

T. 01923 721156
E. mail@royabrahams.co.uk

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