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The A to Z of Overbites

When people experience an overbite, the upper and lower dental arches have a gap or overlap between them. Typically, the top teeth sit a little distance over the teeth at the bottom, but when this overlapping distance is excessive, it causes the problem known as an overbite. However, the great news is that in-depth research has been performed by dentists to discover ways to fix this dental disorder. This problem is quite common, making it the reason patients go for braces.

This article aims to give clear explanations of the following:

  • A definition of an overbite
  • Why should overbite be treated?
  • What is the difference between a normal, severe, and deep overbite?
  • What are the forms of treatment for this malocclusion?

Are you struggling with this teeth problem, and it is making you worried? In this article, you will find answers to this common problem. Keep reading.

Table Of Contents

  1. The definition of an overbite
    • Overbite and its causes
    • Types of overbite
    • Comparing overbite and underbite
  2. Is it wrong to have an overbite?
  3. How is an overbite corrected?
    • Braces for overbite
    • Treating overbite with Invisalign
    • Performing surgery as a solution to overbite
  4. Takeaways: Before and after treatment
  5. FAQs
    • How can an overbite be treated?
    • Invisalign for deep bites and overjets: how effective?
    • Is there a natural fix for overbite?
    • Is NHS overbite correction in the UK available?
    • What is a normal overbite?
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The Definition Of An Overbite

Overbite is a condition that occurs when there is an overlap along the straight or horizontal gap just between the front teeth of the upper and lower dental arches.

In a case where the upper lips cannot cover the top teeth adequately because it is projecting at the front of the mouth, it's known as a horizontal overbite. Another name for it is an overjet. Should the protrusion be apparent, it is classified as 'buckteeth' but, this term won't find use here. A vertical gap between the top and bottom teeth is described as an open bite. It can occur together with an overbite.

A typical case of a normal overbite sees the top teeth overlapping the bottom teeth by 30 per cent (2 to 4mm vertically). Where the vertical overlap is between 4 - 6mm or more, the case is now a deep overbite; also referred to as a deep bite. However, a chronic or severe overbite happens when the upper jaw tends to overlap utterly such that the lower teeth are hardly seen, and it may project into the lower gum as well.

An overbite can occur horizontally and vertically. It implies that the upper teeth stretch further at the front and bears down on the bottom front teeth lower than the usual.

Overbite And Its Causes

There is a handful of reasons that may be behind the occurrence of this oral concern, and most common among them are:

  • A poorly-developed fetal jaw
  • Genetics
  • Nail-biting
  • Sucking of the thumb as a child
  • Biting of nails
  • Too much chewing on hard substances like pencils and pens
  • Too much use of a bottle or dummy in childhood
  • Tongue thrusting

Types Of Overbite

The two kinds of an overbite include:    

  • Skeletal - caused by abnormal development of the jaw bone
  • Dental - Caused by the problems encountered during the growth of baby or adult teeth. Issues like overcrowding, or pressure on the teeth which happens in the case of thumb sucking can trigger this overbite type

Comparing Overbite And Underbite

When you have an overbite, your upper jaw extends or hangs over the bottom teeth, while an underbite occurs the exact opposite. Here the bottom teeth protrude over the front of or overlap the top teeth. Need more information concerning underbite, kindly contact a dentist at our practice.

Is it wrong to have an overbite?

You may be going through a case of a deep bite or overjet, and you're concerned. To make matters simple, the British Orthodontic Society has arranged a classification system for orthodontic problems in children. This system is called the IOTN. The table below helps you identify the nature of an overbite and see what kind of treatment it requires should the need arise.

Types of overbite



Need for Braces?

Need for surgery?



Normally dental

Not likely

Highly unlikely



Could be dental or skeletal

Very likely

Not likely


9mm upwards

Could be dental or skeletal



A myriad of reasons exists why you must treat an overbite. Kindly note that an untreated overbite may cause:

  • Impaired speech
  • Pain or discomfort in the face
  • Ill-defined facial structure
  • Bad oral hygiene
  • Speedy wearing down of the teeth
  • Temp or omandibular joint(TMJ) disorders

If the option of fixing your child's overbite and how effective the treatment will be is still in contemplation, it is our advice that you act fast and now. Recall, it was stated at the beginning of this article, that correcting overbite as a baby is far more comfortable than doing so during adulthood. The reason is that in adults, the jawbones are already developed, strong, and this poses a problem for realignment.

Given the stress that comes with the procedure for getting braces, going through surgery, and putting on retainers for more extended periods, you might be afraid of wanting to straighten your teeth. But hey! the perks of fixing misaligned teeth surpass the discomfort accrued to the treatment.  Most importantly, this pain is only for a limited time, so you should get it done.

How Is An Overbite Corrected?

From the beginning, we mentioned that there is a normal overbite, which is about 2 to 4mm. Which means, if your top teeth are overlapping a little, you need not worry at all.

Your dentist may recommends ever always to fix your bite problem. The type of treatment you get depends mostly on the severity of your case and the cause.

Braces for overbite

Many people facing overbite in London are treated with braces.  When combined with retainers, braces treatment works better and lasts long. But what about the duration of the treatment? This overbite solution can take between 1- 4yearsor more to be completed.

Where you think you need orthodontic treatment privately, the orthodontist may present you with the option of picking clear braces. Unlike traditional braces, nobody will notice you are straightening your teeth with clear braces.

To help the anxious state of most patients about to get braces, we do recommend you ask your dentist for pictures of overbites before and after fixing with braces. The essence of this is to help you realize what braces can do to change your situation, and you will be motivated to go for it despite the non-permanent discomfort you may feel.

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Treating overbite with Invisalign

Dental malocclusion like overjet which are either mild or moderate can be well taken care of by clear aligners from Invisalign. While remaining invisible to others, the clear Invisalign trays will gradually shift your teeth into position through the application of a small and gentle force. In effect, a deep bite can get transformed into regular overtime. After two weeks, patients will get a new set of trays to change the old ones.

Does this mean that metal braces aren't effective? No. However, when it comes to an overbite, Invisalign is a quicker solution and the fact that it works without being noticed makes it more appealing to patients. But aligner braces are not offered on the NHS, so what happens? While this may be true, most parents are ready to pay the additional price to give their children clear braces instead of metal to protect their self-confidence. For adults who are in the professional fields, they have the ease of performing their jobs and living an everyday life unperturbed because Invisalign treatment is discreet. At least nobody will see their trays.

Please note that you and your child has to be qualified before taking Invisalign for overbite correction. To know your eligibility status, you should visit your dentist or contact us for a consultation today.

Performing Surgery As Solution To Overbite

Jaw surgery will be needed should a skeletal problem cause your overbite. This work is also known as orthognathic surgery. Your lower jaw can be surgically reshaped if it is developed poorly. What this means is that your face might look a bit different from what it was post-surgery.

On the NHS, overbite surgery is free of charge for children who are diagnosed to be qualified for it in the UK. Where does this leave the adults? Elderly persons having severe dental problems may be suitable candidates for treatment on the NHS based on their fees.

In the surgical treatment of overbite, the process may require that patients undergo one or more of these:

  • Extraction of a few teeth
  • Breaking and realigning the jaw
  • Fitting screws
  • Installing plates around the jaw

Will this operation leave you with visible scars? No, not at all. Since all the procedure involved is done within the mouth, you need not be afraid of post-surgical scars. Upon completion of an overbite surgery, there may be a need for you to spend a night at the hospital. Following that, school or work has to be put off for2to4weeks. For better alignment of the teeth, patients may be asked to get more orthodontic work pre- and post-surgery has to be done.

Takeaways: Before And After Treatment

People who often opt for the treatment of overbite usually suffer self-consciousness about their appearance, especially when the problem is a deep overbite.

Aside from the feeling of self, a deep overbite can also cause patients to experience pains in the jaw, face, and headaches. Why? The deep overbite is exerting a force which pushes your jaws to the back and put pressure on the nerves and blood movement. This will put more strain on your teeth; causing them to wear down rapidly.

When the problem of overbite has been treated, and your bite becomes normal again, you may observe a difference in your face shape as your jaw now projects to the front, but not excessively. Your pre- and post overbite pictures can help you identify the changes. After correcting your braces with surgery or braces, every ounce of pain and discomfort you had experienced will all begin to fade away hopefully.

People who correct their overbite with braces are often advised to use a retainer after the treatment to stop any movement of the teeth from its new position.


How Can An Overbite Be Treated?

Generally, fixing an overbite is not a complicated thing; the process is relatively easy. Our orthodontists can treat this dental issue effectively given their expertise and experience. It is either you have:

  • A jaw surgery
  • Braces for an overbite or,
  • Use a retainer

Invisalign For Deep bites And Over jets; How Effective?

Mild to moderate overbites can be effectively corrected with clear aligners. But the price attached to the use of Invisalign invisible trays is above the cost of traditional braces for overbite treatment. The fundamental advantage of this procedure is that it doesn't take so much time and people hardly notice it.

Want to know whether you are the right candidate for Invisalign? Then visit your dentist for an assessment.

Is there a natural fix for overbite?

No. You may not be able to correct this malocclusion naturally. Sounds a little bit hard right? For an overbite, you need braces or surgery. Fair enough, those cases of overbite brought on by chewing pens, pencils, overuse of dummies in childhood, or thumb sucking can be put at bay. Lastly, for professional help, you should see a dentist when you have a severe overbite that needs to be fixed.

Is NHS overbite correction in the UK available?

For people below the age of 18, particularly children, the NHS may offer overbite braces or surgery. But note that as it's applicable in other treatments, this work will only get approval on the condition that it is severe. Again, your situation has to be examined by a dentist from the NHS.

The only chance adults have to gain access to braces or surgery for overbite on the NHS is in a case where they are experiencing difficulties with speaking, eating, plus other regular activities due to the severity of the problem. So, before a dentist gives you a recommendation for NHS treatment fees, they will make sure the extent of your overbite is examined thoroughly.

What is a normal overbite?

Where the front teeth of the upper arch hang over the front teeth of the lower arch at a distance of about2to4mm, you have a normal bite. From studies, it is seen that on average, an overbite tooth is 2.9mm. Again, about 8 percent of children in the UK go through a profound or severe overbite spanning 6mm.

In the UK, it is common for recommendations to be made for one to undergo a correction where an overbite problem exceeds 4mm.

Correcting an overbite while it's still fresh is the best. It gives you the chance to avoid future problems which may be severe. Always seek dental advice for cases of malocclusion. Contact us today on 020 37457520.

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