What is an overbite? Here is all you should know

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An overbite, also called buck teeth, occurs when the upper teeth overlap and excessively bite down the lower teeth. Normally, people should have a slight overbite of up to 4mm. However, anything beyond this amount overlapping the bottom teeth is called an overbite.

If left untreated, a severe overbite can cause several dental issues including gum disease and jaw joint pain. Others may also find it to be unattractive with the upper lip protruding.

Avoid these dental and aesthetic concerns by getting a consult with a dentist or an orthodontist. Depending on the case, treatment ranges from braces to surgery and orthodontic devices to correct your smile.

What is an overbite?

A healthy bite is when the upper and lower teeth slightly overlap, with the upper teeth covering the lower teeth by a few millimeters. A normal overbite ranges from 2 – 4mm. In excess or lesser than this is a sign of a type of malocclusion (excess overbite) due to an improper bite.

If the upper teeth extend beyond 4mm in covering the lower teeth, this is referred to as an overbite or buck teeth.

Overbite illustration blog scaled

What are the problems of an overbite?

A minimal bad bite may not be as noticeable and, usually, does not pose health risks. So, most patients can get away without having it treated. However, if you have a moderate to severe case of an overbite, treatment should be done right away. Otherwise, the following health concerns may occur:

  • Gum and periodontal disease
  • Difficulty with chewing, eating
  • Speech problems
  • Jaw pain
  • Increased risk for tooth decay
  • Trauma to the tongue and teeth
  • Breathing issues (sleep apnea)

Aside from these dental and health problems, a severe overbite may also significantly alter the patient’s facial profile and muscle tone. This causes cosmetic issues and a major confidence downgrade.

What are the causes of an overbite?

Some common causes of overbite are:


Discrepancy in jaw size and shape is the most common cause of overbite and this is largely due to genetics. If the jaws are too small to accommodate all teeth, it may cause overbite because the teeth do not have enough space to properly align. It may also be that the upper teeth are too large compared to the lower teeth, resulting in the appearance of buck teeth. Some genetic conditions such as Treacher-Collins Syndrome may also cause an overbite.

Oral developmental habits

Thumb sucking, using a pacifier until a later age, tongue thrusting, and chronic nail biting may also cause overbite. When prolonged, these habits shift the alignment of the teeth and the position of the bite.

Missing or extra teeth

Spacing or crowding may also cause an overbite as it affects the position and alignment of the permanent teeth. This may also occur when there is an impacted tooth that is pushing the rest of the teeth forward, causing buck teeth.

What are the types of overbite correction?

To determine the most suitable treatment method, your dentist or orthodontist will assess whether the type of overbite is dental or skeletal in nature.

Dental overbites are those that are dependent on the alignment of the teeth and the position of the bite. Meanwhile, skeletal is related to the shape and size of the jaw. Then, depending on the age of the patient, recommendations may include:

Dental braces

The most common treatment for a dental overbite is orthodontic braces. Treatment with braces involves brackets, wires, rubbers, and elastics that put pressure on the teeth. This helps to o properly align the teeth, position the bite, and resolve the malocclusion.

Depending on the range of severity, the braces treatment may last between 6 months to 2 years. Afterwards, the patient is required to wear retainers to avoid relapse and keep the teeth in place.

Orthodontic appliances

For younger, growing patients suffering from a skeletal or dental overbite, appliances such as a headgear or palatal expander combined with braces may help. These functional appliances effectively exert pressure on the jaws to accommodate and align the teeth better.


Aside from traditional braces, you may also opt for clear aligners such as Invisalign to fix an overbite. The clear aligner technology utilizes custom-made, plastic mouthpieces that fit snugly over the teeth. This exerts gentle and continuous pressure to aid in tooth movement and bite correction.

Compared with metal braces, Invisalign is more comfortable, discreet, and convenient. However, clear aligners are mainly used for the treatment of minor malocclusions only. So, it is best to consult with your orthodontist for an efficient treatment plan.

Jaw surgery

More severe skeletal overbites and malocclusions are best treated with orthognathic jaw surgery. This is a multispeciality treatment that requires the skill and knowledge of a dentist, orthodontist, and oral surgeon.

Jaw surgery may be done on the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both, wherever the deformity is present. It involves reshaping the jaws to fix asymmetry and create a more harmonious bite and smile.

Because of the complicated treatment, getting jaw surgery is a long-term process. After the surgery itself, a splint is worn to train the bite. Then, braces are placed to keep the teeth in the proper position.

Overbite Treatment at Cosmedica Dental

If you are suffering from an overbite, the best time to schedule a consultation is today!

At Cosmedica Dental, our dentist uses up-to-date technology to properly assess the cause of the malocclusion. We use X-rays and various imaging techniques and models to determine a definitive diagnosis and design an effective treatment plan.

With advanced dental technology and a wide range of treatment options for the correction of an overbite, our team at our dental clinic in Turkey can help you achieve a life-changing smile and healthy bite.

Contact us to learn more!