Overbites & Overjets; How are they different?
Overbites and overjets are two of the most common orthodontic issues. While many people use these terms interchangeably these two dental concerns are actually completely different.
Overbite (Deep Bite)
An overbite happens when a third of your lower front teeth are covered by your upper front teeth. The main difference between an overbite and an overjet is that an overbite is vertical while the overjet occurs horizontally.
Overjet (Buck Teeth)
A significant horizontal overlap of your top teeth over your bottom teeth is known as an overjet or 'buck teeth'.
There is a natural overlap that occurs for everyone, but any space of more than 2 millimetres will cause issues.
Overbites are vertical, while overjets are horizontal and cause the upper teeth to protrude past the bottom teeth at an angle. But with an overbite, the teeth remain downward or straight (not on an angle).
What causes overbites and overjets?
The most common cause for overbite is that the lower jaw is somewhat smaller than the upper jaw, resulting in the lower teeth resting behind the upper teeth and moving downwards as wear on your teeth takes place.
More gum will tend to show on your upper teeth, and your upper front teeth sit slightly lower than the teeth beside them (upper side teeth, or canines).
Some children had thumb-sucking habits growing up and these conditions can be more common in these cases.
Similar to overbites, childhood habits such as finger or thumb sucking can cause overjet if they persist when adult teeth begin to emerge. Another common cause is that the lower jawbone (mandible) fails to keep up with the development of the forward growth of the upper jawbone (maxillary). This disparity in growth results in the bottom jawbone (and consequently the teeth), ending up situated behind where they should be for an ideal smile.
If you have an overjet or overbite it is also possible that they are caused by genetic factors.
What issues do patients with an overjet or overbite face?
In extreme cases of overbite, there may be a breaking down of the gum tissue as well as the teeth due to the upper teeth resting on the gums along the bottom teeth.
With an overjet, your risk of damaging your teeth or fracturing them increases. Some overjets are barely noticeable as they are moderate, while others are more severe and can make it difficult to close your lips completely due to poor alignment of teeth. You may also notice challenges with chewing or biting.
Can clear aligners help realign your overbite or overjet?
If the overbite or overjet is caused by bone formation then your dentist or orthodontist may recommend oral surgery as clear aligners are not suitable for these situations.
However, if the overjet or overbite is caused by one of the issues listed above, we may be able to treat the problem with clear aligners. Your orthodontist will create a treatment plan that will help your teeth move back to a more natural position relieving the symptoms associated with an overbite or overjet.
The clear aligners also move your gum at the same time, keeping proportions in check. You will need to wear your clear aligners for about 22 hours each day, removing them to brush, floss, eat and drink.
Your teeth will progressively shift with the aligners, and you’ll switch to a new set approximately every two weeks. Your custom treatment plan could involve wearing as many as 26 trays, which equates to one tray every two weeks for 12 months.
Before you start your treatment, your orthodontist will be able to show you a preview of how your new smile will look by the end of your treatment. Take the first step to schedule a consultation with your orthodontist to learn if you are a candidate for clear aligners.