Did you know that approximately 36 percent of Americans have a fear of going to the dentist? This fear keeps many Americans out of the dentist’s chair and away from the care that their oral health requires. Some common issues that many people overlook are alignment and bite problems like overbites and underbites.
If you’ve never heard these terms, you might be wondering about the differences between overbite vs underbite. These dental issues have more than aesthetic consequences for your oral health. Read on to learn all about these common bite and alignment problems and how to fix them.
What Is an Overbite?
It is normal for your upper teeth to overlap your lower teeth a small amount, but there are instances in which too much overlap results in an overbite.
In general, your bite is considered to be an overbite if your upper teeth extend 4 mm to 10 mm over your lower teeth. Some orthodontists will classify your bite as an overbite if they extend over 2 mm over your lower teeth.
Overbites are caused by a number of issues. Genetics can play a large part in the way your teeth align. It can also be caused by injuries to the mouth or jaws, crowns that aren’t fitted properly, or even gum disease.
Overbites are super common among children and adults alike. In fact, overbites are the most common bite and alignment issue altogether. During your regular dental checkups, your dentist will measure the amount of overlap to help you determine when you have an issue.
What Is an Underbite?
An underbite is a condition where your lower teeth extend beyond and over your upper teeth. People who have issues with an underbite frequently appear to have a protruding chin, but this may be more subdued in less extreme cases.
Apart from cosmetic concerns, an underbite can have a major impact on your quality of life. People with an overbite might find it difficult to bite and chew their food and experience pain in their mouth and face. It can also make you more prone to biting your cheeks or tongue and have problems when you speak.
Like overbites, underbites can be caused by a number of different things, including genetics. Many overbites are caused by childhood habits like thumb sucking and using a pacifier after the age of three. Injuries to the face and jawbone can also cause damage that results in an underbite.
What About Crossbites?
There are other forms of alignment and bite issues apart from overbites and underbites. One other less common issue is a crossbite.
A crossbite occurs when your top teeth fit inside of your lower teeth because your upper teeth are more narrow than the bottom. Ordinarily, your upper teeth are slightly wider than your lower teeth, and your molars fit together. Crossbites often make it appear as if your upper and lower teeth are curving in toward each other.
If you suspect that you might have a crossbite, then it’s important to seek out an orthodontist as soon as possible to evaluate the issue.
Crowding is another common form of bite and alignment issue that people face.
Crowding occurs when there is not enough space in your mouth for your teeth to grow in straight. This can cause teeth to come in crooked, rotate, and even overlap each other.
Crowding is caused by several different issues. It can occur when your teeth are larger than your jaw or your jaw is simply too small. It commonly occurs when you lose your baby teeth and your other teeth move into that space instead of your adult tooth.
Overbite vs Underbite: Who Wins?
You might be wondering whether it’s worse to have an overbite or an underbite, so let’s break it down.
Both overbites and underbites are forms of the same issue. They’re known as a form of malocclusion, which is defined as a condition where the upper and lower rows of teeth do not meet. Crossbites are also a form of malocclusion.
In general, underbites can have more serious consequences, but neither condition should be ignored.
Malocclusions vary in severity and can make it difficult for you to do critical things like chew and eat. If you’re concerned about your bite issues, whether for oral health reasons or purely out of aesthetic concern, then you should see an orthodontist. Only an orthodontist can tell you whether your overbite, underbite, or crossbite is severe enough for intervention and give you your options for treatment.
As with most issues, the sooner you take care of it, the better off you will be. If you suspect that your child might have an alignment issue, then you should speak to your dentist or orthodontist about your options. Bite and alignment issues are easier to fix in children, but can also be resolved in adults.
How Do You Fix These Issues?
Overbites, underbites, crossbites, and crowding all have associated treatments to help realign your bite.
The most common form of treatment is braces. Even though people most commonly associate braces with teenagers, there are plenty of discreet options available for adults who want to fix their bite, like Invisalign. Another common treatment for these conditions is a palatal expander which will help increase the width of your palate.
Your orthodontist will offer you a treatment plan that works for your individual needs.
Are You Ready to Get Your Teeth In Good Shape?
There are many different bite issues that can impact your oral health. When it comes to overbite vs underbite, both require corrective action in order to keep your mouth healthy, and the longer you wait, the worse the condition will get. It’s never too late to take control of your beautiful smile, so act now!
If you’re ready to fix your bite and alignment issues, then you need to find an experienced orthodontist. Weiss & Tor Orthodontics has two offices conveniently located in Middleburgh Heights and Orange Village, Ohio. Contact us today to learn how we can help you reach your smile goals.