The overall health of your mouth, teeth, and gums is imperative, but you should also pay attention to your smile's appearance. While a healthy smile is necessary for eating and speaking, an attractive smile can boost your self-esteem and confidence. Unfortunately, minor imperfections of your bite affect both your comfort level and your appearance. Crossbites, underbites, and overbites may have similar causes, but they all require professional treatment. Considering very few people have perfectly aligned teeth, understanding issues affecting your bite is smart for treatment. Using this guide, you will understand your overbite and learn the best options for treatment.
Causes of your Overbite
Determining the cause of your overbite may not repair the problem, but it can give you insight into the best course of treatment. Most likely, your overbite was caused by heredity. If your parents, siblings, or other close family members have different sizes of their upper and lower jaws, they will most likely have overbites or other dental concerns.
Here are a few other causes of overbites:
- Habits – Certain habits as a child may cause you to develop an overbite. Sucking on a pacifier, bottler, or your thumb and other fingers are common causes of overbites. If you had these habits after the age of 4 to 6 years old, you were at a higher risk of developing an overbite or other dental problem.
- Injuries – Accidents that affect your head, jaw, or mouth may cause your bite to develop incorrectly.
- Tumors or Growths – Tumors or growths may grow inside your mouth or on your jaw and neck, leading to bite misalignments.
- Abnormal Dental Eruption – Multiple teeth erupting at one time will cause a bite misalignment.
Dental Dangers of your Overbite
The unappealing look of an overbite can be depressing, but this alignment issue can also affect your underlying dental health. Here are a few ways your overbite can affect your health and wellness:
- Decreased Self-Esteem – An unappealing smile can decrease your self-esteem, possibly leading to depression or anxiety.
- Tooth Decay – A misaligned bite will create extra contact and excessive force on your teeth. This causes the surface enamel of your teeth to weaken, which may cause cavities and tooth decay.
- Tooth Discoloration – The decrease in tooth enamel will increase your risk of tooth discoloration and staining.
- TMJ – The misalignment of your overbite may cause stress in your temporomandibular joint, as well. TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, causes pain and discomfort in your mouth and head, but also creates a popping, clicking, and locking of your jaw.
- Difficulty Speaking – Speech impediments are common in patients with misaligned bites.
Treating your Overbite
Visiting a dentist and orthodontist is smart to determine the best treatment for your specific overbite. In most cases, repairing the overbite will require treating the cause of your overbite.
A palatal expander is an effective option for realigning your bite. This appliance fits onto your upper teeth in the back of your mouth. After inserting and turning a small tool in the appliance each day, your bite will align into its proper position.
The expander is effective for most overbites, but you may also require a set of braces for a permanent repair.
If your overbite stems from a dental abnormality such as overcrowding, your dentist may conduct a few extractions to remove extra teeth. Extractions will create the extra space your mouth needs to allow your teeth to grow correctly.
Lastly, surgery may be an option to correct severe overbites. While invasive, surgical procedures can reposition your upper jaw to realign it with your lower jaw.
You may feel your overbite is a cosmetic issue, but it affects more than just your appearance. Using this guide, you will understand the causes of this alignment issue and find the best course of treatment.