Modern orthodontic treatment can address a variety of issues, including overbites and underbites. When the front teeth cover the lower teeth in a distinct manner, it is called an overbite. Many people have some degree of overbite, but in lots of cases, no treatment is required.
With an underbite, the lower front teeth protrude out in front of the top teeth, and the lower jaw may be much more prominent. In some cases, an underbite will resolve itself. If the underbite is severe and it is not treated, temperomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, poor bite, an uneven tooth wear can occur.
Usually, you inherit the tendency toward an overbite or underbite, just like eye color or height. Sometimes, a bite becomes misaligned because of other factors such as early tooth loss, improper restorations, habits such as thumb sucking, or facial trauma. Misalignments can create additional oral health problems such as pain, increased risk of cavities, and strain on the whole chewing system.
To determine the best treatment, your orthodontist will first take X-rays and perform a complete examination. Then, the doctor will make recommendations to correct the overbite or underbite. Depending on the situation, a removable retainer may address the problem. Most of the time, braces will be needed to move the teeth into the proper position. Rarely, with an extreme overbite or underbites, surgery may be the suggested treatment course.