Overjet can take a toll on your confidence and oral health, but you don’t have to live with it if you don’t want to. There’s a range of effective treatment options that can completely transform your smile — and braces typically top the list.
In this guide, we’ll dive into the details of correcting overjet with braces, the types of braces you can get, and some alternatives if braces aren’t right for you.
Table of Contents
What Is Overjet?
Overjet, sometimes called “buck teeth,” is a type of misalignment in which the upper teeth extend horizontally past the lower ones. Not all cases are severe, and it’s actually normal for your front teeth to overlap your lower ones slightly when you close your mouth. However, an overjet represents an excessive protrusion of those front teeth. It’s not a serious medical concern, but it can cause some discomfort and a lack of confidence in your smile.
Other common overjet symptoms include:
- Jaw discomfort and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD)
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech issues
- Irregular facial appearances
Overjet also distributes your bite pressure unevenly, putting excess pressure on certain teeth and wearing down their enamel. They also make cleaning your teeth more difficult, potentially causing plaque buildup that can lead to tooth and gum decay.
Overjet vs. Overbite
Many people often confuse these two conditions, and for good reason — they’re fairly similar and often coexist. However, overbites are vertical misalignments, while overjets are horizontal. In other words, with an overbite, your top teeth still point straight down, but an overjet sticks out at an angle.
Either way, however, braces are a good option, since they can treat overbite as well.
What Causes Overjet?
Some cases of overjet are hereditary, while others come from overcrowded teeth or a late eruption of permanent teeth. However, it can also come from certain childhood habits. Thumb sucking, pacifier use, or bottle use beyond age three can potentially cause bite issues, as can excessive tongue thrusting. They most often appear in children as the teeth and jaw develop, but can persist into adulthood as well.
Can Braces Fix Overjet?
The short answer: yes. Braces are an extremely effective treatment thanks to their sturdiness and ability to incorporate specialized dental attachments like elastics and the Herbst appliance. In some cases, orthodontists may supplement treatment with tooth extraction, as overcrowded teeth can interfere with overjet correction. For all these reasons, treatment with braces can do wonders for overjet — especially if the case comes from a purely dental misalignment.
If your overjet includes a severe skeletal overbite, braces’ effectiveness will depend largely on the results you’re after. If you are seeking a radical transformation of your facial appearance, braces might not be able to deliver. On the other hand, if you’re set on avoiding jaw surgery, braces can still make a massive difference in your bite and facial profile.
Types of Braces
Twenty years ago, if you wanted to alter your smile, traditional metal braces were pretty much the only option. However, the orthodontic industry has come a long way in the past couple of decades. Now, you have a whole range of options to choose from. Here are the four main types of braces available today.
Traditional Metal Braces
The end result of a long history of innovation in orthodontia, metal braces in their present form came onto the scene around the mid-1970s. In the decades since, traditional braces have remained orthodontists’ go-to treatment for crafting beautiful smiles.
Though many adults today opt for more discreet straightening appliances — like clear aligners — standard metal braces still have a lot going for them. Treating patients with standard braces doesn’t require an orthodontist to obtain any extra training or purchase special equipment, and those savings mean they can often offer lower prices. Plus, it’s often easier to find an orthodontist who can confidently administer your treatment, as orthodontists typically have the most experience working with metal braces.
Standard braces are also extremely versatile, and better suited for treating complex bite issues than some newer dental technologies. The average cost for braces is $3,000–$7,000, and the average treatment time is 12–30 months. Since overjet correction is typically more involved than standard teeth straightening, your treatment will likely fall on the higher side of both ranges.
3M — the company behind Scotch tape and Post-Its — introduced the first clear braces in 1987. While early models were less effective at adjusting teeth, the technology has come a long way in the past 30+ years. Today, clear braces can match the power of their metal counterparts.
Clear braces work just like metal ones, but offer a sleeker aesthetic that many adults prefer, since the translucent ceramic brackets blend in with the teeth. Although clear braces typically incorporate a metal arch wire, and the brackets are often slightly larger, they’re still less noticeable than metal braces. Some people also find that the ceramic brackets are less sharp and abrasive on the cheeks and gums.
On the downside, not all orthodontists offer clear braces, so it could be difficult to find a provider. Clear braces are also typically around 10%–20% more expensive than metal ones. That said, they have approximately the same treatment duration as standard metal braces (12–30 months), and are generally just as effective for correcting mild cases of overjet.
Unlike clear braces, lingual braces are totally hidden from the rest of the world, since they’re situated behind your teeth instead of in front. You may be thinking, “that’s brilliant, how is this the first I’m hearing of it?” Well, there are a few reasons lingual braces aren’t more popular.
First of all, most orthodontists don’t offer them, since they’re harder to affix and adjust, and they require specialized training and equipment. From the patient perspective, lingual braces can create discomfort around the tongue, which can give you a minor lisp. Maintaining good oral hygiene takes more effort as well, because it’s harder to brush and floss around the brackets.
All that said, lingual braces are just as effective as standard braces for correcting teeth overjet. Given the extra work involved, they’re typically more expensive than other options, often costing around $8,000–$10,000. Again, if your case is fairly mild, you may end up with a price that’s a bit easier to swallow.
Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles is a unique brand of clear braces that doesn’t require an orthodontist, just a standard family dentist. As the brand name implies, the average treatment plan is around six months, but that’s because they’re only viable for milder cases. Their clear brackets and tooth-colored wires make them one of the least noticeable braces options.
Six Month Smiles is most effective at treating cases where only the front teeth require significant adjustment, so if your back teeth need correcting, it might not work for you. That said, they’ve still delivered perfect realignments for many folks with mild cases of overjet and/or overbite.
Due to the shorter treatment time, Six Month Smiles is slightly less expensive than other types of braces, averaging between $3,500 and $5,000. Just keep in mind that your treatment may take longer than the advertised six months and be on the higher end of the price range above, especially if your overjet is accompanied by a significant overbite. Learn more in our full review of Six Month Smiles.
What Is It Like To Wear Braces as An Adult?
Regardless of your age or the type of braces you choose, braces can certainly cause some discomfort, especially as your teeth adjust to initial placement and periodic tightening.
To minimize pain and reduce the risk of breaking a bracket, you’ll need to stay away from particularly hard or sticky foods — like chips, taffy or hard candy — as well as habits like nail-biting and gum-chewing. It’s also important to maintain good oral hygiene and use all dental appliances as instructed.
You may perceive some added stigma around getting braces as an adult, but the truth is, it’s a very common treatment at any age. Plus, between ceramic braces, lingual braces, and alternatives like clear aligners, there are more ways than ever to adjust your smile discreetly.
In the end, if open bite treatment is something you’re pursuing for the sake of your own comfort and happiness, it should be easy to remember that the long-term payoff will be well worth the temporary discomfort!
Other Treatment Options
While braces are a fantastic option for treating most cases of teeth crowding, some people don’t love the idea of wearing braces, or are put off by the price. If that sounds like you, there are a couple of other unobtrusive treatment options available.
In-Office Clear Aligners
Clear aligner treatments like Invisalign, which involve regular in-person supervision from a dentist, are an effective solution for overjet. Like braces, clear aligners are compatible with tooth shaving, extraction, and additional dental appliances to help correct more complex alignment issues. However, unlike braces, Invisalign and many of their competitors are available to standard dentists (rather than just orthodontists), so there’s a good chance you can get treatment at the same place you go to get your teeth cleaned.
Of course, the most notable differences between these treatment methods is that clear aligners are 1) removable, and 2) much more discreet than traditional braces. Clear aligners can shift your teeth and realign your bite about just as quickly as braces, and for approximately the same price ($3,500–$8,000). However, Invisalign isn’t the only option. ClearCorrect, 3M Clarity Aligners, and SureSmile are among several equally effective alternatives.
If you’re interested, learn more about some of the top brands in our guide to the six best clear aligners.
At-Home Clear Aligners
In recent years, online companies like SmileDirectClub and Byte have entered the industry to provide a more affordable option for adults seeking to straighten their teeth from home. Similar to Invisalign, you’ll receive a set of clear, removable aligners designed by a dental professional — but unlike Invisalign, your treatment won’t involve any trips to the dentist’s office.
Home aligners are often significantly less expensive than braces or Invisalign, with an average price of $1,800–$2,000. The companies that sell home aligners typically provide an opportunity to review your expected results before committing to treatment, so you’ll know exactly what to expect before moving forward. But if everything lines up, home teeth aligners might be a perfect solution for your overjet.
If you think at-home aligners might work for straightening out the crowded spots in your smile, check out our recommendations for the top five brands.
Beyond Standard Treatment Options
Corrective jaw surgery is reserved for cases of overjet in which the patient also has a severe skeletal overbite. In these cases, the lower jaw often appears recessed (or set back) from the upper jaw, resulting in an uneven facial profile that standard orthodontic appliances cannot always correct. Orthognathic surgery can deliver significant adjustments of your bite and facial structure by moving the top jaw, bottom jaw, or both.
This is a pretty significant form of surgery. Besides being quite expensive, it also comes with a long recovery. Fortunately, most cases of underbite don’t require surgical intervention, and respond well to the options discussed above. If you have a very severe overjet, an orthodontist can help you determine if surgery is warranted.
Regardless of the severity or cause of your overjet, your dentist may recommend braces, and for good reason: they can produce powerful and sustainable dental transformations. If you’re considering corrective treatment, choose a physician who’s dedicated to finding a treatment option that reflects your top priorities — whether they’re aesthetic, budgetary, time-sensitive, or otherwise.
Remember, overjet is rarely a medical concern, so consider your personal desires and holistic well-being when choosing a corrective treatment. We hope this guide provided you with some helpful insight for your future dental decisions!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between overjet and overbite?
They’re similar in that they’re both conditions where the top teeth extend too far past the bottom ones. However, overbite is a vertical misalignment, while overjet is horizontal. In other words, in an overbite, your top teeth still point straight down. But in an overjet, they stick out at an angle.
What causes overjet?
Some cases of overjet are hereditary, but it can also come from overcrowded teeth, late erupting permanent teeth, and extensive childhood thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use, or bottle use.
What’s the best treatment for overjet?
It depends on your specific case. Braces or in-office clear aligners like Invisalign are effective for many mild or moderate overjets, and at-home aligners like Byte can work for especially mild ones. However, overjets from severe skeletal misalignments might require surgery instead.
What is a normal overjet?
Our top teeth naturally overlap our bottom ones, so everyone has some type of overbite or overjet. This overlap, however, is typically just 1–3mm. Anything more than that and it can cause oral health issues.
How long does it take to correct an overjet with braces?
Braces usually take 12–30 months to correct an overjet. However, the specific timeline depends on the severity of your case. More significant cases will fall near the high end of that range, while especially mild ones might even take less than twelve months.
How much do braces cost?
Several factors play a role in braces’ total cost, including the severity of your overjet, your orthodontist’s rates, and the cost of living in your area. But most braces treatments cost around $3,000–$7,000.
What happens if you don’t fix an overjet?
Overjet isn’t an issue that requires immediate medical attention, but if you leave it untreated, it can cause some issues over time.
Does overjet require surgery?
Sometimes, but not always. Many cases respond well to orthodontic treatments like braces or clear aligners, but for severe cases — particularly ones caused by skeletal irregularities — orthodontia might not be enough. These cases often require surgery instead.