Despite having a generally negative connotation, most overbites aren’t necessarily a major problem. An experienced dentist at your local dental clinic in Toronto should be able to advise you in regards to the degree of your overbite and whether it needs to be corrected right away. The severity of overbites is usually determined on a case-by-case basis because most overbites are actually normal. However, if you’re experiencing unusual pain, discomfort, difficulty speaking or chewing, or a clicking in your jaw then it’s time to get a professional dental opinion on the matter.
What Is an Overbite?
Before any surgical or nonsurgical treatments can be implemented, you need to have a clear understanding of what exactly an overbite is and whether you have one that needs to be corrected. Simply put, an overbite is a type of jaw or teeth misalignment in which the upper teeth are propelled forward and significantly overlap the bottom teeth.
When it comes to normal jaw structure, everyone should have at least a slight overbite where the upper teeth protrude over the bottom teeth by about one to two millimetres. If the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth by four millimetres or more, that’s when the condition can become problematic and it’s time to seek overbite correction either with or without surgery. In essence, overbites aren’t always a bad thing depending on the degree to which they exist.
Types of Overbites
Not all overbites are exactly the same even though many of them share similar characteristics. There are several types of overbites that dental patients should know about: horizontal overbites, vertical overbites, dental overbites, and skeletal overbites. All of these types of overbites have varying degrees of severity, and in some cases, you might even need to see a specialist to have them corrected.
A horizontal overbite, also known as overjet, is characterized by the defined way the upper teeth jut over the bottom teeth and point outward. The pressure from the upper teeth typically forces the bottom teeth to gradually shift further back into the mouth, which worsens the condition. This is a result of habitual use of your teeth for speaking, chewing, and even the grinding of teeth.
Vertical overbites, on the other hand, occur when the upper incisors—the front teeth—drastically overlap and protrude straight over the lower incisors—the front bottom teeth.
Commonly referred to as “buckteeth,” dental overbites are highly repairable with orthodontic care as they’re mostly identified by abnormal spacing in the upper teeth, causing them to excessively overhang above the bottom teeth.
In contrast, skeletal overbites have more to do with a misalignment in the jaw rather than in the teeth themselves. Typically, the lower part of the jaw is positioned further back in the mouth than it should be, and this causes the upper teeth to protrude over the bottom teeth. Incidentally, the bottom teeth are pushed further back into the mouth with regular use.
Causes of Teeth Overbites
Several factors contribute to the formation of minor or severe overbites. Most notably, when the upper jaw develops at a much more advanced rate than the lower jaw, it tends to hang much further forward in the mouth than it should. Over time, as you use your jaw for various activities, the upper teeth continue to overextend forward as the lower teeth are pushed further and further back into the mouth.
Overbites can be due to hereditary misfortune, childhood bad habits such as thumb sucking, overuse of pacifiers and baby bottles, and nervous habits such as nail biting. All of these components combined or on their own disrupt the development and configuration of the jaw and teeth. The pressure from each of these activities forces the front teeth to move further toward the front of the mouth while the bottom teeth are shifted toward the back.
How to Fix an Overbite: Treatment Options
No matter how severe your condition might be, there are plenty of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options available to correct your overbite. Some patients might prefer overbite teeth correction without surgery while others might opt for the surgical option. Either way, overbite correction cosmetic dentistry is equally as effective as the nonsurgical treatments. Several different treatment options are listed below, each of which would be specifically formulated to suit each individual patient.
Invisalign is a teeth straightening method that’s a good alternative to braces. It can be specially formulated for adults and children alike. Rather than placing big, bulky, and sometimes uncomfortable braces on your teeth to correct your overbite, your dentist simply needs to take a mould of your jaw structure and send it to a lab. The lab will use that mould of your jaw to construct plastic trays to place over your teeth and straighten them out.
You’ll need to go in for a check-up at usually every four weeks and have the Invisalign trays replaced as your teeth shift into their desired position over time. The aligners are removable so that you can brush your teeth and clean the inside of the trays thoroughly before putting them back on. No one will ever know that you’re wearing Invisalign because they’re completely undetectable to most people.
There are numerous types of dental appliances such as braces, biteplates, and retainers that can help to treat and correct overbites. These options require more care on the part of the patient because you have to make sure you thoroughly clean these devices every day and, in some cases, you might even have to avoid eating certain foods so they don’t get stuck and damage the appliances.
Jaw repositioning surgery is perhaps the quickest and most efficient overbite treatment option for adults. The only setback is that it can only be applied to cases of skeletal overbites caused by a misaligned jaw. Children generally aren’t eligible for this procedure because their jaws are still in a developing phase and are much easier to manipulate using less invasive methods. This surgery should only be reserved for the most severe overbite cases under professional supervision.
Overbite Correction Cosmetic Dentistry in Toronto
Princeview Dental Group has been a dental clinic located in the heart of The Kingsway community in Toronto for over 20 years. We cater to patients with a wide range of dental requirements, from teeth cleanings and dental check-ups to overbite and underbite treatments, our dental professionals are always ready to help our patients improve the look of their smiles and restore their confidence in their appearances.
We’ll take the time to explain each dental issue and its corresponding recommended procedure so that you completely understand everything that’s required of you. If you have any questions or would like to book a consultation with us, please call us at (416) 231-4562.