Do you have an overbite or an underbite that causes your teeth to stick out when you smile but never had it fixed? Do bite issues cause you to have jaw pain or trouble eating your food?
If you’ve wondered about how to fix an overbite or an underbite, then you’ll need to look at braces as a key treatment option. You won’t be alone either, as over 4 million people in the US wear braces, and 25% of them are adults.
If you want to know more about the differences between and overbite vs underbite and how to fix these issues, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn all you need to know!
What Is an Overbite?
An overbite, which is also known as a deep bite, occurs when your upper front teeth overlap your bottom teeth. Overbites can range from minor to very severe. Severe overbites usually include the misalignment of jawbones as well.
Your upper front teeth will often stick out noticeably when compared to your lower front teeth. Overbites commonly occur if your lower jaw is smaller or shorter than your upper jaw.
The main symptom of an overbite is related to the appearance of your top front teeth.
If you have a slight overbite, you won’t likely experience any health issues. However, a more severe overbite can lead to dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay.
Overbites can also cause speech problems and breathing challenges. You also might notice jaw pain and difficulty eating and chewing food.
Sometimes overbites can run in the family. Certain genetic traits like jaw shape can affect how your teeth are aligned. Other causes can include:
- Grinding your teeth
- Thumb-sucking beyond the age of three
- Using a pacifier beyond infancy
- Tongue thrusting which is when your tongue presses too far forward
You can also develop an overbite from extra or missing teeth or misalignment of your jaw following an injury.
How to Fix an Overbite
Clear aligners such as Invisalign are often used to correct a minor to a moderate overbite. You’ll need to wear them for at least 22 hours a day, every single day. If you miss a day, there is nothing to force your teeth to move and the overbite won’t be corrected in the right way.
Traditional braces are considered the best way to fix a severe overbite. These braces are either metal or ceramic and are attached to each tooth which is connected by a wire.
Traditional braces provide constant pressure on your teeth over a period of time which slowly moves them into the correct position. Since you can’t remove braces at home like you can an aligner, they’re typically the most effective way to correct any type of overbite.
How Long Does It Take To Fix an Overbite?
Traditional braces aren’t removable and you’ll usually have to wear them for one to three years. You’ll have to visit the orthodontist monthly to have your braces adjusted and tightened.
If you are using a clear aligner like Invisalign, you can expect the average treatment time to take anywhere from 6 to 20 months.
What Is an Underbite?
Now, let’s consider an overbite vs. underbite. When you have an underbite, your lower teeth extend out more than your upper teeth. Many times the entire lower jaw will stick out further than the upper jaw.
Underbites can range from mild cases where it is not noticeable to severe cases where the lower jaw protrudes out noticeably and causes a bulldog-like appearance.
Having an underbite can take a toll on both your mental and physical health. Not only does it affect your confidence but it can also cause physical symptoms such as:
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic bad breath
- Mouth breathing and snoring
- Problems chewing
- Jaw pain
Underbites can also cause you to have problems with your temporomandibular joint. This joint acts as the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. You’ll notice it feels locked in a certain position as well as pain and a popping sound when you open your mouth or chew food.
Like overbites, underbites can also be caused by genetics. If you have parents or relatives with an underbite, you’ll have an increased chance of developing an underbite too.
Other causes include jaw tumors or a traumatic injury that causes your jaw to break. If your jaw doesn’t heal correctly, you can be left with an underbite.
How to Fix an Underbite
There are different ways to fix an underbite, depending on your age and how severe your underbite is.
Children are still growing so they have the option of trying dental appliances that correct the growth of the jaw. A dental appliance in the shape of a horseshoe can sometimes reposition the jaw and force it into a normal growth pattern.
Children under 10 can also benefit from a reverse-pull face mask that resembles braces headgear. This mask pulls the jaw back into the correct position. After using these devices, most children will still need braces once they are old enough to completely correct an underbite.
Adults with all of their permanent teeth can choose between underbite braces or jaw surgery. If your underbite is severe enough, you may need both braces and corrective jaw surgery to fully correct the problem.
You can use traditional metal or ceramic braces to fix an underbite, but underbite braces are your best bet. They’re specifically designed to twist and push your teeth into the correct alignment.
In mild cases, Invisalign or other clear aligners can also correct an underbite. However, just like for overbite correction, you’ll have to wear them continuously to achieve the results you’re looking for.
How Long Does It Take To Fix an Underbite?
If you need jaw surgery before braces, you’ll need at least 12 weeks to allow for complete healing to occur. You’ll typically have to wear underbite braces for at least 24 to 26 months to correct your underbite.
For clear aligners, you’ll have to wear them consistently for 12 to 18 months to get your underbite fully corrected.
Fix Your Smile Today
If you’ve spent years lacking confidence in your smile or suffering from the physical effects of misaligned teeth, then it’s time to take action.
Whether you need to know how to fix an overbite or an underbite, you can turn to Carolina Braces for answers. We offer custom treatment plans, financing, and payment plans so you can get the healthy smile you’ve been looking for.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation so you can smile more tomorrow!