Tips On Overbite After Braces | Normal vs Not Normal
You might have been told by your dentist to go see an orthodontist about an overbite or an overjet. It is not common but also not unheard of to either still have a slight overbite when you get your braces off or to have one return a few years later. Depending on the amount of the overbite after braces you can choose to not deal with it and keep the overbite, or you can choose to get braces again and correct the overbite. Let’s learn a bit more about overbites.
What to know about braces before and after overbite
An overbite is not the same thing as an overjet. An overjet is when all of your upper teeth are too far ahead of the lower ones. An overbite happens when the upper teeth are on the outside of the lower ones, hiding the lower teeth. Overbites in people who have jaw alignment issues can also lead to TMJ (the hinge for your lower jaw) discomfort, jaw pain, and headaches. If you have a significant overbite after braces, you can even look like your chin is receding so the shape of your face is unbalanced.
Overbites are sometimes genetic, but it can also be caused by children thumb sucking or using a pacifier once the teeth have grown in. For teenagers, chewing on pen caps or pencils can aggravate an overbite as well. These habits push the front teeth out and the bottom teeth back. Nearly 70% of kids who have dental issues have an overbite.
There are two types of overbites. Vertical overbites are when the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth. Horizontal overbites are mostly for the upper front teeth when they stick out over the bottom teeth. These result from a number of issues. It is possible to have both vertical and horizontal overbites at the same time. You can also have an overbite if you have some missing teeth on the bottom jaw and the remaining teeth have drifted backwards.
Skeletal overbites are when the upper jaw is too large or the lower jaw is too small and it makes the top teeth and bottom teeth not line up correctly. Dental overbites are when just the teeth cause the overbite. These two types have very different treatment options.
Some really severe overbites after braces may need to be treated by surgery to correct the jaw problems, particularly skeletal overbites. Kids’ jaws can often be fixed by palate expanders or other appliances avoiding jaw surgery, but once the jawbone is set, there are fewer options.
Other overbites after braces may need to be corrected in conjunction with tooth extraction. Once the teeth are pulled, there is now more room for the front teeth to be pulled back into place. This usually happens when the teeth are crowded or if the upper jaw is too small.
If you don’t get your overbite problem fixed, it can even affect your speech. Overbites can lead to lisps because the tongue doesn’t connect with the teeth correctly. Not correcting an overbite means your adult teeth will wear improperly and they could weaken or break. And it may make cleaning your gums and teeth more difficult.
Overbites can also make it hard to close your mouth completely, so you end up breathing through your mouth, and that can lead to dry mouth and bad breath. It might even mean that your upper jawbone will actually become deformed.
Sometimes overbites can get worse during orthodontic treatment because as the teeth move, they can start to create gaps or other mismatches. Even though the teeth were not aligned properly before you got braces, they were in the bones and set, and now they are moving, but not all at the same time. They will adjust over time and they will also settle into a new position, so don’t panic! Wearing braces is a process, and things work in stages. If you have any questions, ask your orthodontist. He or she will be happy to answer them for you.
Noticing a slight overbite after braces
One thing to note is that a healthy bite actually has a slight overbite component to it. This usually is between 1-2 mm where the top and bottom teeth don’t match exactly.
Sometimes when you get the braces off, you still have a slight overbite because the alternative is invasive and expensive jaw surgery. Braces and elastics have limits of what they can correct, although modern technologies have made it possible for more to be done without surgery. Still, surgery might be the only solution for some people but realize that the recovery time is going to be several weeks, because your jaw will need time to heal before you can get your braces on. It does help make major alignment changes right away and it might take care of your overbite entirely. Surgery is also the most expensive treatment option, so for many people it is not even considered.
Also, after you get the braces off, you might have some teeth move back into their original positions, a situation called regression, so you might still have overbite after braces.
Having overbite after braces later in life
You might wonder, “can overbite come back after braces?” It happens sometimes if you get braces too young without a follow up treatment that your overbite will return. This is not due to the teeth moving but rather the jaw finishing growing into its final adult size.
Now, if you weren’t diligent about wearing your retainer once the braces came off, your teeth will certainly drift. The jaw is actually not a dense bone, but it’s rather more like a matrix, and your teeth are anchored by ligaments. If you have just gotten your braces off, the matrix has not yet finished setting around your teeth and those ligaments will try to contract again, so that ends up making your teeth drift back to where they were before you got braces.
You might be able to get a new retainer to help bring the teeth back into their proper alignment if it hasn’t been too long and the teeth haven’t drifted too far.
If you choose to get them fixed, you will have X-rays taken of your teeth to see how significant your overbite is and also what condition your jaw and teeth are in. Consulting with your orthodontist is important for treatment planning. He or she might even recommend that you don’t need to have braces before and after overbite, because your overbite after braces is not that significant. You might also not have good bone density in your jaw to make braces work correctly. If your orthodontist decides that you are a good candidate, he or she will make an impression of your teeth to use to make a plaster cast. That cast is what will be used to create the braces plan or to craft the clear aligners with.
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How to fix an overbite after braces
You may find that the best way to fix overbite after braces is to get braces again. You can choose from metal braces, clear or ceramic braces, lingual braces, or self-ligating braces. Metal braces are the ones you typically think of, and they are also the least expensive option. Clear braces are nearly invisible as the ceramic is the same color as your teeth so all you will see is the wire, which is still metal as metal is the only thing strong enough to make the bite alignments that are necessary.
Lingual braces are affixed to the back of the teeth so they really are essentially invisible to anyone else. They are more expensive and they can lead to more relearning time in terms of talking since the brackets are immediately there next to the tongue. They can also be a little tricky to keep clean because they are on the backs of the teeth.
Self-ligating braces are metal or ceramic ones affixed to the front of the teeth but they have little tiny hinged pieces that hold the wire in place instead of the tiny rubber bands that are used in the other kinds.
Another option and one that is popular among adults is clear aligners. They are trays that are custom fit to your unique teeth and jaw alignment that you wear for anywhere from 20-22 hours a day and then trade in for new ones every couple of weeks. Best of all, they can be removed to eat or brush your teeth, or if you need to make a big presentation. Just be sure to put them back in when you are done so that they can do their best work. If you don’t leave them in for at least 20 hours a day, they will take a lot longer to work their magic. There are now small elastics that can be attached to clear aligners and that can help correct some more significant bite issues.
Usually treatment means either pulling the upper teeth back or the lower teeth forward, or a combination of the two. Regardless of your age, this treatment will usually take two years to complete.
Then, once you get your braces off or you are done with your clear aligners, you will want to be sure to wear your retainer diligently! Your retainer will help make sure that all that hard work stays worth it. At least for the first six months, you will need to wear a retainer all the time. Then don’t decide on your own to stop wearing them! If you are wearing before after braces overbite as a grown-up, you might actually have to wear your retainer at least at night for the rest of your life.
Alternatively, there are fixed retainers which are thin metal strips that are attached to the back of the teeth and stay there so that the teeth can stay in place. Your orthodontist will help guide you with what will be best for your particular situation.
There are some other appliances your orthodontist might consider. Jaw expanders work by being placed onto your upper palate and help to widen the upper jaw. This can help create more room for the front teeth to come back into. If the upper jaw is too narrow, the front teeth have nowhere else to go except forward.
Then there is the Herbst appliance which helps anchor the jaws in place so they can be adjusted into their proper positions and not have the overlap. Headgear is another appliance used for overbite correction. It anchors into small tubes on the brackets on the back molars and is generally worn overnight to help guide the upper jaw and teeth back into place.
Sometimes you can correct dental issues without braces by getting veneers. They help build up the surface of thin or worn teeth with porcelain or other similar materials. Veneers can also be used to help resurface other dental issues and give you a bite that is healthier.
As an adult getting braces to fix a slight overbite after braces, you will want to look for an orthodontist who has a great chair side manner and an office that is willing to answer your questions and help you with the claims. They should also have braces before and after pictures overbite for you to look at so you can see the success stories they have had and so you can get an idea of what is in store for you.
Summing it up
If you have an overbite after braces and you want to get it corrected, ask your orthodontist for his or her opinion and what the recommendation is to fix your bite. You will be so glad you consulted an expert on how to fix an overbite after braces, took charge of your smile, and got the treatment done. Having teeth that are lined up correctly will mean an easier time chewing and speaking, and also a boost to your self-esteem.
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