What is an Overbite?

An overbite refers to a large horizontal overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth.

If your finger can fit between the upper and lower front teeth, it is more than likely you have an overbite. With a large overbite, the front teeth appear to stick out as it is difficult to close the lips naturally.

An overbite may also be referred to as a jaw overbite. This is often due to a smaller lower jaw. The jaw problems are best to be managed early while your child is growing, for this is the time the jaw growth can be easily redirected, resulting a healthier teeth, a more balanced bite and facial harmony.

Why does an overbite need to be corrected?

  • The upper front teeth are more prone to being chipped or knocked during play or sports. Wear of a mouthguard is essential during all kinds of contact sports.
  • Permanent wear of the gums behind the upper front teeth and the lower front teeth.
  • Abnormal permanent wear of the upper and lower front teeth edges due to heavy bite pressure on the corners of certain front teeth.
  • Long term breathing through the mouth from large overbites can make the gums more inflamed and gingivitis more likely if not brushed well.

What are the treatment options?

  • In a child, options for treatment are a jaw guidance appliance(usually called twin blocks)or waiting till more adult teeth are through.
  • In an early to mid teen, a jaw guidance appliance may still be successful to correct smaller lower jaws, although the larger the overbite, the better it is to be treated earlier. If the overbite is caused by protruded upper teeth instead, braces, Invisalign or other clear aligners would be used to straighten the teeth.
  • In a late teen,  braces, Invisalign or other clear aligners would be used to straighten the teeth.
  • In an adult,  braces, Invisalign  or other clear aligners, or hidden braces would be used to straighten the teeth.

If a child requires treatment for an overbite, the best time to begin treatment is often made after a discussion with you and your child’s needs, concerns, and enthusiasm towards any orthodontic appliance.

Large overbites are best treated early before the eruption of all the adult teeth; typically for boys, this is often younger than 13 years and younger than 11 years for girls.

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