Overbite vs. Overjet: Understanding the Difference

Overbite vs. Overjet: Understanding the Difference By Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. on June 24, 2018

Crooked teeth can lead to a number of problems when it comes to the health and appearance of your smile. Thankfully there are many treatment options out there that can improve the overall dental alignment and appearance of your smile. At our Flowood, MS cosmetic dentistry center, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

A number of patients who come to our practice suffer from overbites or overjets. It’s common to conflate the two issues, but they are actually two separate problems entirely. Let’s take a moment to go over the differences between an overbite and an overjet, and then cover the basic treatment options.

What Is an Overbite?

An overbite refers to a projection of the upper teeth over the lower teeth. A slight overbite is considered healthy, but a pronounced overbite is usually the source of a number of dental health and smile aesthetic issues.

Why Overbites Are a Problem

If you have a pronounced overbite, it can give your teeth a buck-toothed appearance. This can leave you feeling self-conscious about your appearance, and reluctant to laugh, smile, or speak around others. In terms of the dental health impact, overbites can lead to difficulties biting and chewing. A major overbite can also increase your risk of teeth grinding (bruxism) and TMJ disorders (TMD).

Treatment Options for Overbites

When it comes to treating overbites, the best option tends to be orthodontic care. The use of braces and other oral appliances can correct the position of the teeth and even create a more ideal shape for the upper dental arch.

For more pronounced overbite issues, orthodontic care alone may not be enough. In these instances, oral surgery will be required to make the additional adjustments to the alignment of the smile. After the dental surgery is performed, orthodontic care will follow to make fine corrections to dental alignment.

What Is an Overjet?

An overjet refers to instances in which the upper teeth cover up the lower teeth. A slight overjet is considered healthy, but a major overjet can cause various issues. An overjet is often an aspect of an overbite, though it’s possible to have a pronounced overbite without a pronounced overjet.

Why Overjets Are a Problem

Like overbites, overjets can lead to cosmetic flaws as well as dental health issues. A buck-toothed smile is often more pronounced if a person suffers from a major overjet. Issues such as teeth grinding and TMJ disorders are also more likely given how an overjet impacts a person’s overall dental alignment.

Treatment Options for Overjets

When treating an overjet, orthodontic care plays an essential role. Braces, palatal spacers, and other kinds of appliances can apply carefully controlled pressure that enhances the patient’s overall dental alignment.

As with overbites, major overjets may require oral surgery to be treated. Once the oral surgery makes major adjustments to the structures of the palate and/or jawbone, orthodontic care is used to fully improve the alignment of the smile.

Contact Family Dental Care

To learn more about treating malocclusion and improving your smile, be sure to contact an experience cosmetic and restorative dentist. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you in much greater detail.