How Orthodontists Treat Overbite and Underbite
Are you looking for ways to improve your smile? If so, orthodontic treatments may be the perfect solution. Orthodontists are highly specialized professionals in the field of dentistry who can help you resolve various dental issues, including overbite and underbite. Orthodontists specialize in correcting misaligned jaws and teeth, helping to improve your smile and dental health. Keep reading to learn more about overbite and underbite treatment!
What is an Overbite or Underbite, and What are the Effects on Oral Health?
An overbite occurs when the upper teeth stick out over the lower teeth, while an underbite is just the opposite; the lower front teeth protrude over the upper front teeth. Both conditions can cause various health issues, such as:
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw pain
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Speech impairment
How Orthodontists Diagnose and Treat these Conditions
Orthodontists diagnose overbites and underbites through a series of tests and examinations. This includes checking the jaw alignment, teeth positioning, and bite size. Once it's diagnosed, treatment depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases, orthodontists will recommend a combination of treatments to correct overbite or underbite:
Treatment for Overbites
- Braces: Orthodontists may recommend braces to realign the top teeth over the bottom teeth. Braces work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth over time, gradually repositioning them over the lower teeth.
- Aligners/Invisalign: Aligners are clear plastic trays worn over the teeth. They look very similar to a mouthguard and help correct overbite by gently moving the top teeth over the bottom teeth over time. At the same time, Invisalign is an advanced form of aligner that uses 3D digital imaging technology to create custom-fitted aligners for each patient.
Treatment for Underbites
- Chin Cap: Chin caps are a type of orthodontic appliance used to realign the lower jaw over the upper jaw. They work by placing gentle pressure on the lower jaw over time, helping to push it over the upper jaw.
- Jaw Expander: The process involves an orthodontist customizing a jaw expander that fits the patient's mouth. The expander consists of two halves connected by a screw in the middle. As the screw is turned, it applies gentle pressure to the teeth and expands them outward. Over time, this will cause new bone to form in the area, and the jaw will gradually move into its correct position.
Other treatment options for overbite and underbite include:
- Retainers: Are used to keep your teeth in their new positions after overbite or underbite treatment.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the conditions. This type of corrective surgery is usually the last resort and should only be considered if other treatments have been unsuccessful.
Risks Associated with Orthodontic Treatment
Yes, patients should be aware of certain risks associated with orthodontic treatment before undergoing any treatment. These include:
- Uncomfortable pressure on the teeth or jaw during treatment
- Pain and irritation while wearing braces or aligners
- Damage to existing dental work, such as crowns and fillings
- Unsuccessful treatment that results in the need for additional treatments or surgery
Additionally, orthodontic treatment can take a long time to reach its desired outcome. Therefore, patients should be prepared to commit to regular visits and follow-up appointments with their orthodontist throughout treatment.
How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Usually Take?
The length of orthodontic treatment for these conditions can vary greatly. It generally takes at least 6 months to a year before the desired outcome is achieved, but in some cases, it may take longer, depending on the severity of the condition. The end result of orthodontic treatment is a better functioning jaw and dental alignment that leads to improved oral health.
Get Your Overbite or Underbite Treated at a myOrthos Practice Location
Orthodontic treatment can improve the health, function, and aesthetics of your smile. If you or your child is suffering from an overbite or underbite, myOrthos can help. Our practices have a team of highly qualified orthodontists who are dedicated to helping patients achieve their ideal smiles. Find a practice near you today to get started on the path to a beautiful, healthy smile.