Overbite and Underbite



November 3, 2015
Overbite and Underbite: sounds like a great topic for a comedy club! Overbite actually refers to the upper front teeth sticking out over the bottom teeth in a biting relationship. While a small amount of overbite is considered normal, an excessive amount of overbite or protrusion is a concern. Besides the associated awkward look, protruded front teeth are more susceptible to chipping and breaking in the event of facial trauma.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an underbite is when the top front teeth are under or behind the bottom front teeth in a closed biting position. Also called a “bulldog” bite, an underbite is often associated with a strong lower jaw and a protruded chin.

The majority of bite problems are hereditary, though they may skip a generation and may not be seen in the mother or father. Other times, habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrust can cause problems with the bite. Whether or not it is an esthetic concern, overbites and underbites can cause premature tooth wear on the outside layer of enamel or jaw joint (TMJ) noises or pains. Sometimes problems with speech or chewing can also be seen.

Regardless of the bite problem, orthodontists are trained to help. Proper diagnosis and timing are critical. Depending on the cause of the problem, early treatment may be recommended to avoid more invasive treatment at a later time. If the severity of the problem is slight, often braces or Invisalign are effective at solving the issue. In more severe cases, appliances to balance jaw growth can be used at an early age to help correct the bite alignment.

If you suspect that your child might have an overbite or underbite, or your dentist has already alerted you to the issue, please feel free to call us for a free consultation: (856) 234-4044 in Moorestown, NJ and (609) 267-1221 in Mount Holly, NJ.