Overbite vs. Overjet

September 17, 2018 — by Dr.Thomas Tang
Tags: Cosmetic Dentistry

Young woman with beautiful smileWhen the teeth are not in proper alignment, it can affect the appearance of your smile. More importantly, however, malocclusion can have a negative impact on your oral health and chewing function.

Here, our Brookfield, WI dental team explores overbite vs. overjet, two common types of orthodontic problems. We will also discuss orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry treatments to improve the appearance of the smile.

Defining an Overjet

An overjet is characterized by upper front teeth that are protruding outward. Often called “buck teeth”, an overjet describes the horizontal relationship between the upper and lower incisors.

In a normal bite, the upper teeth stick out over the bottom teeth by about two to four millimeters. Some individuals have a larger overlap, which is defined as an overjet. In severe cases, the upper incisors may protrude past the lower lip, making them susceptible to trauma.

Like all orthodontic issues, overjet may have a genetic component. However, this condition is most likely due to certain childhood habits. For example, prolonged bottle use, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting can all cause the teeth to spread or splay out over time.

Treatment for Overjet

There are several treatments available for individuals with an overjet. The most effective option will depend on the complexity of the condition. Here are the most common overjet treatments offered at our practice:

  • Traditional orthodontics: Braces move the teeth into more appropriate positions over time, restoring the health, function, and aesthetics of your smile.
  • Invisalign®: Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign shifts the teeth using clear, removable plastic aligners.
  • Cosmetic bonding: In very mild cases, composite resin can be applied to the teeth to make them appear straighter.
  • Porcelain veneers: Like cosmetic bonding, veneers can make the teeth appear flush with one another. The custom-made veneers are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth.
  • Dental crowns: If the affected teeth need strength or reinforcement, dental crowns can be placed. These are similar to veneers, but they cover the entire tooth structure.

Defining an Overbite

An overbite describes the vertical relationship between the upper and lower front teeth. In a normal bite, the upper incisors cover about one-third of the lowers.

An individual with a bite deeper than two to four millimeters is described as having an overbite. In fact, some patients have such a deep bite that the lower teeth touch the roof of the mouth.

Unlike many cases of overjet, overbite is typically genetic in nature. If an immediate family member has an overbite, you have a much higher risk of being born with the condition as well.

Skeletally, those with an overbite typically have either an overdeveloped maxilla or an underdeveloped mandible. No matter what the reason, it is important to address the issue.

Treatment for Overbite

Because overbites are skeletal in nature, oral surgery may be required to address the issue. If the condition is treated during the developmental years, however, we may be able to avoid this step.

In adults, severe overbites are often treated with corrective jaw surgery and orthodontics. However, in mild cases, non-surgical treatment can be successful.

Contact Brookfield Family Dentistry

If you have an overjet or overbite, Dr. Tang can determine which type of treatment will effectively correct the issue. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us online or give us a call at (262) 821-1000.