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How to Fix an Overbite with Braces (How Long Does it Take?)

Visit Gibbs Orthodontic Associates if you are unsure about the severity of your overbite and want to learn how to overcome or treat it properly. Dr. Gibbs discusses overbites in depth and how wearing braces allows you to achieve the smile of your dreams. He explains how long it will take for your braces to align your teeth and works on the crookedness and gaps between them so you can have a more confident and impressive personality.

An overbite is one of the most identifiable dental problems that requires orthodontic treatment. It not only affects teeth alignment but also causes several health and psychological issues.

What is an overbite?

An overbite is a common condition in which the upper jaw is incorrectly aligned with the lower jaw. It causes the upper front teeth to overlap the lower front teeth.

Also called buck teeth or deep bites, overbites are class II malocclusions.

Vertical horizontal overbite
Types of overbite: vertical and horizontal

There are two types of overbites:

  • Vertical overbite – where the top teeth overlap the bottom.
  • Horizontal overbite – where the top teeth protrude or extend over the bottom teeth, also known as overjet.

While most patients suffer from a vertical overbite, some patients can have signs of both. Both adults and children can suffer from overbites. Ignoring the condition can further develop the overbite and crook your teeth even more drastically. If the jaw is too wide for the teeth, it cannot function properly as a result and affect your ability to chew and speak normally.

An overbite is classified as:

  • Dental overbite – A dental overbite is when the teeth are in the wrong position or not aligned properly, but the top and bottom jaw are aligned.
  • Skeletal overbite – A skeletal overbite means that the jaw causes the overbite if it is too large or too small to fit the teeth properly, resulting in overcrowding, crooked teeth, or spaced teeth.

It is important to note that overbites are the most common dental disorder in children. In case of deep overbites, the chin is pushed back by the teeth towards the jaw joint. It can lead to neck pains, jaw pains, clenching of teeth, grinding of teeth, and makes the face appear short or round.

Causes of overbite

There are many causes of an overbite, but the most common of them all is the shape and size of the jaw and teeth. While some people are born with malformed jaws that develop unevenly, others may be born with a jaw that is too big or small for the erupting teeth, resulting in crowding or large spaces and an overbite.

Possible causes of an overbite include:

  • Genetics
  • Teeth grinding
  • TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
  • Broken or damaged teeth that were not treated accordingly

Genetics plays a significant part in causing an overbite. If both or one parent needed orthodontic treatment, chances are children would need treatment for similar problems. Ignoring mild or moderate cases of overbite in childhood can become deep overbites in adulthood.

Certain factors can worsen a dental overbite in children, especially if they are born with malformed jaws. These factors include:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Long-term use of pacifiers as a child
  • Frequently chewing on pencils and pens
  • Prolonged use of bottle as a child
  • Extended pushing of the tongue against the front teeth
  • Frequent nail biting

Controlling these factors in the early years can help the jaw and teeth to develop as they should. It is important to note that even if you did not suffer from overbite in childhood, there are chances of developing it in later years. Chewing fingernails and losing teeth without any follow-up treatment can result in an overbite.

Can braces fix an overbite?

Dental braces do not just improve your appearance or straighten your teeth. They also improve your overall dental health and fix the problems that are a threat to your teeth and gum health. Braces can also prevent grinding and clenching of teeth, which not only damages teeth further, but also increase overlapping.

Minor overbites often do not cause trouble but severe overbite can lead to jaw pain, enamel wear, tooth decay, gum disease, speech interference, and other dental complications. If you suffer from significant overbites, it is best to seek orthodontic treatments as soon as possible to prevent these issues and ensure desired results.

Braces are an effective means to treat most overbite problems. Using the most advanced diagnostic tools for assessment, such as x-rays and scans, the orthodontist determines the overbite type and the relationship between jaw and teeth and attaches braces to the top and lower arches of the teeth.

Overbite before after
Correcting an overbite with braces

How braces fix an overbite

Dental braces consist of brackets, power chains, and wires that treat most overbites. The devices carefully apply consistent yet gentle pressure to adjust the teeth to the correct alignment.  The archwire first straightens and aligns the teeth. During the second stage of braces, elastics or small rubber bands may be used to slowly lift the jawline into the correct position. The bands are fitted on the brackets from top to bottom or front to back to move the teeth and jaw. These bands are removed before eating, drinking, and brushing teeth and replaced frequently, as needed.

It is essential to wear the bands at all times, as instructed by the specialist, so that overbite is slowly and steadily fixed by their constant pressure. Wearing them on and off or forgetting to wear them can cause the teeth and jaw to ache more often and also affect treatment results.

The final stage of the treatment is to wear a retainer or use a permanent wire to keep the teeth in their newly aligned position. Some people prefer clear aligners, while others choose lingual or inside braces to fix their overbite due to personal or professional reasons as they are a more discreet option compared to metal or ceramic braces.

It is best to consult your orthodontist and understand which braces would work for the type of overbite you have, as not all treatment types are suitable for every case.

Can Invisalign fix an overbite?

If you are looking for a less noticeable treatment for an overbite, clear aligners or Invisalign may be the right option for you. Made from transparent material, clear aligners are custom designed to fit your teeth and correct overbite by effectively moving your teeth in the right position.

You must wear these aligners for no less than 22 hours daily to get desired outcomes. Also, these aligners should be changed every two weeks to keep your teeth fixed at all times. Invisalign has become popular due to the method it utilizes and the innovation, which offers desired results. Talk to your orthodontist to learn if you are a good candidate for Invisalign and if they can fix your overbite issues.

Treating overbite – when to begin the treatment

The earlier the orthodontic treatment is started, the better and quicker results it can produce. Overbite in its early stages is not a severe complication and can be treated timely. Sometimes overbites can also make it difficult to clean your teeth properly which increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Treatment becomes necessary if you begin to experience the following symptoms:

  • Jaw pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Discomfort or pain while eating
  • Trouble with fully opening or closing mouth
  • Sleep apnea
  • Difficulty speaking

Living with recurring headaches, disturbed sleep patterns, and jaw pain can disturb your routine life and health. Overlapping of one set of teeth over the others can also affect the shape and structure of the jaw and the face. Some people find that their health improves as soon as braces start moving the jaw into place.

Other problems caused by an overbite

Overbite is an orthodontic problem that needs prompt attention but this is not all. It may also cause physical or emotional problems that can have a long-term impact on oral as well as overall health.

Some commonly experienced problems with overbite include:

  • Low self-esteem – An overbite can be embarrassing as it shows your crooked or misaligned teeth or jaw when you smile or talk, and you feel more conscious of what you are doing or what others are seeing.
  • Headaches and migraines – Headaches and migraines are common in people with an overbite due to a misaligned jaw. The muscles connecting the jaw to the skull overpower the lower jaw which compresses the joint and skull bone. Jaw muscles attach to the sinus and a jaw imbalance can cause sinus infections and sore throats.
  • Teeth clenching and jaw grinding – People with overbites often clench their jaw or grind their teeth while they are sleeping, which causes joint pain and wear on the teeth.
  • Alteration in facial structure – Deep overbite leads to a recessive chin that makes the face look shorter, and rounder and you appear older than you are.
  • Increases risk of injury to teeth – People with overbites are at greater risk of damaging their teeth. As they overlap the bottom teeth, the top teeth can get knocked during sports or, accidents, leading to further complications.
  • Higher risk of gum disease – In case of a severe overbite, the lower front teeth touch the upper gum line on the back of the front teeth. This contact may cause the gums to recede, increasing the risk of gum diseases.
  • Chewing problems – It becomes difficult to chew and eat easily when the upper and lower jaw are not aligned properly.
  • TMJ disorder – It is perhaps the most common problem related to an overbite. The joint that connects the jawbone to the cheekbone on either side of the face allows movement for eating, drinking, talking, and facial expressions. The symptoms of TMJ disorder include jaw pain, pain in front of the ear, a clicking noise while eating or opening the mouth, and even locking of the jaw.

It is best to visit an experienced orthodontist, such as Dr. Gibbs to get the best advice regarding overbite treatment and long-term relief. If left untreated, these warning signs can worsen and affect your quality of life.  

How long does it take to fix an overbite with braces?

Even though orthodontic treatment has improved significantly over the past few decades, it takes some time to fix a deep overbite, one of the longest orthodontic conditions to fix with braces.

Every case of overbite is different. It may take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year, depending on the type of complication, for how long you have had the overbite, and how misaligned your teeth have become as a result. If your overbite is diagnosed early, you may only need a few months with braces.

For severe overbite cases, orthodontists recommend braces for at least two years. Once the braces come off, a retainer is worn to keep the teeth in their newly aligned position.

Can braces fix an overbite successfully?

People with severe skeletal overbite and jaw problems need more than braces to correct their overbite. Braces are also used in combination with other treatments, such as tooth extractions. In some cases, surgery is required to reposition the jaw if it is misaligned too much.

Your orthodontist may refer you to an oral surgeon or dentist for extractions to help you treat all alignment problems. Children and teens have the benefit of a growing jaw that makes it easy for the braces to move into the correct position.

Overbite before after case 2
Fixing an overbite with braces (case 1)
Overbite before after case 3
Fixing an overbite with braces (case 2)

Early treatment in children also includes using a palate expander that increases the size of the jaw to accommodate the crowded teeth in a small jaw. The braces can work more effectively with a larger jaw and move teeth into the correct position without needing extraction.

How to retain braces treatment results?

It is essential to understand that overbite can recur or your teeth can revert to their original place if you do not focus on proper after-treatment care. Your orthodontist will ask you to wear a retainer for a certain time after the braces are removed to prevent any movement of teeth and keep an eye on the treatment progress to ensure it proceeds smoothly.

Retainers are as essential as they help to maintain the results of your treatment, ensuring the unsightly overbite is gone for good, and you enjoy straight, better-looking teeth for life.

Dr. Eric gibbs
Dr. Eric gibbs

Do not ignore your overbite or leave it unaddressed. Fixing overbite timely can save you from lots of pain and expense in the long run. Visit Gibbs Orthodontic Associates to know what may be causing your teeth and jaw misalignment and how braces can fix them successfully.

Traditional metal or ceramic braces, as well as clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are an effective option to straighten your teeth and transform your smile. Dr. Gibbs is one of New York’s top specialists who understands your desire to look and feel good and evaluates the extent or severity of your overbite to determine which type of orthodontic treatment will work best for you.

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