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Overbite: Causes and Methods of Correction

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

A friendly hello is often followed by a warm smile. You smile to show joy and make those around you feel welcome. But if you have misaligned teeth, you may feel self-conscious about showing your smile. Many adults and children suffer from malocclusion, or teeth misalignment. There are various types of malocclusion including; crossbites, underbites, and overbites. In this article, we will be talking about the causes of an overbite and some overbite correction treatments. So, if you have been thinking about improving your smile here's what you need to know.

What Is Malocclusion?

A malocclusion, commonly referred to as a bad bite, occurs when the upper teeth (maxillary teeth) and the bottom teeth (mandibular teeth) do not fit together properly. This results in misalignment and potential difficulties with biting and chewing foods. There are three descriptions used to describe how well your teeth fit together or align:

Class One Occlusion: This is also known as normal occlusion when your teeth are properly aligned. The maxillary teeth will slightly overlap the mandibular teeth. A Class 1 malocclusion may present with crowding, spacing, or rotated teeth.

Class Two Occlusion: A more severe overlap of the upper teeth in relation to the lower teeth.

Class Three Occlusion: The mandibular teeth project out further than the maxillary teeth, giving a prominent chin's appearance. When the teeth are closed, the maxillary front teeth are behind the mandibular front teeth.

What causes an overbite?

An overbite is a type of malocclusion. This is when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. Slight overbites are common in most people, but some people experience more severe misalignment. So what causes an overbite?

Overbites can be hereditary; however, you may experience an overbite due to your jaw's poor alignment. Certain childhood habits can cause an underdeveloped lower or upper jaw. Habits formed during early childhood like thumb-sucking, prolonged bottle-feeding, or tongue thrusting can result in uneven upper or lower jaw development. Also, habits such as eraser head-chewing or nail-biting can form an overbite too.

Methods Of Correction

There is no age limit for correcting an overbite. However, correction treatments are easier for children as their jaws have not fully developed.

Once you have decided to correct your or your child's teeth, the next step is to speak to your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will examine your mouth and jaw positioning to determine the treatment that best suits your or your child's teeth misalignment. During the consultation, the orthodontist will also take x-rays and teeth impressions. Here are some treatment methods they may recommend:

Dental Braces:

Dental Braces are an excellent option for straightening or fixing teeth misalignment. The type of dental braces your orthodontist may recommend will depend on the extent of your overbite. Similarly, this correction treatment duration will vary; it may range from a year to two years or even longer.

Tooth Extraction:

Although this is not a common treatment procedure, severe overbites might necessitate tooth extraction. Teeth removal for adults enables other teeth to move into place more easily. Your orthodontist may recommend removing baby teeth for children and teens; this creates space to allow adult/permanent teeth to erupt fully in the mouth.


If a misaligned jaw causes your overbite, surgery may be an option that can help to reposition the jaw and improve misaligned teeth.

Misaligned or crooked teeth can affect your self-confidence. Luckily, there are many corrective treatments available that can help you or your child improve your smile. Depending on the severity of your malocclusion, your orthodontist may recommend braces, teeth extraction, or surgery. There is no age limit for overbite treatment, so talk to your orthodontist to determine how you can fix your bite.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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