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Overbite vs. Overjet (and How We Fix Them)

Dec 18, 2023
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Your smile is often considered your best accessory, so dental issues can impact your oral health and confidence. Overbite and overjet are common misalignments that can lead to various dental problems. We can help.

Maintaining good oral health goes beyond a dazzling smile – it's about addressing underlying issues to prevent potential complications that can affect your overall well-being.

The team at Beaufils Dental in Cooper City, Florida, offers smile-worthy solutions for a range of dental issues, including overbite and overjet. Check these facts from our team regarding the differences and treatments available for these common bite conditions.

Defining overbite and overjet

Overbite and overjet are common terms often used interchangeably. However, they refer to distinct dental conditions that require different treatment approaches.

Overbite

Typically, when you bite down, the upper front teeth slightly cover the edges of the lower teeth.

An overbite or deep bite occurs when the upper front teeth cover more than a third of the lower teeth. Sometimes, the overlap is excessive enough that the lower teeth touch the roof of the mouth or upper gum line when you bite down.

Overjet

If you have an overjet (sometimes called buck teeth), the upper front teeth protrude beyond the lower front teeth at an angle. Overjet is often mistakenly referred to as an overbite. However, while both are a type of malocclusion, the conditions are different.

For instance, if you have an overbite, the upper teeth are vertically straight, while an overjet causes the upper teeth to slant outward. Of the two, an overjet is the most common condition.

Dental problems related to overbite and overjet

Issues related to these conditions can include:

Tooth wear and erosion

Overbites can lead to increased wear and erosion of the teeth, especially the front ones. The constant rubbing of upper and lower teeth can wear down the enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.

Gum irritation and recession

Both conditions can cause irritation and recession of the gums. Receding gums expose the tooth roots, leading to increased sensitivity and a higher risk of decay.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues

Misalignment of teeth (malocclusion) can contribute to problems with the temporomandibular joint, causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty in jaw movement. TMJ issues may lead to headaches, facial pain, and even difficulty in chewing.

Speech impairment

Severe malocclusion can affect speech patterns and articulation, leading to communication challenges.

Increased risk of trauma

Significant overjet exposes the upper front teeth, making them more susceptible to trauma in accidents or injury. That increases the risk of chipped or broken teeth.

Oral hygiene effects

Malocclusion creates challenges in maintaining proper oral hygiene, making it more difficult to clean teeth effectively when brushing or flossing. Poor oral hygiene results in cavities and gum disease.

Aesthetic concerns

Malocclusions like overjet or overbite can affect the aesthetic appearance of your smile, leading to self-esteem and confidence issues.

Treating overbite and overjet

Your treatment at Beaufils Dental starts with a thorough evaluation to identify the underlying cause of the malocclusion, which may rate from mild to severe.

Therapies include:

Braces

Traditional braces are a common and effective method for correcting malocclusion. Braces apply continuous pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position. Over time, that helps align the upper and lower teeth, reducing the overbite.

Invisalign®

For individuals who prefer a more discreet option, Invisalign offers a clear and removable alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign uses a series of custom-made aligners to gradually shift the teeth into the correct position, effectively addressing overbites.

Orthodontic appliances

In some cases, orthodontic appliances may be recommended to correct the problem. These appliances work by guiding the jaw into a more optimal position.

Functional appliances, such as headgear or Forsus springs, sometimes correct overjet by influencing jaw growth in younger patients. These appliances help bring the upper and lower jaws into better alignment, ultimately reducing the protrusion of the upper front teeth.

Surgical intervention

In severe cases, especially when skeletal issues are involved, orthognathic surgery may be recommended to reposition the upper or lower jaw and correct the problem.

It’s never too late to resolve an issue like overbite or overjet. However, as with many other dental problems, early diagnosis and treatment can offer a more straightforward solution.

Schedule an evaluation today by calling the Beaufils Dental office or requesting an appointment online.