Can Braces Fix an Overbite?

Choose the Best Overbite Solution for You

June 13, 2024 Written By: Joyce Kahng, DDS

Do your upper teeth significantly overlap your lower teeth? If so, you may have an overbite. An overbite, while common, can impact your oral health, speech, and confidence. But can braces really fix this issue, and what other options are available?

Below is information about overbites, how braces work, and other treatment options to help you achieve a smile you’re proud to show off.

Understanding Overbites

There are two main types of overbites:

  1. Dental Overbite: This occurs when the teeth themselves are misaligned, causing the upper teeth to overlap the lower teeth excessively. Factors like crowding, thumb sucking, or tongue thrusting can contribute to this type of overbite.
  2. Skeletal Overbite: This is caused by an issue with the jawbone’s structure. If the lower jaw is underdeveloped or the upper jaw is overdeveloped, it can result in a skeletal overbite. This type is often hereditary.

Regardless of the type, overbites can cause a range of problems. Aesthetically, they can affect your smile and facial appearance. They can also lead to oral health issues, jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and speech problems. In severe cases, overbites can even impact your self-esteem.

How Braces Work

Braces are a common orthodontic treatment used to correct various dental issues, including overbites. They consist of brackets that are bonded to the teeth, connected by wires, and sometimes held in place with bands around the molars. The wires apply gentle, continuous pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into their desired positions.

There are several types of braces available, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces (which are less noticeable), and lingual braces (placed behind the teeth). The choice of braces depends on individual preferences and the severity of the overbite.

Braces work by utilizing the body’s natural ability to remodel bone. As pressure is applied to the teeth, the surrounding bone adjusts, allowing for controlled movement over time. This process requires patience and regular adjustments by the orthodontist to ensure optimal results.

Braces and Overbites: The Connection

Braces are highly effective in correcting dental overbites. By applying consistent pressure, they can gradually move the upper teeth back and the lower teeth forward, aligning the bite properly. In some cases, elastics or rubber bands may be used in conjunction with braces to create additional force and facilitate the movement of teeth.

However, braces alone may not be sufficient for correcting skeletal overbites. Since this type involves the jawbone structure, additional treatments like headgear or even jaw surgery may be necessary in conjunction with braces to achieve optimal results.

The duration of treatment with braces varies depending on the severity of the overbite and individual factors. Typically, it can range from one to three years. Regular checkups and adjustments by the orthodontist are crucial throughout the process to monitor progress and ensure the desired outcome.

Other Treatment Options for Overbites

While braces are the most common treatment for overbites, other options are available, especially for mild to moderate cases or those who prefer alternatives to traditional braces. These include:

  • Invisalign: These clear aligners offer a discreet and removable option for straightening teeth. They are custom-made and gradually shift teeth into their correct positions. Invisalign is a good option for those seeking a less noticeable treatment, but it may not be suitable for severe overbites.
  • Headgear: This orthodontic appliance is often used in conjunction with braces to correct skeletal overbites in growing children and adolescents. It applies gentle pressure to guide jaw growth and tooth movement.
  • Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery): In severe cases where braces or other treatments cannot fully correct a skeletal overbite, jaw surgery may be necessary. This procedure involves repositioning the jaws to improve alignment and function.

Each option has its own pros and cons, including cost, effectiveness, and invasiveness. It’s essential to consult with an orthodontist to determine the best treatment plan for your specific case.

What to Expect During Overbite Treatment

When you first consult an orthodontist about your overbite, they will perform a comprehensive examination—including X-rays and impressions of your teeth. This helps them diagnose the type and severity of your overbite and create a personalized treatment plan.

The treatment process varies depending on the chosen method. If you opt for braces, you can expect regular adjustments every few weeks to tighten the wires and guide tooth movement. Invisalign wearers will receive new sets of aligners every few weeks to progress through the treatment stages.

Regardless of the treatment, maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during this period. You’ll need to be diligent about brushing and flossing around brackets or aligners. Your orthodontist may also recommend dietary restrictions, such as avoiding hard or sticky foods that could damage your braces.

In some cases, you might experience some discomfort or soreness after adjustments, but over-the-counter pain relief and orthodontic wax can help alleviate any discomfort.

Lifestyle Tips (During Overbite Treatment)

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during your overbite treatment is crucial for achieving optimal results. Good oral hygiene is essential to prevent cavities and gum disease, which can interfere with tooth movement. Brush thoroughly after meals, floss daily, and consider using mouthwash to keep your teeth and gums clean.

Your diet also plays a role. Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can damage braces or aligners. Opt for softer options like cooked vegetables, yogurt, and smoothies.

If you experience discomfort after adjustments, over-the-counter pain relief can provide temporary relief. Orthodontic wax can also be applied to brackets or wires to prevent irritation to your cheeks and lips.

Choose the Best Overbite Solution for You

While overbites might initially seem like a cosmetic concern, they can have far-reaching effects on your oral health and overall well-being. Luckily, a variety of treatment options are available to correct this issue and give you a smile you love. Braces, Invisalign, headgear, and even jaw surgery offer solutions for different types and severities of overbites.

Remember, choosing the right treatment depends on various factors, including the type of overbite, your age, and your personal preferences. Consulting with an experienced orthodontist is crucial for determining the best course of action for your specific needs.

By addressing your overbite, you can improve not only your smile’s appearance but also your bite function, oral health, and self-confidence. Take the first step towards a healthier and happier smile by scheduling a consultation with an orthodontist today.

Smile Smarter,
Dr. Joyce

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