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Overbite Correction

Overbites, commonly known as buck teeth, are very common, with almost 70% children developing it in small degrees. Here are the causes, types and treatment options to get rid of them.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan Apr 16, 2019

Did You Know?

TMJ syndrome -- Temporomandibular joint syndrome -- is observed in some people with overbites. People with this syndrome may suffer from neck pain, jaw pain, migraine, dizziness and sleeping troubles. Accidental biting of lips could also occur, that may lead to developing an infection.
Overbite is defined as the forwardly placement of the upper jaw, or teeth, or both. This leads to excessive space between the upper and lower front teeth when the jaws are in occlusion (when the mouth is closed with upper and lower teeth in contact) and often looks unsightly.
In fact, besides seeming unsightly, there are many other dental problems that one may have to face, like difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene and dental health, mouth breathing, increased susceptibility to respiratory diseases, dry upper lip, etc. In serious cases, it could lead to jaw pain, and increased wear and tear on the tooth enamel.
In very rare cases, speech impairment occurs. Thus, it is important to try to find out ways to correct overbite that can not only help to prevent further dental problems, but also help to get back a beautiful smile.

Factors Responsible

  • Habits like pencil chewing, thumb sucking, nail biting, tongue thrusting, prolonged bottlefeeding, use of pacifiers above 3 years
  • Extra teeth, or abnormally shaped teeth
  • Improperly fitting dental fillings, crowns, braces
  • Tumors in the mouth and jaw

Types

Skeletal Overbite

Skeletal overbite means that the overbite is completely skeletal in nature. This means that the upper jaw, or maxilla, is itself in protrusion or is very forwardly placed. This kind of overbite, more often than not, requires surgical intervention.

Dental Overbite

In this type, the jaw is in its precise position, which means that in this case, the teeth are misaligned, causing the overbite. In such cases, the overbite correction is done with the help of orthodontic braces or smile designing methods.

Correcting Overbites

The best way to deal with a purely dental overbite is to go in for orthodontic treatment. Correction is done usually when a child is 10-14 years old. Orthodontic treatment offers a near permanent solution for dental overbites and dental malocclusion.
Orthodontic treatment helps in correcting an overbite by bringing the teeth into a desired position of occlusion. For achieving this, there needs to be enough space to pull back the upper front teeth. So, if the upper front teeth are protruding due to crowding, then there may be a need for extraction to make space for the teeth.

1. Dental Braces

The main aim of using dental braces is to get the jaw and teeth leveled properly. Braces act by applying force to pull back the teeth in place. They are usually worn for a period of about 2.5 years. Depending on how bad your condition is, your doctor will provide you with a range of options.
One of them is the Damon brace system -- a traditional system -- which makes use of strong wires and rubber bands. These braces bind on their own (do not require round elastics) and hence are less noticeable as compared to metal braces.
Another option that is equally good is the use of ceramic braces, wherein the brackets aren't visible except for the arch wires. The wearer doesn't feel self-conscious because of which more and more people are opting for ceramic ones.

2. Jaw Surgery

Cases that require overbite correction surgery are those wherein the overbite is purely skeletal in nature. In such cases, braces alone will not be of much help, as such cases require active jaw correction. Prior to this procedure, a detailed study is done to see what kind of treatment will give best results.
Thus, various diagnostic X-rays are taken and the case is studied to see the relative position of the maxilla (upper jawbone) and mandible (lower jawbone). Only after the surgeon is sure that there is need for surgery, is the surgery done. Either the maxilla is repositioned (moved backwards) in such cases, or the mandible is pulled and brought forward.
Sometimes, both are done in conjunction for best results. One will require at least 3 to 4 months to recover completely.

In another type, wisdom teeth will have to be pulled out to separate the back of the jaw, moving it forward. Specialized screws (titanium and plates) are used to hold the realigned jaw. This will require a recovery phase of several weeks.

Exception

There are certain exceptional cases where there may not be the need for either orthodontic treatment nor jaw surgery -- like, if there is slight overbite which is only due to minor dental malocclusion and misalignment of teeth, then it is possible to achieve overbite correction without braces or surgery, as here, smile designing might be of great help.
However, more often than not, such an option only serves to temporarily camouflage rather than permanently treat an overbite.

Cost

The cost will depend on the type of treatment offered to deal with the overbite. If the person has proper skeletal overbite, then the person will have to go in for surgery. Thus, the jaw surgery cost will further add to the total cost of the treatment.
Sometimes, there is also a detailed post-surgical treatment plan in certain complicated cases, like the person may need orthodontic treatment after the surgery, which will further add to the cost of the treatment.
On the other hand, if there is need for only dental correction, then the treatment offered will only be in the form of orthodontic braces, in which the person will only need to pay for the braces.
All in all, to achieve long-lasting overbite correction, it is best to visit your dentist and get your condition properly diagnosed and treated to prevent any further complications. After all, who doesn't want to flaunt that picture-perfect smile!
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.