Is an overbite bad?
If you’ve spoken with an orthodontist recently, or perhaps you noticed in the mirror yourself that your teeth do not perfectly line up, you may be looking at a problem called an overbite. You are not alone. According to research, about 15% -20% of the population of the US have an overbite of at least 5 mm (Huang JG et al.,2012). Overbite happens when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth making it so that your teeth are not in perfect alignment with one another.
For some individuals, an overbite is barely noticeable while for others it is quite pronounced. If you are noticing this yourself and are wondering if there’s a problem, simply talking with your orthodontic office or local dental office to get a second opinion can save you a huge amount of time, money, and worry by knowing for sure whether this is a serious issue.
A slight overbite is not usually considered super serious and many individuals do have a slight overbite that causes no aesthetic or oral health problems. However, this can be different with deep overbites which may need proper treatment to make sure that you avoid any serious negative outcomes. A deep overbite is an increased vertical overlap between the upper and lower teeth (Huang JG et al.,2012).
What are some of the overbite causes that may have caused this in the first place?
In some cases it can simply be genetic. Your teeth may simply be predisposed to being into an overbite position; however, this does not necessarily mean that it is still okay and depending on the severity of your personal overbite, it may well still need treatment. There are also other things that we do in life that can also affect our overbite, especially at young ages. Things like sucking on a thumb, sucking a pacifier, or other things during the early years can lead to overbite problems later in life and it’s a good reason to make sure that children do not continue these processes long into toddlerhood. Minimizing any of these things young can help to make sure they do not become bigger issues later.
So what about severe overbites? Is there anything so terrible about overbite problems? The answer is a resounding yes. Severe overbite can lead to a whole host of issues. Failure to make proper contact with the teeth in the case of severe overbites can mean that enamel is worn at a different rate. This can mean that some of your teeth are never getting used while other teeth are being used exclusively. This irregular wear can wear through the enamel coating on your teeth which helps protect your teeth from infection. Your bite surface also allows you a nice hard bite surface for being able to chew, and it is a major issue if the enamel wears incorrectly or is gone entirely.
If your enamel is wearing away due to either bad contact with the teeth or too much overuse in a certain area, this opens up the possibility of things like cavities, different oral diseases, and if left untreated long enough, can even lead to tooth extractions or jaw surgery.
Depending on your individual case, an overbite can also cause a lot of other potential problems. Your overbite may be making contact with the gums or cheeks meaning that if you’re not careful, simply biting or chewing can be hurting your gums or inner cheek. As anybody who has ever bitten their tongue or inner cheek knows, once you bite it once it is not uncommon to do so several more times.
For individuals who have an overbite, these problems can be even more pronounced and left untreated long enough it can again lead to severe medical complications. Irregular usage and irregular wear across the teeth can also lead to pain while eating or biting. In some severe cases even breathing and speaking can be impeded. Speech impediments and breathing troubles are good examples of severe overbite complications. Of course all of this also leads to the fact that a severe overbite can also change the appearance of the face in a way that is considered negative by many individuals.
So in simple terms, a severe overbite can hinder your breathing, interfere with your speaking, damage the inner mouth, damage your teeth, cause pain and discomfort while chewing, cause irregular wear on the enamel, lead to oral diseases or tooth extractions, lead to jaw surgery, and many other major complications and conditions if left untreated. In many cases, it can also make an individual’s smile not very attractive.
However, despite the issues that severe overbites can cause, there are things that can be done to help individuals who have this condition. One thing that you can do if you notice you might have an overbite issue is to simply talk with your local orthodontist. Talking with your orthodontist can help give you a good insight into whether this is severe and needs treatment or whether utilizing something as simple as a retainer for overbite can help make sure that it doesn’t get any worse. There are many ways of treating deep bite malocclusions, and they range from removable appliances to fixed appliances with or without surgery (Huang JG et al.,2012).
Making sure conditions do not deteriorate is an option if you’re just on the borderline. It can also save you significant time and money. However, like with most medicine, it is most effective if you get it done sooner rather than later. If your problems are deteriorating then waiting is the absolute worst thing you can do as that will cause problems to become more severe over time, not less. So take the time to get a free consultation and talk with your orthodontic office about your individual needs, and whether you need or do not need treatment for your overbite.
Huang, G. J., Bates, S. B., Ehlert, A. A., Whiting, D. P., Chen, S. S., & Bollen, A. M. (2012). Stability of deep-bite correction: A systematic review. Journal of the World federation of orthodontists, 1(3), e89–e86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejwf.2012.09.001
As with any dental problems or any necessary health work, it is important to take the advice and recommendation of your health professional. If you’re at the dentist and your dentist has recommended that you get something corrected, such as an underbite or an overbite, or any other dental health problems you may have, it is absolutely essential to take their advice.
This will help you prevent further tooth deterioration or any other complication that may occur as a result. Some people are discouraged from pursuing further treatment because of the cost. It is true that at times the cost of your orthodontic treatment may appear insurmountable, but if you ignore the recommendation for treatment now, and the dental problems you have are not fixed or corrected, that could potentially lead you to more problems that will cost you a lot more in future.
Another reason people avoid going to the orthodontist for their treatment is that they’re afraid of the pain they may feel during their treatment. However, your orthodontist is well trained to provide patients with the appropriate pain-relieving procedure. It is much better to resolve the issue right now and get it over and done with rather than ignoring it and risk it becoming worse.
Furthermore, overbites and underbites can impair or affect other areas of your life such as your ability to enjoy your food, your smile, your self-esteem, and your appearance. You do not have to develop or live with these problems. Your orthodontist is very well equipped to help you resolve these issues.