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John P. Goodman DDS

Overbite vs. Overjet: What Is the Difference?

By Dr. John Goodman on July 23, 2018

A set of nicely aligned teethGood dental alignment is essential for a nice smile and a healthy mouth. Not everyone is born with a perfectly straight set of teeth, however. Thankfully our Kansas City, MO cosmetic dentistry center can help improve the alignment of your smile, enhancing your appearance and improving various aspects of your general health.

Overbites and overjets are two dental alignment issues we see quite a bit. Many patients think they are the same thing, but they are two separate yet often related issues. Let’s take a moment to compare and contrast these problems and discuss treatment options.

About Overbites

An overbite refers to the front teeth being further forward in your mouth than your bottom teeth. An ideal smile has a slight overbite. A major overbite can be an issue, however, and requires orthodontic treatment to avoid different kinds of dental health problems.

Why an Overbite Is a Problem

In terms of smile aesthetics, an overbite can cause you to suffer from a bucktoothed smile. This can be aesthetically unappealing, so much so that you could feel self-conscious about laughing, smiling, and speaking, even around friends, family, and co-workers.

An overbite can also impact dental health. Poor tooth alignment can make it painful to bite and chew. You might even wind up biting your lower lip when having a meal given your tooth alignment. Crooked teeth of any sort can also increase the risk of teeth grinding (bruxism), which makes tooth fractures, gum recession, and TMJ disorders (TMD) more likely.

Treatments for Overbites

When it comes to treating overbites, your best option is typically orthodontic treatment. The use of braces, headgear, and palatal spacers can improve the position of the upper dental arch, creating a better overall bite and smile.

For serious overbites that cannot be corrected through orthodontics alone, oral surgery may be recommended. Oral surgery will allow more control in repositioning the structures of the mouth. Following oral surgery, orthodontic care may be used to help fine tune the patient’s dental alignment.

About Overjets

An overjet is an aspect of an overbite. Overjets refer to the amount that your upper teeth overlap over your lower teeth. As with overbites, a slight overjet is ideal for dental alignment, but a major overjet is a problem that needs to be corrected.

Why an Overjet Is a Problem

An overjet can exacerbate the cosmetic and health problems associated with an overbite.

The overjet can make a bucktoothed smile more pronounced, for instance, and can leave your smile looking even less appealing. This is especially true of overjets the almost entirely conceal the lower teeth. Issues with teeth grinding, pain while chewing, and biting the lower lip can also become more serious because of a major overjet.

Treatments for Overjets

Treating an overjet may require orthodontic care, oral surgery, or a combination of both. By shifting the position of your teeth and revising the structures of the upper dental arch, a more ideal dental alignment can be achieved. The right treatment option for you can be discusses during the consultation process at our practice.

Contact John P. Goodman, D.D.S.

For more information about treating malocclusion and making sure your teeth are properly aligned and healthy, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. We will help you make smart choices regarding your treatment options.

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