Many Americans suffer from an oral disorder. Unfortunately, these are often genetic disorders that cannot be helped. One of the most common oral disorders is overbites, affecting nearly two-thirds of the population .
An overbite is a medical condition where your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth when you bite down. While it may not seem like a big deal, an overbite can significantly impact your life in several ways. Here are five of the worst ways an overbite can affect you.
One of the most immediate and noticeable effects of an overbite is difficulty eating. When your teeth are misaligned, it can make it harder to bite and chew properly, which can lead to indigestion and other digestive problems. You may also find that you avoid certain foods altogether because they’re too hard to eat with your overbite.
Painful jaw problems
An overbite puts extra strain on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the hinge that connects your lower jaw to the rest of your skull. This can lead to TMJ disorder, which causes pain and stiffness in your jaw. You may also develop bruxism when you involuntarily grind or clench your teeth.
Increased risk of tooth damage
Because an overbite causes your top teeth to protrude more than usual, they’re more likely to get chipped or cracked if you have an accident or fall. If the damage is severe enough, this can lead to expensive dental bills and even tooth loss.
Many people with an overbite feel self-conscious about their appearance and how others perceive them. Unfortunately, this can lead to low self-esteem and social anxiety, hurting every aspect of your life.
Difficulty speaking properly
An overbite can also affect how you speak, as it changes the position of your tongue and lips relative to your teeth. This can make it hard to produce certain sounds correctly, making it difficult for others to understand you when you speak. It’s also worth noting that an overbite can cause you to talk more slowly than average, as you must enunciate each word carefully so that people can understand you.
As you can see, an overbite can severely impact many aspects of your life if left untreated. Thankfully, there are many ways an overbite can be treated. Here are some of those ways.
One of the most common ways to correct an overbite is with braces. This is a process where metal brackets are attached to your teeth and then tightened over time to shift them into the correct position slowly. This treatment can take several years, but it’s often very effective, especially for children and teenagers still forming most of their teeth.
However, for those experiencing low self-esteem, it might be better to get something that’s less conspicuous. One good alternative to braces is Invisalign treatment . These are clear, plastic trays that fit over your teeth and gradually shift them into place. Because they’re nearly invisible, they tend to be much more aesthetically pleasing than braces. It’s helpful for those who are self-conscious about their overbite but who don’t want to wear braces for a prolonged period.
Overbites can sometimes be so severe that they cannot be corrected with braces or other non-surgical methods. In these cases, surgery may be the only option. Unfortunately, this is often the last resort, as it’s expensive and can be pretty invasive.
Two main types of surgical procedures are used to correct an overbite: LeFort I osteotomy and maxillary impaction . The LeFort I osteotomy involves cutting the bones around your upper teeth and then repositioning them. On the other hand, maxillary impaction involves surgically removing a portion of your upper jaw and then moving it back into place.
Both of these procedures are effective but have many risks and side effects. As a result, they’re usually only considered when all other options have failed.
Palate expanders are devices that are used to widen your upper jaw gradually. This gives your teeth more room to align correctly and ultimately correct an overbite. Palate expanders are often used in young children whose jaws haven’t fully developed.
Headgear is another device that’s often used to correct an overbite, especially in children. It consists of a metal frame attached to your teeth and then straps around your head. The frame puts pressure on your teeth and jaws, gradually shifting them into the correct position over time.
While headgear is usually effective, it can be pretty uncomfortable to wear, which is why many people opt for other treatments, such as braces and Invisalign .
Treating an overbite is vital to avoid its many negative impacts on your life. If you think you might have an overbite, be sure to talk to your dentist or orthodontist about the best treatment options.