Overbites and underbites are malocclusions that can cause numerous dental problems if left untreated. If you or your child has one of these common bite issues, read on to learn how our team can help.
Your top and bottom rows of teeth should touch when your mouth is shut, with your top teeth resting slightly in front of your bottom teeth. An overbite occurs when the top teeth protrude too far forward, while an underbite is when the bottom teeth jut out past the top teeth. These conditions are often genetically inherited, but they can also be the result of habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, and tongue thrusting at a young age.
Overbites and underbites are not just aesthetic issues. When your jaw and teeth are not properly aligned, the force of biting and chewing can cause uneven wear and tear on your teeth, especially the back teeth, which can eventually cause them to chip or crack. Your jaw will also feel the effects of this uneven distribution of pressure, and you could develop TMJ disorder and chronic jaw pain. Additionally, underbites and overbites can also cause speech problems, difficulty chewing, and oral hygiene issues.
Overbites and underbites can often be corrected through orthodontics rather than surgery, especially in children. Headgear, palate expanders, braces, and clear aligners are all possible treatment options for correcting bite issues like overbites and underbites. These orthodontic appliances are designed to force the jaw and teeth into proper alignment. A retainer might also be necessary after braces are removed or the use of clear aligners is discontinued, as a retainer prevents the teeth from reverting into the previous, misaligned position.
If overcrowding is contributing to an overbite or underbite, extracting one or more teeth could help fix the issue. In severe cases, surgery could be necessary to correct an overbite or underbite, but we try to intervene with orthodontics first.
To learn more, call our office today.