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'Do I Have An Overbite?' Here's How To Tell

By Kyle Kirkland
Overbites can lead to dental health problems. Here are the symptoms of an overbite to look for.

What is an overbite? An overbite happens when the upper jaw overlaps the bottom jaw excessively. Overbites can cause issues if they're left untreated. We asked experts for more information about the symptoms of an overbite. 

Symptoms of Overbite

“An overbite is when your upper teeth cover your lower teeth more than normal,” Neil J. Gajjar, DMD, former president of the Academy of General Dentistry, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

Proper teeth alignment happens when your top and bottom teeth come together evenly.

“While many people have small overbites, some people can experience more severe cases that can cause uncomfortable symptoms,” Ashley Niles, DMD, a dentist at Niles Family Dentistry, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

According to Niles, symptoms can include:

  • Jaw stiffness, making it hard to open or close your mouth fully
  • Difficulty chewing and eating properly
  • Lockjaw
  • Popping noises from the jaw when you open and close your mouth
  • Persistent earaches
  • Headaches 

In addition to jaw discomfort or pain, symptoms of an overbite can be felt in other areas. 

“Symptoms related to an excessive overbite may include difficulty speaking or sleeping,” Daniel Berant, DDS, an orthodontist at Smile Design Manhattan, tells WebMD Connect to Care. In addition, “the aesthetic concerns of the patient may impact an individual’s psychology and mental health.”

Overbite causes can vary, with some being within your control while others aren't.

“Sometimes an overbite can be hereditary, while other patients may develop an overbite as they age due to teeth grinding, jaw clenching, thumb-sucking or extended pacifier use as a child, or habitual nail-biting,” Niles says. 

These causes affect the natural way your teeth and jaw form.

“All of these habits—like thumb-sucking or chewing on objects like pencils or soothers—impede, interfere with, or alter the natural eruption of teeth into a less-than-favorable position,” Berant says. 

Regardless of the cause of the overbite, seeking treatment, such as dental aligners or braces, can lead to better dental health. An orthodontist will be able to recommend the correct treatment for your case. 

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