Overbite is what occurs when your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. It is a frequent condition that is present in most people to a certain degree.
However, sometimes overbite can be too large, leading to other oral and dental problems.
What Is The Natural Bite?
In an ideal situation, your teeth should be in perfect balance with each other.
All your upper teeth should fit with the lower ones, matching in harmony. This relationship between upper and lower teeth and between one tooth and its neighbor is called occlusion.
The way your teeth interact is crucial in most ordinary functions like eating, chewing, speaking, and even swallowing. In fact, the first dental specialty was dedicated to occlusion problems known today as orthodontics.
When the occlusion is altered, it is called malocclusion.
When Is Overbite Dangerous?
Having a normal overbite is necessary for a healthy occlusion. Your upper teeth need to overlap their antagonist to maintain the jaw movements and allow molars to chew. Not having any overbite could indicate other malocclusion problems. Nonetheless, it is essential to clarify that malocclusions are not addressed as diseases but as alterations or discrepancies due to multiple factors.
Usually, a healthy overbite is acceptable with measures below 2 - 3 mm. But, when this proportion is altered, it leads to a malocclusion called a deep bite.
In a deep overbite, your lower front teeth pass behind the front upper teeth, making deep contact with their back. Sometimes, an overbite can be so long that people end up biting with their palate. This improper interaction creates several occlusion problems that can affect your general and oral health.
What Are The Causes of Overbite?
A deep overbite can be the result of multiple underlying problems. Most times, it is the result of diverse factors that lead to the clinical manifestations. Among these factors, we can find the following:
- Thumb sucking and pacifier use
Thumb sucking is one of the chief causes of deep bite problems. Children that have this habit tend to develop a narrower upper jawbone due to the constant suction. This development alters the occlusion relationship, leading to a deep bite. Also, the prolonged use of pacifiers can produce the same pressure on the palate, leading to similar results.
- Genetic teeth and jaw size
Some people can have a genetic predisposition to develop a bigger upper jawbone, a smaller lower jawbone, or big teeth. Thereby, the differences in size can induce an incorrect relationship between the upper and lower jaw.
- Early tooth loss
When a child loses one or various primary molars, the remanent teeth try to fill the space, moving from their regular positions. This movement disrupts the natural eruption, leading to a deep overbite.
- Grinding teeth
Grinding your teeth can produce wear and abrasive lesions that can also induce a deep bite in the long term. Bite forces are so strong that you can literally wear out your teeth by 2 or 3 mm.
How Can Overbite Affect Oral Health?
People with deep overbite can develop the following oral and facial problems:
- Can bend, twist, and rotate front teeth.
- Lead to gum disease due to bite forces and excessive tension.
- Develop temporomandibular problems that can compromise jaw movements.
- Affects the face’s harmony and shape.
- Affects the development of the mandible.
- Causesfacial, joint, and muscular pain due to the enormous forces.
- Producespain when eating, talking, or speaking.
- Affectsnormal breading.
- Compromisesaesthetics and personal image deeply.
How to Treat The Overbite?
The treatment of deep overbite will depend on its causes and each case characteristics. Nonetheless, generally, orthodontic treatment is the easiest and fastest solution.
However, most overbite problems require a careful process that typically requires other oral procedures such as fillings, tartar elimination, and even prosthetic treatments.
Moreover, your dentist could suggest:
- Using braces and retainers.
- Performing baby teeth removal.
- Using orthopedic growth devices.
- Using clear aligners (Invisalign) to correct teeth positions.
- Performing surgical procedures in severe cases.
Depending on the severity, you can require one or multiple of these alternatives to correct the problems caused by deep overbite. If your overbite is causing oral problems, you should visit your specialist and address the problem as soon as possible.
--- By Dr. Samuel I A Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) from Central University of Venezuela. He is also the Member of the National College of Dental Surgeon of Venezuela. Boasts almost 10 years experience in general dentistry.
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