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What is an Overbite?

By Manjari Bansal
If your upper front teeth excessively overlap your lower front teeth, you may have an overbite. Learn some of the causes of an overbite and the role invisible aligners can play in correcting it.

If the upper jaw sits in a position that excessively overlaps the bottom jaw when the mouth is closed, an overbitealso called a "deep bite"is present. This condition is considered a malocclusion, which is another name for abnormal teeth alignment. An overbite can affect your smile as well as your oral health. Read on to learn more about some possible overbite causes and using invisible aligners to correct the condition.

What Causes an Overbite?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the most common cause of an overbite is having a smaller lower jaw in comparision with the upper jaw. In such cases, the upper front teeth are far ahead of the lower teeth and the lower front teeth continue to grow until they hit the roof of the mouth or the back of the upper teeth. Also, your lower front teeth may become crowded or crooked when an overbite is present. 

Having a smaller lower jaw isn’t the only cause of an overbite. “Simple things such nail-biting and chewing objects can cause an overbite. It is also important to note that losing teeth, specifically the back teeth, is associated with an overbite,” Mahnaz Rashti, DDS, a periodontist in Beverly Hills, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “This can also be a skeletal issue when one’s upper jaw grows faster and uneven compared to the lower jaw,” Rashti says.

Payam Ataii, DMD, a dentist at Laguna Dental Center, tells WebMD Connect to Care that, in infants and children, habits such as thumb-sucking, sustained and consistent pacifier use, and overuse of a bottle—which causes the tongue to push against the back of the teeth—can produce an overbite.

Can Invisible Aligners Help?

“The answer to that question is a resounding yes. But, it depends, of course, on the severity,” Casey Lau, DDS, co-founder of ELIMS, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

An overbite is usually corrected by either moving the upper or lower front teeth into the jaws or by elongating the side and back teeth, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. This can be done with either braces or invisible aligners. Your orthodontist will decide which option will give the best results for your specific case.

“In some cases, using invisible aligners can be just as effective in correcting overbite as braces, and frankly, I can do some things with invisible aligners that I can’t do with braces, or if I did it with braces it would require adjunctive appliances, like retainers or even headgear before or during orthodontic (braces) treatment,” Lau says.

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