by Dr. Nathan
Half of the patients who come into our Thrive Dental offices want to fix their overbite. I love talking about this subject because it is so widespread, but there are a ton of misconceptions when it comes to overbites. Let me explain what exactly an overbite is and how we can fix it.
What is an overbite?
An overbite is when your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth too much. An overbite IS NOT A BAD THING. Actually, if you do not have an overbite, you have a bad bite. You might be thinking, “Ok, Dr. Nate has lost his mind!” but it’s true. Everyone with a great smile has an overbite. You want a couple of millimeters of overlap, but it can cause issues if it’s too little or too much.
What the difference between an overbite and an overjet?
An overbite is when your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth too much, but an overjet is when your top teeth STICK OUT toot much. It’s hard to explain without visual, but basically, an overbite is a vertical issue, and an overjet is a horizontal issue. Check my Youtube video in case your eyes are starting to glaze over right about now.
What’s the problem with a significant overbite (deep bite)?
If you have a deep bite, you will have too much force on your front teeth when you move your teeth in specific directions. Our front teeth are not meant to hit too hard. Our back molar teeth are meant to take most of the force of eating.
If your teeth overlap too much, you will eventually grind down your front teeth until they are small little nubs. That’s why you see some older adults with tiny front teeth and eventually need dentures. Typically their bite was an issue that never got fixed.
How do you fix an overbite?
The best way to fix an overbite is with metal or clear braces, but that’s not the only way. Sometimes a dentist can fix it with a full mouth rehabilitation. This involves multiple crowns, implants, partial dentures, etc., to open up your bite.
Full mouth rehabilitation
If you are going to try this route, be sure to work with a dentist that has done this multiple times before because the consequences of doing it wrong can be devastating.
You may have near-permanent TMJ issues, and it will also cost you a fortune. If doing this, it’s probably best to work with a prosthodontist specializing in these types of restorations.
If you have an overbite and you are still in your teens, this is the easiest time to correct it. This can almost always be corrected with just routine braces.
Regular metal braces
If you are young enough, you can fix your overbite with just braces. The benefit of this is that you do not need any other restorations or anything special.
We are not changing your teeth’ vertical dimension, and we are working with your natural bite. This is way easier than a full mouth rehabilitation, and I deal with these all the time. Some appliances may help us fix an intense bite.
Dental bite plate
Sometimes I use an anterior bite plate to fix deep bites. This is something we glue in with braces that adds a little force to your front teeth. This gradual force pushes on your teeth to help open your bite.
I had something similar to this when I had braces, and it was tough for the first week or so. Like braces, you get used to having something in your mouth pushing on your teeth, and then it just becomes a part of your daily life.
There is a lot of information about overbites out there. An overbite is when your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth too much. This is different than an overjet, which is when your top teeth stick out too much. The easiest way to fix an overbite is with metal or clear braces, yet it may also be fixed with a full mouth of crowns (which sounds harder to me!).
Do you have an overbite or know someone that has? How did you fix it, or do you still have it?