Within the problems of dental malocclusion for which we treat our patients every day, overbite is one of the most common.
Although it depends on its degree, the overbite is not one of the most visible malocclusions, since it does not have to be perceived when smiling because we do not always show the lower teeth when we do it.
And it is considered that a person is overbite when their upper teeth are more advanced than the lower teeth, and even cover them – either entirely or partially.
Therefore, it depends on how this incorrect position affects the aesthetic and functional aspect of the patient should be determined if the overbite is solved with an orthodontic treatment or with a combination of orthodontics and orthognathic surgery.
What is overbite?
As we have just advanced, overbite characterized in that the upper teeth come to cover the lower teeth vertically.
This is usually a consequence of a class II malocclusion, in which the maxilla is anterior to the mandible.
Since it can be present in different degrees, sometimes the overbite is very slight and can hardly be seen. However, there are cases of deep overbite in which, when biting, the upper teeth cover the lower teeth entirely.
In fact, it is considered deep overbite when the upper incisors cover a third of the lower ones.
What problems does it generate?
Since there are different degrees of overbite, the more significant this is, the more critical the problems that provoke or that carries with it:
• Crowding in upper incisors or canines (fangs)
• Increased chance of caries due to crowding, which hinders oral hygiene
• Increased chance of suffering from periodontal disease due to poor health
• Excessive tension in the jaw, which results in bruxism and wear on the teeth
How can I avoid overbite?
Before beginning to detail the treatments for overbite treatment, it is important to note that, in many cases, overbite can not avoided.
This is because, in this case, genetic inheritance plays a fundamental role. In fact, most people with this type of malocclusion have a family history of overbite.
It is also true that there are habits that take place in childhood and that can contribute to children developing overbite. These are the suction of the thumb or the use of the pacifier for a prolonged time.
How can it be corrected?
Depending on the age of the patient and the degree of overbite we can apply different solutions:
Interceptive Orthodontics (children):
We call interceptive orthodontics to those devices that we place in children between the ages of 6 and 11 years and that serve to guide the development of their maxillary bones when they are still in the growth phase.
Given the early ages with which interceptive orthodontics is placed, with these devices, we focus solely on the bones. That is, we do not make any correction in the position of the teeth.
This is because between 6 and 11 years usually have not erupted all definitive teeth yet. Once this process completed an orthodontic treatment can begin to correct the dental position.
Orthodontics (adolescents and adults):
The fundamental difference between interceptive orthodontics and that carried out in adolescents and adults is that with the latter we can only correct the position of the teeth. That is, we can no longer make modifications in the bones.
Orthodontic treatments that can be performed to overcome the overbite are by brackets (metallic, sapphire or lingual Incognito) or through the Invisalign aligners.
As mentioned above, when there is overbite it is ubiquitous that there is also crowding. Due to the different options of orthodontic treatment and that each problem must study in a personalized way, the orthodontist is the appropriate professional to determine which is the most indicated alternative.
Orthognathic surgery (adults):
Although the most frequent is that overbite can be corrected only by orthodontics, there are cases in which the cause of this malocclusion is skeletal.
This means that this cause is due to the position of the maxillary bones, that is, that the bite problem has not adequately treated during childhood.
In cases where orthodontics with braces or with Invisalign is not sufficient to correct the bite, a treatment that combines orthodontics (usually with brackets) and orthognathic surgery should use.
Orthognathic surgery is a specialty within Medicine that aims to make corrections in the maxillary bones of adult patients.
That is, it allows you to make cuts in the bones to modify their size or position. In this way, we can advance the jaw or delay the upper jaw.
In any case, our recommendation is to go to the orthodontist as soon as the first symptoms of overbite are appreciated. In fact, it is never too early to go to the orthodontist, even though no signs have noticed.
In case of no warning, my advice is to take the children to the orthodontist at the age of six.
If bone development is appropriate, a review can be scheduled later to assess whether it remains so. And, if growth abnormalities noticed, it will always be more comfortable to solve any bite problem in children; than in adults when their jaws are growing.
As we have just seen, it is also possible to resolve overbite in adults, but the duration and complexity of treatment will always be more significant.