An overbite, also known as a malocclusion or an overjet, is when the lower jaw is not properly aligned with the upper jaw, causing the upper teeth to cover the lower teeth. This common condition is often hereditary, though it can also be caused by poor chewing habits or trauma.
It is a misconception that overbites are only an aesthetic problem. Although the main concern of many people who suffer from an overbite is their physical appearance, overbites can cause a wide range of health problems and dental problems, including:
- Jaw pain. When the upper and lower jaw are not properly aligned, the result can be chronic pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and TMJ pain disorder. These problems can become worse when the patient eats or otherwise uses his or her jaw.
- Tooth health issues. A misaligned jaw results in the teeth striking each other in odd places and resting in odd places. Over a number of years, this can cause damaged enamel, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
- Gum health issues. In the same way that overbites can damage teeth, they can also damage gums, especially if the lower front teeth strike the gum line of the back of the upper front teeth. Damaged gums can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
- Speech issues. People with severe overbites may have difficulty articulating their words and may struggle with speech impediments.
- Sleep apnea. Studies have shown that some people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) benefit from jaw surgery that moves their lower jaw forward and widens their airway. Patients with overbites and small mouth may have trouble breathing at night and getting a good night’s rest.
- Low self-esteem. Severe overbites may make the jaw look weak and harm the symmetry of the face. Both men and women may find that their overbite makes them self-conscious of their appearance and less confident in social situations.
Overbite Treatments & Solutions
Before treating an overbite, it is crucial to understand whether the overbite is dental or skeletal. Mild dental overbites can be corrected with the help of orthodontics. Severe overbites that are skeletal in nature may need to be fixed with corrective jaw surgery, which moves the lower jaw forward to align with the upper jaw. While many people choose to live with their overbites, those with severe overbites or those with health problems related to their overbites may choose to correct their bite with professional help.
Corrective Jaw Surgery for Overbites at the Surgical Arts Centre
At the Surgical Arts Center, our oral and maxillofacial surgeons can help you understand your overbite, including how severe it is, what is causing it, and how it is affecting your overall health. We can also help you understand your best options for treatment. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of patients correct their overbite through corrective jaw surgery. These patients have not only eliminated their overbite and the related health problems, but also improved their confidence and self-esteem.
To learn more about your overbite treatment options, or to schedule a consultation with a doctor, please call (406) 549-6600.