By: Dr. Sezer Olcay DMD
What we colloquially call overbite is technically called overjet, which is how much the top teeth are sticking out. True overbite is have much top and bottom teeth overlap. If top and bottom teeth do not overlap at all, when the bite is open that is open bite.
In the Caucasian population 70% of bite problems are “overbites”, which is overjet; ie top teeth sticking out. Part of this problem is genetic; however habits, such as thumb/blanky sucking, tongue thrusting can significantly contribute to that. If the underlying problem is the habit, than the habit needs to be stopped or controlled first. Otherwise, even if the bite is corrected with braces it will relapse. In the
Asian population 70% of bite problems are underbites, where the top teeth are inside the bottom teeth. Even though this is mostly genetic, early tooth loss, blocked or missing teeth can also create an underbite.
Whether it is an over bite or underbite, it is very important to determine the underlying cause of the problem. If it is true skeletal problem where the relationship of top and bottom jaws, it is more important to start treatment when the patient is still growing. Otherwise, correction of skeletal bite problems may involve jaw surgery.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that each child is evaluated by an orthodontist at age 7, to rule out and skeletal bite problem. It certainly does not mean they will have braces at that age. Once a bite problem has developed, if not corrected, long-term it can cause several physical aliments, such as:
- Speech impediments, such as lisps
- Problems chewing and eating
- Jaw pain caused by strained jaw and muscles
- Worn tooth enamel, leading to cavities and gum
- Higher risk of front tooth damage
- Soft tissue damage
Dr. Olcay’s specialization is in orthodontics and dento-facial orthopedics which means correction of teeth and jaw discrepancies. Depending on your situation, Dr. Olcay can treat your overbite or underbite with various treatment options like Braces, a retainer, Invisalign or other appliances. If you have any concerns about your or your child’s bite issues please call Dr Olcay at 732-847-3065 for a free consultation.