Overbite (also known as deep bite) is an extremely common dental condition that is often unnecessary to correct, since mild to moderate overbites pose minimal risk of medical complications. However, some people seek overbite correction treatment in order to feel more comfortable with their smile.
There are various overbite treatment options available for people of all ages, some of which require the hands-on involvement of a dentist, while others can be managed from the comfort of your home. In this guide, we’ll explain what overbite is, what causes it, and the different to correct it.
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What is Overbite?
Overbite occurs when the upper teeth or jaw protrude beyond the lower teeth. The condition varies by degree; if you have a mild overbite, the top teeth may cover about half of the lower teeth. If you have a severe overbite, the lower teeth may be covered altogether, and may even reach the upper gum line when biting down. Sometimes overbite is the result of the lower jaw being smaller than the upper jaw, causing the upper teeth to sit further forward in the mouth.
You may have heard the term “horizontal overbite”, more commonly called “overjet”. This refers to a condition where the upper teeth protrude horizontally past the lower teeth (rather than vertically) by at least 2 mm. Read our guide to correcting overjet for more information.
What Causes Overbite?
Overbite is most often inherited; genetics play a large role in how the upper and lower jawbones grow, and the development of one’s facial structure overall. However, there are also several behavioral traits that can increase the chances of overbite developing during childhood. Bottle feeding, thumb-sucking, and tongue-thrusting during infancy and early childhood can all contribute to the development of overbite.
Is It a Medical Issue?
Having a mild to moderate overbite typically does not pose any risk to you or your teeth. If you wish to adjust your smile to reduce the appearance of overbite, we encourage you to consider one of the treatment options below. Nonetheless, mild to moderate overbite is generally no more than a cosmetic concern.
That said, some cases of severe overbite can cause jaw pain, difficulty speaking, and discomfort while eating. Severe overbite can also result in excessive wear on the enamel of your upper teeth. These cases may require corrective treatment to prevent further complications in the future.
Top 4 Ways to Correct Overbite
Thankfully, there are numerous treatment options available for adults with overbites, whether the case is mild, moderate, or severe. While the cost and length of treatment vary, there is a treatment plan out there for every smile.
Let’s take a look at the top 4 ways to correct overbite:
Traditional braces are a popular option for correcting overbite, as they can easily be paired with elastics and headgear in order to achieve jaw realignment. The main downside of braces is their visibility, since most adults favor treatment options that are less conspicuous. However, if this is not a concern for you, braces are an excellent solution, often working more quickly than other correction methods.
In some cases, tooth extraction may be used in conjunction with braces to help deal with bite issues caused by overcrowded teeth. When teeth are removed, this allows the jaw to relax into a more natural position, after which braces can work to move the teeth into alignment. Treatment with braces typically ranges from 18-36 months, with costs averaging $5,000-$6,000 (without dental insurance).
Thinking about getting braces? Check out our guide to treating overbite with braces, which covers different types of braces, costs and other important considerations in greater detail.
Known for pioneering the world’s first clear, removable teeth aligners, Invisalign is another viable treatment option for the majority of adults with overbites. Over the years, Invisalign treatment has evolved to be able to produce results quite similar to traditional braces. Just like braces, Invisalign requires in-office dental visits, and can be fitted with elastics and other attachments that specifically target bite-related issues.
Invisalign patients are given a series of custom aligner trays designed to gradually move their teeth into the desired position. The first step in this process involves visiting a dentist or orthodontist, who will take a mold or scan of your mouth to create a 3D model of your teeth. Using this 3D model, an Invisalign technician will then propose a series of adjustments to move your teeth into alignment. Your dental provider will review this plan and make adjustments based on your specific goals.
Once the plan is approved, you’ll typically schedule monthly checkups with your dentist or orthodontist. At each checkup, you can expect to receive a new set of aligners and may also have special attachments added or removed from your teeth.
Treatment generally takes about one year, though the condition of your teeth may reduce or lengthen this duration. Treatment costs also vary significantly, ranging from $3,500-$8,000.
Considering Invisalign? Visit our guide to treating overbite with Invisalign, which covers options, costs and other important considerations in greater detail.
3) Home Teeth Aligners
While Invisalign remains the best-known option for removable teeth aligners, there are many others available today. In the past few years, companies like SmileDirectClub and Byte have entered the industry to provide simple, affordable treatment options for adults seeking to straighten their teeth or correct spacing and minor bite issues.
These providers’ offerings are similar to Invisalign in that they offer custom, clear removable aligners, but there are a few key differences to note. Unlike Invisalign, treatment through a provider like Smile Direct Club is done completely remotely. While your treatment plan will be designed by a dentist or orthodontist, you’ll never actually visit a dentist’s office.
For this reason, home aligners are limited in their ability to correct bite issues, as there is no way to integrate elastics or other attachments into your treatment plan. However, based on user reviews and company claims, it appears that home teeth aligners might still work mild cases of overbite. Home teeth aligners are significantly less expensive than Invisalign or traditional braces, with an average cost of only $1,800-$2,000. To learn more, we encourage you to read our review of the top 5 home teeth aligners.
Interested in learning more about at-home teeth aligners? Read our guide to treating overbite with at-home aligners, which covers options, costs and other important considerations in greater detail.
4) Overbite Correction Surgery
Correction surgery is reserved for severe cases of overbite, where the upper teeth extend well beyond the lower teeth. Generally, this procedure involves moving the lower jaw forward, though in some instances, the lower and upper jaws are both repositioned. In any case, overbite correction surgery is most often used when cosmetic adjustments to the teeth are not enough.
This is a significant form of surgery. In addition to being expensive, it can also take several months to recover from. Fortunately, most cases of overbite don’t require surgery and can be effectively handled using one of the options discussed above. If you have a severe overbite, an orthodontist can help you determine if surgery is warranted.
Regardless of your age, having a mild overbite is incredibly common, and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you (or your smile)! For most people, overbite is not a health issue, but rather a minor cosmetic concern. If you’re interested in correcting your overbite, odds are you’d be able to do so successfully with braces, Invisalign, or even at-home aligners — surgical intervention is rarely necessary.
In any event, you should consult with your dentist to determine the best treatment plan for you. We hope this guide provided a useful overview of overbite correction treatment options to help you make an informed decision!