What is an overbite?
People often ask us how do we do overbite correction in adults. This is one of the questions that have multiple answers. Honestly, it seems like people will always go to dentists. Teeth appear to be so complex and hard to look after. Even if we clean them twice a day and see the dentist regularly, they can still give us a lot of trouble seemingly out of nowhere. Adult overbite is a different issue, though. Most people want to get rid of it because it just doesn’t look nice, but in reality, it can cause several various health issues. The same goes for underbite.
Overbite occurs when our upper teeth stick too far out, farther than our lower teeth. Simply put, when the upper set of teeth overlaps the lower one, it’s a sign of overbite. Underbite, in its’ turn, is the same, the difference is that this time the lower set of teeth sticks too far out.
Before we get to overbite and underbite treatment in adults, let’s see what can lead to us having one of these health conditions.
Causes Most of the time overbite or underbite develops in childhood. One of the causes is genetics, which means it can be hereditary. We can’t do anything to stop it, but we can fix it. Speaking about childhood, some of our childhood habits can directly cause overbite or underbite. E.g. thumb sucking, pacifier and bottle overuse (especially when the child is past infant years), pushing on teeth with the tongue, etc. Grinding nails and chewing on pens and pencils, which are the habits many teens carry into their adult life, can also cause adult overbite.
It is also very important to see a dentist regularly, especially when you lose a tooth. It can cause overbite as well as underbite if you leave this issue unattended for too long. Correcting an underbite in adults is a very long process, and it’s important to go to regular check-ups with your dentist. Another cause can be TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This is a health condition connected with jaw muscles. This one requires special treatment.
Last but not least cause is an injury. While a broken jawbone is a serious issue, it can be repaired and taken care of. It’s just that sometimes jawbones don’t align properly and don’t grow together too well after the surgery.
So, to wrap up everything we said, the most common causes of overbite and underbite are:
- Childhood habits;
- Not repairing a smile in time after losing a tooth or two;
- Jaw injury;
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).
How to get rid of overbite or underbite
There are various ways to__ treat overbite in adults__. The most common one is the dental braces. It may come as a shock, but braces can actually be used as a treatment for overbite and underbite in adults. Orthodontists do it in three simple, but time-consuming steps:
- Braces are attached to the teeth to straighten them. This is the same as if we tried to fix misalignment. There are also special adult braces for overbite and you can go with them if your orthodontist suggests them a better option. When your smile is perfectly fine, we move on to step number two;
- Elastic bands are applied to the braces to move the jaw back into the correct position. Due to constant pressure, the jaw moves back where we need it to be, however, these elastic bands need to be taken off every time you eat, drink, or brush your teeth. This is very important. Also, you need to not forget to fit the bands back on;
- When your jaw is back in place, the orthodontist applies a retainer to your teeth. This is done to keep your jaw in this position. If you opt for this option, keep in mind that these steps can take two years and even more, if the case is serious.
There’s a good alternative for people who are afraid of braces or don’t want to wear braces because they really strike the eye - Invisalign. This is an overbite treatment for adults who don’t want braces to alter their looks. This treatment uses a series of clear trays that are used to mold the teeth back into their intended position. The patient changes trays as their orthodontist suggests until the overbite is gone.
Many people might be afraid of this next bite correction option, but sometimes it’s necessary. We’re speaking about surgery. Some cases of overbite call for surgical attention. Usually, it’s when the jaw has been misaligned. The same goes for adult underbite correction. Surgeons can extend or reduce either jaw to reshape the way your smile looks. Surgery, however, comes with all the risks of this operation: you need to not be allergic to anesthesia and you have to abide by all the orthodontist’s advice to avert infection.
Fixing an overbite in adults may be as easy as extracting one single tooth. It is usually done when your teeth are overcrowded. Removing one or more teeth can result in all the other teeth going back into their intended position and thus making your smile better, removing slight overbite.
Let’s sum up all the possible options of overbite and underbite treatment for adults:
- Dental braces: done in three steps;
- Invisalign: for people who don’t want braces to alter their look;
- Surgery: seen as a “last resort option” may be required in some cases;
- Tooth extraction: conducted when the teeth are jammed and interfere with each other’s growth.
Why does it need to be taken care of?
We can say that serious cases of overbite and underbite influence your appearance a lot. It doesn’t look healthy at all. However, that’s not it. If left untreated, it may lead to a number of health complaints. Some of them are not pleasant at all and show that correcting overbite and underbite in adults is necessary. A person with overbite or underbite can have speech difficulties, toothache and jaw pain, tooth decay, headaches, difficulties opening and closing the mouth. If your upper and lower teeth don’t match, it can also lead to cuts in your mouth while you eat, which can become a starting point for infections.
Both overbite and underbite can cause these issues. As we can see, adult overbite treatment is vital if it hasn’t been done before. An underbite is a much less common issue, but correcting it is necessary. Luckily, orthodontics offers a variety of options of treatment for underbite in adults nowadays.