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What is an Overbite?

Overbites, also known as buck teeth, are a deviation or misalignment of the teeth known as a malocclusion. In general, this is when the upper set of teeth sticks out too far over the lower set of teeth. Overbites, crossbites, underbites, and open bites are all types of malocclusions. If you have been diagnosed with having an overbite, you probably have a lot of questions.

Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri is a dentist in Lafayette, LA, who will answer your questions and formulate the appropriate dental treatment plan based on the type and severity of your overbite. Fortunately, you can get rid of an overbite for good.

An overbite is the most common type of malocclusion which nearly seventy percent of children exhibit signs of having. Because overbites are not all alike, they might not always be noticeable. Malocclusions fall into one of three categories based on the alignment of the teeth.

3 Categories of Malocclusions

  • Class one. When a normal bite has a slight overlap of the upper teeth. It is the most common of the malocclusions.
  • Class two. A condition when the lower jaw is set further back than the upper jaw, giving the appearance of a severe overbite. This is often known as retrognathia.
  • Class three. Due to the teeth not properly aligning because of the shape of the facial bones, the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth developing a severe underbite. This is also referred to as prognathism.

A dental overbite is caused by an external interruption of your teeth’s development such as crowding, a loss of back teeth, and bad oral hygiene. In some cases, it is hereditary. The primary symptom of an overbite can cause discomfort and speech challenges. So, practicing daily proper dental care is vital to your oral health.

What Causes an Overbite

  • The shape and development of the bones, generally caused by particular genes inherited from parents or relatives.
  • When teeth jostle for positioning due to crowding.
  • Prolonged use of a pacifier, bottle, or thumb sucking that occurs past the age of three.
  • Excessive nail-biting and chewing on objects such as pencils or your ponytail can.
  • Tongue thrusting when pressing too far forward into the mouth.
  • Losing teeth and not repairing them timely.
  • Grinding the teeth, also known as bruxism.
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).

Typically, it is your dentist who will first notice an overbite during a dental exam. The dentist may take dental X-rays to further examine the overbite and to check the alignment of your teeth. You may even be referred to an orthodontist who specializes in improving dental flaws such as overcrowding teeth, crooked teeth, and over or underbites.

Whatever the cause is of an overbite, it is critical to find the right dentist and/or orthodontist in Lafayette, LA, with experience. This is the key to successfully correcting an overbite.

How to Fix an Overbite

  • Braces. Traditional overbite treatment might involve wearing braces for up to a year, or longer. During treatment, you will need to spend significant time with an orthodontist to tighten wires and replace brackets as your teeth move into correct alignment.
  • Invisalign clear aligners. Patients who opt for Invisalign spend less time in treatment but do still have to visit the dentist and/or orthodontist regularly. This treatment is more costly than braces.
  • Oral corrective surgery. Corrective surgery, or jaw repositioning surgery, is the only way to fix a moderate or severe overbite case. Braces are also typically required for pre-treatment surgery and post-treatment to aid with correcting the alignment of the teeth.

An untreated overbite may cause irreparable damages to your teeth, bones, and jaw structure. In addition, significant health complications could arise. Overbites can impact speech, cause severe facial pain, and make maintaining good oral hygiene harder. This could lead to gingivitis and/or periodontitis.

Untreated Overbite Complications

  • Tooth decay, cavities, and worn tooth enamel
  • Jaw pain or jaw locks
  • Severe headaches
  • Discomfort or pain while eating
  • Trouble fully opening or closing the mouth
  • Sleep apnea
  • Difficulty brushing or flossing
  • Increased crowding

Many adults and kids suffer from a type of overbite. If you suspect your child, or you, have an overbite, contact Maestri Dental today to make an appointment. Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri is an expert dentist in Lafayette, LA, at treating an array of dental problems. She will assess the specifics of each dental case and desired outcome before deciding on a personalized treatment plan.

We believe that successful treatments go beyond just achieving a proper bite and beautiful smile. It leads to improving patients’ overall oral health. Not everyone is fortunate to have a flawless smile but our staff at Maestri Dental is committed to providing the highest quality care to patients of all ages.



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Overbite: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Orthodontic Treatment

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