An overbite, resulting from the upper teeth sticking out in front of the lower teeth, will sadly lead to bullying for many children. They may become anxious about going to school and confidence and self-esteem can be affected. Children with overbites often report being tormented with name calling by other children.
It has also been shown that Children aged 7-14 with overbites are twice as likely to suffer dental trauma of the front teeth than children with normal bites.
Without doubt, overbites are easier to correct in children that are still growing. Because of this, it is important that your child sees a specialist orthodontist before their adolescent growth spurt if you suspect they have an overbite.
Left untreated, an overbite will persist into adulthood. While there are still several treatment options for adults with overbites, the options are more limited, and can be more complicated.
Whatever your concern, your specialist orthodontist at Neyo will work with you to find the best solution to fix your overbite.
What’s the difference between an overbite and overjet?
An overbite is the term commonly used by people to describe ‘goofy’ teeth. Strictly speaking, an overbite is the amount of vertical overlap between the upper and lower front teeth whereas an increased overjet is the technical term for ‘sticky out’ front teeth. The overjet is the horizontal measurement between the upper front teeth and the lower front teeth. The normal range for an overjet is between 2 and 4mm. An overjet that exceeds this range is considered ‘increased’ and is a very common orthodontic problem. In the UK, a severe overjet would be used to describe and overjet of 10mm or more.
How common are overbites?
An overbite, or increased overjet, is present in approximately 1 in 4 of the population in the UK.
What causes large overbites?
Overbites are caused when there is a discrepancy in the position of the upper jaw and lower jaw. Usually, the lower jaw is at fault because it did not grow far forward enough. This leaves a horizontal gap between the upper teeth and lower teeth when biting together.
Quite often, this discrepancy in the position of the jaws will make it difficult for the upper and lower lips to meet, and the upper teeth will be visible at rest. The consequence of this is that the lower lip will naturally sit behind the upper front teeth which will push the teeth out further and make the overbite even worse.
Thumb sucking or finger sucking is another common cause of large overbites. Thumb sucking has the effect of pushing the lower teeth backwards and pulling the upper teeth forwards, causing the overbite to increase in size. If this habit is stopped at a young age there is a very good chance that the overbite will correct itself as a child’s teeth develop. If the habit persists into adolescence, then orthodontic intervention may be the only way to correct the overbite.
What happen if you don’t treat an overbite?
Overbites are associated with higher rates of dental trauma in children. Not treating an overbite will make it twice as likely that your child will damage, break or even lose a front tooth.
If an overbite is not treated in a child and therefore persists into adulthood, treatment becomes more challenging. The options are more limited and in some cases jaw surgery may be the only way to correct the overbite.
The psychological and social problems associated with an overbite also need to be considered when deciding whether or not to pursue orthodontic treatment. Research shows high levels of bullying in children with an overbite which can be linked to issues with confidence and self-esteem.
The decision whether to have orthodontic treatment is a personal one but it is important that you understand all the facts before deciding the best way forward.
How do you fix an overbite?
In children, your orthodontist may recommend a type of functional brace. This family of braces are designed to correct an overbite by moving the teeth and jaws into an improved position. While functional braces may have some influence on the growth of the jaws, the main effect comes from movement of the teeth. Examples of functional braces include Twin Blocks and 3M Forsus Springs. Unfortunately, functional braces are not effective in adults. Invisalign Teen aligners that incorporate mandibular advancement tabs can also be used as a functional appliance.
Other techniques such as the use of small elastic bands may be used alongside fixed “train-track” braces. Sometimes it may be recommended to have teeth extracted in the upper arch to make space to correct the overbite. At Neyo, the decision to extract teeth is a last resort, and needs to be carefully planned by your specialist orthodontist to ensure the facial profile and lip support are not adversely affected.
In some cases, jaw surgery maybe recommended to address the underlying cause of the overbite which is a discrepancy between the upper and lower jaws. Jaw surgery is not generally done in children and this kind of treatment will normally commence after the age of 18 in a hospital setting.
Can an overbite be corrected using Invisalign?
Invisalign can be a very effective tool in correcting overbites, depending on the cause of the overbite and the severity. Historically, Invisalign was best suited to straightening crooked teeth and fixing mild overbites. Now Invisalign offers a range of features and modifications which a specialist orthodontist can take advantage of to correct moderate and even severe overbites.
Our Invisalign specialist at Neyo has extensive experience with correcting overbites with Invisalign and will be happy to discuss all options at your next appointment.
At what age should an overbite be treated?
Overbites can be treated at any age however treatment works best when started in an actively growing child. We therefore strongly recommend that any child with an overbite be assessed by your orthodontist before adolescence. It is better to see a child too early than too late. When timed correctly, overbite correction can be reasonably straightforward.
The exact age that treatment for an overbite should be started in children is a contentious issue. While there may be some benefit in treating a young child under the age of 9 to minimise the risk of dental trauma, this approach increases the overall length of orthodontic treatment and the number of appointments. Research has shown that starting early can affect a child’s motivation levels as treatment can last for many years with this approach.
At Neyo we take a balanced approach considering your individual requirements so that we can tailor a plan that suits you or your child. Our in-house orthodontist and Invisalign expert is looking forward to meeting you and getting to work on your teeth!