Do you have an overbite? You might not even know it! Many people don’t realise they have an overbite until their dentist or orthodontist tells them.

An overbite is when your top teeth overlap your bottom ones more than they should.

A dental overjet is when the upper teeth protrude too far over the lower front teeth. It can give the appearance of buck teeth, also commonly referred to as “rabbit teeth”

What causes an Overjet?

There can be several causes of an overjet, including genetics, facial structure, a recessive chin, bad habits, and misalignment.

An overjet is usually hereditary and runs in the family for many patients. Genetic traits, such as jaw shape can affect tooth alignment. In some cases, overbite is simply due to how permanent teeth grow; if the upper teeth overlap or the lower teeth are too far back.

Growth spurts can cause an overbite. During a growth spurt, the jaws grow at different rates (upper jaw growing more than the bottom jaw), which can cause upper and lower teeth to become misaligned. Buck teeth can get worse during this time.

Childhood habits such as thumb sucking or “tongue thrusting” is another common cause for buck teeth in children. To tongue thrust, is when the tongue presses too far forward in the mouth and puts pressure on baby teeth.

Losing teeth can cause remaining teeth to shift or crowd over time which causes an overbite from tooth loss.

Additionally, overbites occur as a result of teeth grinding (bruxism). It can wear down the teeth and shift out of place.

What causes Overbite?

Usually caused by having an overjet. When the upper teeth protrude out from the lower teeth the front teeth usually erupt or overgrow more than they should, leading to an increased overbite

Health Risk

An increased deep overbite can lead to gum biting. This can lead to ulcerations and gum disease of the upper front teeth in adulthood. In children, it may lead to difficulty eating.

An increased overjet may be a sign of a short bottom jaw. A short lower jaw may increase the risk of having obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition where you do not get enough oxygen when sleeping and you don’t get enough sleep because you wake up too frequently.

Speech Impediment

An overjet can cause speech problems in a few ways.

Firstly, an overjet can alter a person’s ability to produce tongue-tip sounds such as the “s” sound.

Secondly, an untreated overbite can cause a person to lisp or have difficulty pronouncing certain words correctly.

In severe overbite cases, the upper front teeth can cover the lower front teeth too much, making it difficult to speak clearly.

Jaw Pain

Alignment issues of the teeth and jaws cause jaw pain. When the teeth are not in line, it stresses the muscles and joints in the jaw. It can lead to pain, stiffness, and other health problems.

Overbite can cause jaw pain for a few different reasons.

First, if your teeth are misaligned, it can stress your jaw muscles unnecessarily, leading to pain and discomfort.

Additionally, an overbite can cause your teeth to wear down unevenly, leading to jaw pain.

Tooth Decay

Overbite can result in tooth decay, cavities, gum damage or gum disease for a few reasons.

First, when having crooked teeth that are overcrowded or misaligned, it can be challenging to brush and floss properly. It can lead to plaque buildup and a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Second, an overbite can stress the teeth and jaw, leading to chips, cracks, and other damage. This damage can also make it easier for plaque and bacteria to enter a tooth and cause decay or disease.

Finally, it can change tooth shape over time, making them more likely to experience decay or damage.

Sleep Apnea

An increased overjet may be a sign of a narrow upper and short lower jaw. This may be an indicator of narrow airways. Difficulty breathing or increased effort to breathe may result in obstructive sleep apnea or sleep-disordered breathing.

Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing for short periods during sleep. It can happen numerous times throughout the night and lead to serious health complications like changes in blood vessels, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

In children, obstructive sleep apnoea can result in poor concentration and poor school performance. In severe forms, it can lead to failure to thrive and stunt growth.

People with an overbite problem are more likely to experience sleep apnea because their teeth block their airways, making breathing difficult. It can lead to snoring, gasping, or choking sounds during sleep.

Discomfort or Pain while Chewing

There are a few different ways that dental overbite can result in discomfort while chewing.

If the teeth are not correctly aligned, it can put undue stress on the jaw muscles and lead to pain or discomfort.

Additionally, if there is excessive wear on the teeth from improper alignment, this can also lead to discomfort.

If food gets caught between the teeth more quickly due to overbite and overcrowding, this can also cause discomfort while chewing.

Finally, if the lower front teeth are connecting with the upper palate this can cause pain and ulceration to the upper palate.


There are several orthodontic treatment methods to correct an overbite, depending on the severity of the problem.

In a slight overbite, orthodontic treatment options like braces or Invisalign may be enough to improve the alignment of the teeth. However, more severe cases like a deep overbite may need surgery to correct the problem.


Braces like ceramic braces and clear aligners are the most common treatment to correct an overbite by moving the teeth into their correct position over time with braces.

In some cases, braces can be used to move only the teeth affected by the overbite with metal brackets and rubber bands or o-rings.

If your overbite is severe, traditional metal braces may be the best option to correct it. The braces that will be best for you depend on your overbite severity and your individual needs.


Invisalign treatment can correct an overbite in two ways: by aligning the teeth so that they fit together correctly or by using a particular type of Invisalign tray called a “bite ramp”, which helps to push them into their correct positions.

Additionally, Invisalign is much more discreet than traditional braces, making clear plastic aligners a popular choice for patients of all ages.

Palate Expander

The Palate Expander treats buck teeth. It is an orthodontic appliance placed in the mouth and attached to the teeth.

As the expander turns, it gradually widens the palate and corrects the overjet and overbite. It helps to correct the alignment of the teeth and jaws and can also improve breathing and speech.

Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is a complex procedure for jaw problems that only a qualified and experienced oral surgeon should perform.

This surgery can correct an overbite by expanding the upper jaw and bringing the bottom teeth forward. It will, in turn, move the teeth into a better alignment and improve the bite.


Overbite vs Overjet

An overbite is when the front teeth bite down too far over the bottom. An overjet is when the upper front teeth protrude too far out than the lower front teeth. Both of these conditions are considered “buck teeth.”

Can an overbite go away on its own?

An overbite may improve as a child grows and develops, but sometimes treatment may be necessary to correct the problem as it can worsen over time.

Consult with a dentist or orthodontist to determine the best course of action.

At what age should you fix an overbite?

Overbite correction as early as possible is generally best. For children, ideally, before they reach 8 or 9.

Early treatment is less likely to cause long-term problems, such as difficulty chewing or speaking correctly and also helps prevent developing more serious dental problems later in life with adult teeth.

In Summary

An overbite can cause several problems and is not a normal bite. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious dental problems.

Consult your orthodontist for the correct treatment type for your overbite.

Always remember to properly clean your teeth, have regular checkups and have good oral hygiene, particularly if you wear braces.