IT IS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION to think that orthodontic treatment is simply for aesthetic purposes. In reality, having crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can have lasting effects on your oral health.
So, what if you have an overbite? Fixing your overbite, or any kind of malocclusion for that matter, will not only beautify your smile, but it will also prevent dental problems in the future!
What Is An Overbite?
An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the lower and upper jaws are not aligned, causing the upper teeth to cover the lower teeth. Most often an overbite is hereditary, but it can also be caused by the jaw not forming correctly. Childhood tendencies such as thumb-sucking or prolonged bottle-feeding or pacifier use can cause or worsen an overbite.
Why Is Correcting An Overbite Important?
Fixing an overbite may simply be a matter of wanting to improve the appearance of your smile, but it’s important to remember that an uncorrected overbite can cause a wide range of health and dental problems. Some of these include:
- Gum damage. In a severe overbite, the lower front teeth can contact the gum line in the back of the upper front teeth, while the upper front teeth may strike the gum line of the lower front teeth, resulting in gum recession. Damaged gums can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
- Difficulty speaking and chewing. Overbites can make speech difficult, resulting in speech impediments or overcompensation to articulate certain words. Overbites can also complicate proper chewing.
- Tooth wear and damage. The teeth often rest and hit each other in odd places when the jaw is misaligned, causing enamel wear, tooth decay and even tooth loss.
- Sleep apnea. People with overbites and a small mouth have a higher likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
- Jaw pain. A misaligned jaw can result in chronic jaw pain and headaches and may contribute to the development of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).
What Treatments Are Available?
After an examination, your orthodontist can diagnose the severity of the overbite and suggest the best method of correction. For most people, that is orthodontic treatment. Not only will orthodontic treatment fix your bite, it will also straighten your teeth and beautify your smile. In rare occurrences where an overbite is due to a malformed jaw, surgery may be required.