Believe it or not, this is a super common dental issue for Americans (and for people around the world!).
Overbites might not look aesthetically attractive, but they’re far from permanent. In fact, you can speak to an orthodontist about treating your overbite today. Odds are they’ll recommend braces to treat your overbite condition and straighten your teeth into a winning smile you can be proud of.
Not sure how braces fix an overbite or whether they can be relied on? Let’s break down how braces can fix overbites and why you should consider getting braces sooner rather than later.
What is Overbite and What Causes It?
In a nutshell, an overbite just means that the top of your jaw and your teeth significantly overlap the lower jaw and teeth. Also called a malocclusion by dentists and orthodontists, an overbite can be vertical or horizontal.
With a vertical overbite, the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth. With a horizontal overbite, top teeth protrude over the bottom teeth. In some people, the signs of both overbite types are present.
Technically, there are also two types of overbites: dental and skeletal. Dental overbites occur when teeth themselves are in the wrong position. Skeletal overbites occur when the jaw is positioned in such a way that it causes the overbite.
If you have an overbite, don’t worry too much; it’s the most common dental disorder overall (aside from basic hygiene issues like cavities). Overbites are also very common in children, though some of them clear up or fix themselves with time.
Can Braces Correct Overbite?
Ultimately, dentists can’t point to a single factor or cause for all overbites. As noted above, overbites are technically caused by either improper tooth growth or skeletal growth patterns.
Why do these things occur? It depends on the individual. Some people might just be born with Jaws or jawbones that develop unevenly. Other people might be born with a jaw that’s too small or too big for their teeth. In these cases, their teeth could move around improperly and result in crowding or an overbite.
In all of these cases, genetics plays a major role in overbite likelihood. Odds are that if you had an overbite as a kid, any children you have will also be at risk for an overbite!
However, some overbites are due to environmental factors instead of genetics. For example, a child that constantly sucks their thumb or fingers past age 5 or so may accidentally push their jawbone or front teeth forward.
This may also occur in individuals who develop an overbite as teenagers or adults. Chewing your fingernails, biting a pen, or even losing teeth without follow-up dental treatment could cause an overbite to develop later in life.
No matter the root cause, however, there’s good news: overbites are almost always treatable with either regular dental techniques, braces, or other treatments.
The Issues of Overbites
Overbites may be common, but they’re not something you should live with for your whole life. In fact, overbites can lead to a whole range of negative dental health side effects and long-term conditions, including:
- Aesthetic issues. Many people feel self-conscious if their smiles aren’t straight, and an overbite can make your smile look haphazard or crooked. Furthermore, more severe overbites may cause your top teeth to protrude from your lips, even when you try to close your mouth
- Jaw pain. Depending on the kind of overbite you have, it might also lead to long-term jaw pain or stress, especially when you chew or talk
- Tooth problems. Some overbites are so severe that they could cause your teeth to become weakened or crooked, leading to issues with cavities, inability to floss properly, and more. Some patients also grind their teeth and clench their jaws because of the above-mentioned jaw pain, which can wear down teeth and make them more susceptible to cavities and decay
- Speech issues. In some cases, a serious overbite can even slur your speech and make it difficult for people to understand you
The above problems are bad by themselves. But they can get even worse if you leave your overbite to develop and become even more severe in adulthood.
All in all, it’s a good idea to get your overbite fixed when you can. Luckily, there are multiple ways to treat overbites, though braces are by far the best choice for most dental patients.
Braces: The Main Solution to Overbites
While other treatments exist, braces are the most common and effective treatment for solving most overbite problems. When you get braces to fix your overbite:
- An x-ray is taken to figure out what type of overbite you have (i.e. skeletal or dental). The x-rays will also give your orthodontist information about the overbite and how it relates to your jaw and the rest of your teeth
- Next, your dentist prepares the braces and measures them precisely so they will gradually straighten your teeth or pull your jaw back
- Depending on the treatment plan, braces can be attached to the top and lower arches of your teeth and they may even be attached to the bottom rows of teeth to pull your lower jaw forward. It all depends on what your unique treatment plan requires
- When you get braces, the primary arch wire straightens and aligns your teeth
- During the second stage of braces treatment, elastics, which are just rubber bands, are fitted onto the brace brackets from front to back or top to bottom. These help to move your teeth and/or jaw around according to your orthodontist’s plan
- For some braces treatments, the bands must be removed when eating or drinking. But otherwise, the bands are worn at all times so the pressure is ultimately constant
- In the last stage of braces treatment, the braces are removed and the patient uses a retainer or permanent wire to ensure that their teeth stay in the right place
When Should Braces Treatment for Overbite Begin?
Ideally, you’ll want to treat your overbite using braces or any other orthodontic treatment as early as possible. Many orthodontists recommend that kids with overbites get those overbites treated while their jaws are still developing. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- The jawbones and teeth of children are still developing, so they are easier to mold or shape
- Kids braces are often cheaper, usually because it takes less time to correct an overbite
That said, it’s still very possible to get a braces treatment for your overbite if you are a teenager or adult. It’s still good to get that orthodontic treatment done ASAP.
The longer you wait to treat your overbite, the greater the odds that you could see permanent damage to your teeth or jaw, and the longer you’ll have to live with the negative side effects of an overbite overall.
How Long Does it Take for Braces to Fix an Overbite?
That depends on how severe your overbite is and the exact treatment ordered by your orthodontist. Deeper overbites may take quite a long time to fix, especially if the issue is skeletal rather than dental. It may take many months or even many years to fully fix an overbite.
On top of that, many overbites come with additional teeth problems. For example, lots of overbite patients have crooked teeth or overcrowding, so the teeth need to be straightened and pulled into the proper order before the braces can start to work on the broader overbite problem.
In general, severe overbite cases need braces for about two years before the treatment is over. Even afterward, patients may need to wear a retainer to keep their teeth in place for years to come.
However, some braces treatments are much faster, especially those for kids. It’s just one more reason why you should get treatment for your overbite as early as possible. The less time you have to deal with braces, the less time you have to deal with brushing and flossing in between the complex web of wires and bands!
Can Braces Fix an Overbite By Themselves?
Sometimes, but it once again depends on the severity of the overbite and its root cause.
Certain adults that who have a severe skeletal overbite and other jaw problems might need extra treatments aside from braces to correct the issues. In some instances, surgery may be needed to reposition the jawbone. Braces can be used in conjunction with other treatments, like tooth extractions, to straighten teeth and fix an overbite as well.
If this is needed, your orthodontist will refer you to a dentist or an oral surgeon to handle the extractions and other tooth-related procedures. If you get braces as a kid, surgery is much less likely.
Is it Worth Getting Braces to Fix an Overbite?
That’s up to you to decide! For many people, getting braces for a few months or even a year or more is more than worthwhile to fix the problems that an overbite can cause. Even though braces can be a little effort-intensive to live with for a while, having straight, comfortable teeth is more than worthwhile for most people.
If braces don’t seem like the best treatment, your orthodontist might also recommend Invisalign aligners. Invisalign aligners work in essentially the same way as braces, but they are transparent and aren’t as noticeable as regular braces.
However, Invisalign aligners may only be appropriate for mild to moderate overbite issues. If your overbite is very severe, traditional braces might be your only real choice. You should consult your dentist before choosing a treatment type so you can see all your options and pick the treatment that works best for your needs.
All in all, braces can and do fix overbites for millions of Americans each year. While the process is a little different for every person, you can rest assured that a trained orthodontist can set you up with a braces treatment that will straighten your teeth and correct your overbite sooner or later.
However, it’s always a good idea to get your braces treatments sooner so you spend less time with the braces on and can see your winning smile ASAP. You’ll be able to take care of that smile and prevent cavities from cropping up during your braces treatment with products like Dr. Brite’s Sonic Toothbrush: an electric and waterproof tooth cleaning solution that uses sonic vibrations to expertly clean your teeth.
But we also offer a variety of other dental hygiene products that can help you keep your teeth clean during braces and after. Check them out today at our online store!