An overbite happens when the upper teeth protrude over or overlap the lower teeth. There are several reasons why an overbite occurs, but in most cases, it is determined by the shape and size of the jaw or teeth.
Depending on the size of the jaw, an overbite can cause overcrowding of teeth or gaps between them. Overbite can be caused by thumb sucking and extended pacifier or bottle use in infancy, which causes the tongue to push against the back of the teeth.
Other repetitive habits in teens or adults can aggravate an overbite, including nail-biting or chewing on hard objects such as a pencil.
Can You Leave an Overbite Untreated?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), approximately 70-percent of children present signs of having an overbite. This dental condition can also be caused by genetic factors, bruxism – or the grinding and clenching of teeth, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD or TMJ).
When left untreated, an overbite can cause problems later in life, such as the misalignment of the jaw and damage to teeth from excessive wear and tear. Not treating an overbite could also cause TMD among other things, including:
Wear and tear of the enamel
Problems opening and closing the mouth
Alterations to the facial structure
An overbite can be treated early on in adolescence or childhood using braces to correct the bite. With a full set of X-rays, our orthodontist will write up a treatment plan that could last several years, depending on your unique situation. If there are other oral health problems, these could extend the treatment. The best time to correct any overbite problems is during childhood when the patient is still developing.
Adults with overbite problems need to be regularly seen to detect any underlying issues that could become more serious in the future. We can answer all your questions about the need to correct your overbite.
(423) 624-8217 1612 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 100 Chattanooga, TN37421
(423) 624-8217 1229 Taft Highway Signal Mountain, TN37377