Overbites: Symptoms, diagnosis and orthodontic treatment of overbites

What is an overbite?

Do you think teeth misalignment is something that you alone are dealing with? Orthodontic problems and malocclusion are pretty common, and most people have one type of misalignment of teeth or jaw. Not everyone is so lucky to have perfectly aligned teeth! That’s actually what you see in magazines or TV.

What is a normal bite?

An ideal bite is when the upper teeth overlap slightly over the lower teeth.

So, according to dental professionals, if your top teeth slightly overlap your bottom teeth and your back teeth fit together, then you’re lucky to have an ideal bite and a healthy and attractive smile.

What is malocclusion?

Malocclusion means having a poor or bad bite.

Malocclusion occurs when there’s an incorrect or improper relationship between the upper and lower jaw teeth.

Simply put, malocclusion means having misaligned teeth that can cause many oral health complications if left untreated.

There are several types of malocclusion; let’s see what an overbite is.

Are your upper front teeth protruding outwards over your jaw? Have your lower front teeth become crowded or crooked? Ok, You may have an overbite or buck teeth.

Although the term overbite is used commonly between people, your dentist in Brisbane or orthodontist will refer to this condition as class II malocclusion. Many children have overbites, according to the American Dental Association.

What causes overbites?

How do overbites occur?

Overbites occur if the top teeth overlap the lower teeth, and the overlap is over three cm. Slight overlap is not an issue here; the problem starts when the overlap is more than three centimetres.

An overbite can result from the lower teeth and jaw being back too far, usually caused by genetics. A smaller lower jaw than the upper jaw can also lead to an overbite.

Overbites can be caused due to heredity or genetic factors or childhood habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, extended bottle-feeding, and even both factors. Suppose a child has overbites from genetics; poor childhood habits can worsen.

Constant and prolonged thumb sucking or finger sucking can push the front teeth forward. Tongue thrust occurs because of the tongue’s unnatural force against the teeth and when the tongue presses forward too far in the mouth.

Based on a 2016 journal of the American Dental Association, long-term pacifier use can cause more orthodontic problems for children compared to thumb sucking. Also known as buck teeth and deep bites, overbites are class II malocclusion. A deep bite or a deep overbite occurs if the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth while a person closes their mouth.

Overbites other causes:

  • Missing teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Loss of baby teeth without dental restorations and timely repair
  • Breathing problems like sleep apnea
  • Frequent nail-biting
  • Teeth grinding or bruxism
  • Chewing on hard objects
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder

If you lose your teeth, make sure you receive treatment as soon as possible; losing teeth without dental restoration can lead to overbites.

Types of overbites

An overbite problem can affect both children and adults and is vertical, horizontal, dental, or skeletal.

Vertical overbite

Vertical overbite occurs if the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth.

Horizontal overbite

Horizontal overbite occurs if the upper teeth protrude over the teeth in the lower jaw.

Dental overbite

Dental overbite occurs if the teeth are not in the correct position. Dental overbite is typically caused by childhood habits such as long-term pacifier use, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, finger sucking, or prolonged bottle use.

Skeletal overbite

Skeletal overbite occurs if the jaw has caused an overbite. Skeletal overbites result from irregularities in the growth of the jaw bone; it’s caused due to some issues in jaw alignment.

Skeletal overbites are typically caused by genetics and jaw problems:

  • A child’s jaw shape and size
  • A child’s teeth shape and size

The condition needs treatment, leading to overcrowding, crooked teeth, or spaced teeth.

Is it important to correct an overbite?

Aesthetics issues are just one aspect of dealing with an uncorrected overbite; more problems include dental health issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Gum disease is also called periodontal disease.

Left untreated, overbites can result in more severe symptoms and increase the risk of the need for jaw surgery.

Problems caused by an uncorrected overbite

Overbites severe symptoms

Here are the most common complications associated with an untreated overbite.

1-Chronic jaw pain in severe cases, biting issues, and speech problems

2-Increased risk of tooth decay

3-Increased risk of gum disease

4-Temporomandibular joint disorder

5-Altered facial structure

6-Neck pain

7-Difficulty speaking or chewing


9-Severe cases of overbite can lead to gum damage

Why Tooth Decay?

There’s an elevated risk of tooth decay and cavities for people with overbites due to a faster rate of enamel erosion.

Why Gum Disease?

Severe overbites cause the lower front teeth to contact the gum line in the back of the upper front teeth, resulting in gum recession. Gum recession occurs if the gum tissue wears away and gums pull back from the tooth’s surface, leading to exposed roots.

How to fix an overbite?

Overbite correction

People with severe overbite need to seek treatment to prevent other possible complications in the future and get rid of problems like jaw pain.

If a person requires orthodontic treatment to fix an overbite, the orthodontist may suggest braces or Invisalign clear aligners. 

The best course of action will be determined depending on the severity of the condition, whether it’s a slight overbite or a severe one, and the person’s age. Your orthodontist will also consider the type of overbite you have, meaning is it dental overbites they are dealing with or a skeletal one.

Orthodontic Treatment

Can dental braces fix overbites?

Overbite Correction with Dental braces

Traditional braces that are made of wires and metal brackets can correct overbites. The patient should wear braces for about eighteen months to almost three years to align their teeth. Traditional braces are fixed dental devices, and you cannot remove them for eating or practising dental hygiene.

Can Invisalign aligners correct overbites?

Overbite Correction with Invisalign treatment

Invisalign are a set of clear plastic aligners used to treat orthodontic issues. These plastic aligners are removable, which is why the patient should be disciplined enough to wear them no less than 22 hours per day to achieve the desired result.

Your paediatric dentist will tell you whether these invisible braces suit your condition or need another treatment option. 

 Tooth extractions

Tooth extractions are sometimes required before orthodontic treatment to achieve straight teeth by making more space for permanent teeth (adult teeth) to come in a straightway. Removing some teeth will also create more space for the remaining teeth in the mouth and prevent crowding.

 Jaw surgery

Overbite surgery may be needed for severe overbites.

Overbite surgery is typically performed for adults whose permanent teeth (adult teeth) and jaws have been fully developed. The procedure is typically performed to correct skeletal overbites. Jaw surgery involves repositioning the jaw bone by an oral surgeon to fix misaligned jaws.

 Do Overbites worsen with age?

Unfortunately, YES. That’s why you need to see an experienced orthodontist and correct an overbite before it leads to other complications.

Contact Kids Dentist in Brisbane

Our kid’s dentist in Brisbane is ready to offer you high-quality dental care and give you a more attractive smile.

Contact us on 07 3343 4869 to schedule an appointment with Dr Soha Sharif or book online to receive oral care for you and your loved ones.