Overbites: Everything You Need to Know

Dentist Blog

An overbite is a very common problem which affects children. Around 70% of children will develop some type of overbite. However, although it is a common problem, an overbite can have a severe impact on a child's confidence and their ability to speak. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about overbites—the causes, complications and treatment options.

An introduction to overbites

It is entirely normal for a modern human to have a slight overbite. However, this wasn't always the case. It is believed that up until around 250 years ago, human front teeth met in the middle of the mouth, much like apes. This tooth formation aided the biting and tearing of food. However, with the invention of modern cutlery such as the knife and fork, the need to directly bite and tear into food using the front teeth was eliminated. As the way humankind consumed food changed, so did the position of their front teeth, resulting in a slight overbite which prevents the teeth meeting when you close your jaw.

The causes of overbites

While a slight overbite is healthy, certain actions can cause an overbite to become exaggerated. These actions are:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Chewing on pens and pencils
  • Biting your nails

The complications created by overbites

An overbite can create some complications such as:

  • Misaligned teeth which stick out, which can impact a child's self-confidence
  • Pain in the jaw muscles when eating
  • Damage to the soft tissues of the mouth
  • Speech impediments such as a lisp or an inability to pronounce certain sounds

The treatment options for an overbite

Not all overbites will require treatment. Whether you seek treatment for your child's overbite will largely depend on you. If your child is in pain or is self-conscious because of their overbite, you should seek treatment.

If you do seek treatment, your dentist will inspect your child's oral health to establish the extent of the overbite. If they deem it necessary, they will refer your child to an orthodontist. If the overbite is acute, the orthodontist will fit braces to your child's teeth. You will need to attend regular appointments to have the brace wires tightened to apply pressure to the front teeth. 

If the overbite is less severe, the orthodontist may prescribe a retainer. A retainer will gently move the teeth back into place. However, a retainer can be removed when a child wishes to eat or clean their teeth.

If you are worried about your child's overbite, contact your dentist today.


9 December 2016

Dental Care and Seniors: Helping to Maintain Your Smile

As you age, it can become harder to take care of your teeth. Motor challenges can make it hard to floss, while memory issues may make it easy to overlook brushing. Whether you are a senior looking for solutions to some of the common dental problems or a senior with specific questions about cavities or oral surgery, you have come to the right place. In this blog, I am going to touch on a range of topics related to seniors and oral health. This is the type of resource I wish my mum would have had access to in her senior years, and I hope you enjoy having access to it during yours. I appreciate you reading my posts.