An overbite is when the top front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth, but this isn’t an irreversible condition. It’s easily treatable with help from an experienced orthodontist. Though it’s best to get this alignment corrected in childhood, adults with overbites are candidates for orthodontics too.
Causes of an Overbite
Overbites can occur for several reasons:
- Genetics: If someone in your family has an overbite, your little one could be born with one too. Their lower jaw hasn’t quite caught up to their top teeth. While it may develop naturally on its own as they age, they may still need orthodontic intervention to give it that last little boost into complete alignment.
- Thumb sucking: Though thumb-sucking may be a major source of comfort for babies and toddlers, it can become a serious liability for dental development, leading to all sorts of bite problems.
- Pacifier use: This comfort measure may be something that kids love and parents hate, but both depend on for peace in their home. Unfortunately, overuse of a pacifier, especially beyond age 3, can contribute to bite problems.
Orthodontics for Correcting Overbites
It is best to address an overbite when a child is young and their mouth and teeth are still growing. This will make any movements far easier to achieve. Interceptive orthodontics for kids is often where overbite repair begins, as step one in a two-step process, though sometimes certain methods are combined with conventional braces treatment.
- Herbst appliance: The application of a Herbst appliance immediately moves the lower jaw forward into alignment with the upper jaw. The appliance is compact and fits discreetly inside the cheeks. To get the jaws to stay in these positions permanently, the appliance must be worn for about a year.
- Braces: For less severe overbites, braces alone may be enough to slowly pull the jaw into the correct position. Treatment is customized to the patient no matter what kind of malocclusion they have, and it takes about two years to completely correct the overbite. Severe overbites require more time.
- Invisalign: Not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign, but your Woodinville orthodontist will conduct an exam to determine the severity of your overbite and decide whether this treatment can help you get the straight smile you’ve always wanted. Fixing an overbite with clear trays will take a little longer than usual, but the result will be a straight, beautiful smile.
Why It’s Important to Fix an Overbite
Overbites may look cute in little kids, their front teeth sticking out just a little more than the rest – they may even have a few adorable speech impediments. However, they won’t be kids forever, and no one wants to live with a noticeable overbite that affects how they look and talk when they’re a teenager or working adult.
Plus, left untreated, a severe overbite can worsen over time, expanding the space between the upper and lower front teeth. This can cause tissue damage, excessive wear on the lower teeth, and, in the most severe cases, tooth loss.
Does your child have an overbite? Do you? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Soleil and her team at Soleil Orthodontics to learn more.