If you or your child has an overbite, you may be wondering what your options are. Our team at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, offers a range of overbite correction treatments. While finding the right fit for you will require an evaluation, today we’re going to go over some of the ways an overbite can be adjusted.
Does Overbite Correction Require Surgery?
It Depends on the Severity
Overbite correction can be achieved in several ways, but finding the right solution depends on how severe the overbite is. Jaw repositioning surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, can “set” your jaw into a more correct position. It becomes an option after your jaw stops developing, which happens between 14 to 21 years of age, depending on gender and other factors.
While some patients with severe overbites may benefit from surgery, there are several less invasive treatments available for patients who qualify for them.
What Are My Non-Surgical Options?
We Offer Braces
Braces are very effective for overbite correction. Many, if not most patients with overbites can use braces instead of surgery to correct their jaw position. By correcting and directing your teeth, braces can gradually guide your jawline into a more correct position.
During an evaluation, we can help you determine your overbite level and type. We will also see if tooth misalignment is contributing to the problem. If we determine that braces could help correct your jaw alignment, we can move forward with treatment and help you choose the right type of braces for your needs and lifestyle.
Self-ligating braces are made of the same sturdy material you expect from traditional braces, and can even be paired with a range of bracket types. What sets self-ligating braces apart from traditional braces is the convenient self-ligating technology that can be used instead of elastics.
Elastics are used to put gentle pressure on your teeth so they are continually guided into position. Self-ligating braces use a specialized clip instead, which is connected to the archwire. This method tends to put less strain on your teeth and actually requires fewer adjustments when compared to elastics. You won’t have to worry about the elastics getting in the way of brushing your teeth, or of being caught in a constant cycle of replacing your elastics.
Clear or ceramic braces involve brackets that can either be colored to match your teeth or clear so your natural teeth show through them. They are a more discreet option, popular for adult and teenage patients who don’t like the appearance of traditional braces. They can even be paired with self-ligating clips so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. These braces are most commonly used for the top teeth.
Want to avoid braces altogether? Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that can adjust many of the same issues braces can. The acrylic trays are custom-made for each patient, so they comfortably fit over your teeth like a glove. The aligners are clear, so it’s nearly impossible to tell if you’re wearing them. They also allow you to eat your regular diet, since the aligners can be popped in and out as needed.
What Are the Benefits of Overbite Correction?
Balance the Face
Overbites, underbites, and crossbites can all affect the balance of the face. This can cause issues when it comes to muscle strain and tooth wear, but it can also make the face appear asymmetrical, or contribute to the appearance of a small chin. When the jaw is set in its proper place, it tends to bring the whole face into balance, which can improve both practical and aesthetic concerns.
There are many possible causes behind obstructive sleep apnea, and an overbite can be one of them. This condition is caused by the airways getting either partially or completely blocked during sleep. It can cause the patient to stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep.
This lack of oxygen can lead to the patient snoring, or suddenly waking up and needing air. It can also cause more subtle symptoms like headaches in the morning, exhaustion, or waking up with a dry mouth. This condition puts strain on the body, beyond just feeling tired. It can put you at increased risk of high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeats. If an overbite is causing your sleep apnea, treating it can protect your health.
Overbites can cause various types of jaw pain. One of the forms this jaw pain can take is TMJ, also known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. TMJ causes soreness, but it can also make the jaw lock and click, which can make chewing difficult. The soreness caused by TMJ can travel up to the ears or down to the neck.
Correct Open Bite
If there is a gap between your teeth when you close your mouth, that is considered an open bite. An anterior open bite involves the front teeth, and can be caused by the top teeth slanting forward, or an overbite. It can make eating and speaking more difficult. Overbites and open bites can both be caused by “tongue pushing,” especially at a young age.
Patients with open bites are often hesitant to show their teeth for pictures and want to feel more confident about their smiles. The good news is both of these conditions can be improved with braces.
Depending on the severity of the malocclusion, alignment issues like overbites can make both chewing and swallowing more difficult. A properly aligned jaw can work with ease, but when things aren’t aligned properly, it can cause the muscles throughout your jaw to be overworked and strained. This can make even simple daily tasks more challenging.
Overbites and underbites can both interfere with pronunciation. They can make forming “s” sounds particularly difficult, and can contribute to a lisp. If you find yourself struggling to pronounce certain words and it’s affecting your confidence, aligning your jaw may help.
Minimize Wear and Tear
Having a misaligned jaw can put strain on the jaw itself, but that’s not where the issues end. Overbites often cause teeth to wear down unevenly or prematurely. This can cause early enamel loss, which could leave you more susceptible to tooth issues or gum disease. In addition, uneven wearing of the teeth can cause your overbite to get progressively worse over time.
Relax the Mouth
An overbite can make it difficult to cover your teeth with your lips. Teeth are not meant to be exposed to air for too long, as it can lead to enamel erosion. A correctly positioned jaw allows the lips to comfortably rest over the mouth and helps make the lips look more proportional as well.
FAQ About Overbites
1. What Causes an Overbite?
While an overbite could be caused by an injury, for most patients genetics play a significant role. Many patients with overbites formed them very early in life, and as they grew and their teeth developed, it worsened over time. Behaviors like pushing the tongue up against the teeth, prolonged bottle feeding or pacifier use, and nail-biting may also contribute to or worsen the development of an overbite.
2. Are Overbites Always a Problem?
An evaluation is an important aspect of checking the status of your overbite. Mild overbites may not cause any issues. If it’s determined that your condition is likely to get worse, or is bad enough to contribute to current issues, you may want to consider treatment. In general, the more severe the overbite, the more likely it is to negatively impact your life.
3. When Should I Consider Treatment?
Early treatment can make the process faster and easier. If the overbite is addressed as early as possible, it can help save you from a more involved treatment later on. Treatment can also help prevent the issues associated with an overbite.
A professional assessment can help give you insight into the condition of your teeth and whether your overbite could give you problems down the road. Whether you’re considering treatment for comfort or aesthetic reasons, our team would be happy to help you to the best of our ability.
Looking for Personalized Overbite Correction?
It can be helpful to gather information online, but it’s important to seek out a consultation to get personalized advice directly from the source. If you’re wondering whether you’re a good candidate for either Invisalign or braces for overbite correction, we would be happy to meet with you and go through your options. Contact our friendly team at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, today to set up your appointment.