Ask Your Ortho: What is an Overbite vs. Normal Bite?

Feb 25, 2023 | About Orthodontics

smiling woman at sunset

We’ve all seen and heard of different kinds of bites, from overbites and crooked teeth to underbites and overcrowded teeth. In fact, this is typically what puts us on our path to braces or Invisalign.

But what makes a bad bite – and what makes a good bite? How can you recognize subtly misaligned teeth versus a Class III malocclusion? When should you get ortho care (or even corrective jaw surgery)?

Very often, patients do not know the difference between misaligned bites, what causes them, or their side effects. After all, how often do we look these things up except when we’re facing orthodontic treatment?

Well, don’t worry! Today, Pura Vida Orthodontics is here to give you the lowdown on teeth alignment and misalignment (specifically overbite vs. underbite) and what you can do about it. First, let’s take a look at what your baby or permanent teeth should look like with a proper bite.

What are Normal Bites? Upper and Lower Jaw Positioning

A perfect bite includes a few things: your lower and upper front teeth align without overlapping, your jaws have to line up properly, and your other teeth can’t twist or turn the wrong way. That’s a lot of conditions for a straight smile, huh!

If teeth protrude, overlap, or twist, you have a “malocclusion” (also called a misaligned bite). There are different kinds of malocclusions, including:

  • Overbite – This is what we are going to be focusing on today. It’s caused by the top teeth overlapping the bottom teeth.

  • Underbite – This is the opposite of an overbite. This is caused when circumstances push the jaw forward and lower teeth extend such that the lower front teeth cover the top ones.

  • Crossbite – This is when you don’t have an overbite or underbite – you have both. A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth overlap the bottom in some places and in other places the lower jaw falls in front. Both the upper and lower rows are affected, and it can happen to the front or back (called an anterior or posterior crossbite).

  • Open Bite – An open bite is caused by being unable to fully close the front or back teeth when biting down.

  • Deep Bite – Sometimes, patients have a slight overbite – and other times, they have a severe overbite that completely covers the lower teeth. An excessive overbite can require complex treatment or orthodontic intervention, and (in extreme cases) orthognathic surgery from an oral surgeon.

woman outside smiling with an overbite

Recognizing an Overbite: Upper and Lower Teeth Positioning

An overbite is a kind of malocclusion where the bottom chompers are covered partially or completely by the top ones. The shift of the jaw bone commonly occurs due to jaw growth, genetic problems, or bad oral habits (like thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting childhood habits).

Note: Buck teeth are a type of overjet where top teeth grow or shift over the bottom ones horizontally instead of vertically. While similar to an overbite, buck tooth malocclusions are slightly different.

Is Upper Teeth and Upper Jaw Overlap a Problem?

Yes! Any major or minor bite problem can cause a wide variety of issues that require medical treatment, oral hygiene care, and long-lasting impacts on baby teeth and adult teeth.

Struggling with your smile? Even when your chompers slightly overlap, it can be a pain for your mouth. Check out just a few issues that you could experience without help from a tooth expert.

Problems with Overbites and Underbites

What happens when your smile just doesn’t fit quite right?

  • Tooth Decay

  • Mouth Breathing

  • Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Joint Pain)

  • Teeth Grinding and Uneven Wear

  • Gum Disease

  • Difficulty Biting and Chewing

For oral health reasons and comfort, you should see an orthodontist for a smile assessment if you think you need overbite, crossbite, or underbite treatment!

How Braces Can Help with Bite Alignment Issues

It’s easy to see how braces and Invisalign can help you adjust your bite and correct problems with teeth fitting together. Not only do braces and other ortho treatments put you back on track for comfortable living – they also ensure that you have a long-lasting grin that makes you feel confident and proud to show off.

Share a brighter, healthier smile with the world through the power of orthodontic care!

Create Your Perfect Smile with Pura Vida Orthodontics

Ready to create your dream smile with the best orthodontic team in town? Talk to Pura Vida Orthodontics located in Blaine, MN, and St. Louis, MN. We make sure that treatment is affordable, caring, and simple – so you can spend less time thinking about your grin and more time enjoying the best things in life!

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