You may have an overbite, or those around you may have this problem. Here is everything you need to know about this condition and its causes and treatments.
What is Overbite?
Overbite is the teeth’ misalignment and can be defined as having the upper front teeth extend beyond the bottom front teeth. It is a dental condition that affects all age groups, even toddlers. Keep in mind that the space between the upper and bottom teeth is sometimes okay. However, an overlap between the upper teeth and bottom teeth of more than 2-3 mm is considered overbite.
Causes and Symptoms of the Condition
The condition has several causes and symptoms. These several causes are nail-biting, thumb-sucking, teeth grinding, tongue thrusting, using pacifiers for toddlers, chewing on objects like pencils, and genetics. Due to some unavoidable reasons like genetics, it is inevitable to have this condition sometimes. Yet, knowing these causes and changing some of your habits can help you avoid this problem.
The first symptom of it is related to appearance. People with this condition have their upper teeth overlap their bottom teeth. Other symptoms of it include jaw pain, headache, pain while eating, difficulty while speaking, and jaw stiffness. It is better to see a dentist if you have such symptoms.
Diagnosing of Overbite
Diagnosis of this problem is possible in several ways. First of all, you can notice if you have an overbite. Since it is a condition in which the upper teeth extend beyond the bottom teeth, it is possible to self-diagnose this condition by checking the positions of your teeth with a mirror.
Overbite vs normal teeth positioning can be noticed easily. However, for an accurate diagnosis, it is better to get professional help. Dentists and orthodontists can diagnose it by physical examination, and for further examinations, dental x-rays can be used as well.
How to Prevent It?
Since genetics play an essential role in the development of the condition, it seems like something unpreventable. However, it is possible to prevent it. Preventing an overbite is very important since it affects your appearance and causes physical health problems.
Here are some things that help people to prevent it. For example, limiting the use of pacifiers for babies may protect them from this condition. According to the studies made in this field, extended use of pacifiers may cause malocclusion, specifically overbite. As babies grow, the shape of their jaws and mouths changes accordingly.
That is why using pacifiers more than they should lead them to have an overbite. Similarly, sucking thumps has the same effect and affects their jaw and teeth shape. Paying extra attention to using pacifiers and sucking thumps habits can prevent the potential problem. Another thing to do to prevent this is to stop pushing against the front teeth with the tongue. You can also prevent it by scheduling dental check-ups.
Since dentists can detect potential problems by examining, they can inform you about having an overbite, although you are unaware of it. Thus, even if you have this problem, you will prevent it from worsening.
Treatment for the Overbite
How to fix an overbite is a concern for people who have this problem. Although it is possible to prevent it, sadly, it is not possible to expect it to fix itself. It is a dental condition that dentists and orthodontists only can treat.
The treatment method can be determined by factors such as the patient’s age, underlying problems, and the seriousness of the problem. One way to treat this problem is braces. Using braces may help bring the upper teeth back into a better alignment. Sometimes braces cannot be the only solution to treat overbite.
Surgery can be suggested for adults to correct the misalignment for an exact solution. With surgery misalignment of the jaw bones can be corrected. If you have this problem, the sooner you get professional help, the better.
How Does Overbite Affect Oral Health?
Overbite is not just a problem that affects appearance, it affects oral health as well. For example, it can cause gum diseases. When chewing, if the bottom teeth hit the gum in the upper jaw, this can lead to problems such as gum inflammation.
If left untreated, it can even cause tooth loss. Also, having it can make people grind their teeth against each other. This can cause tooth enamel to wear down over time. That is why, people with this condition teeth should pay more attention to their oral health.
FAQ About Overbite
Either you may have an overbite or there may be people around you who have this problem. So, here are some FAQs about the subject.
Are Overbites Genetic?
There are many causes of an overbite, and genetics is one of the causes of it. Like many physical traits, it can be passed down through generations. Jaw shape, which is a hereditary feature, can cause people to have an overbite.
When Does an Overbite Need to Be Corrected?
In fact, it is better to fix the problem immediately after it is detected. If it is diagnosed at an early age, especially in children, it is critical to act quickly in treatment to prevent possible complications that will occur over time. Living with the symptoms of this problem can be challenging. As the symptoms of patients who are treated for this problem will decrease, their quality of life will increase.
Can an Overbite Cause Speech Problems?
One of the problems caused by overbite is speech problems. The position of the teeth affects the way people speak. The gap between the upper teeth and bottom teeth can lead to lisps. Some letters, like s and z, must be pronounced with the teeth in the proper position but someone who has a lisp needs help making s and z sounds. It also causes people to make a whistling sound while talking.
Today, speech problems caused by an overbite can be treated. Braces, Invisalign, an orthodontic treatment that helps with teeth straightening without using visible metal braces, or surgical orthodontics are the common treatments for speech problems.
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