Why Overjets and Overbites Aren’t the Same

Overbite and overjet Carmel IN orthodontists

When you have a bite issue, you know it to be just that: something wrong with the way your upper and lower teeth fit together. Unless you’re a professional like one of our Carmel, IN, orthodontists, discerning between two similar conditions, like overjets and overbites, can be hard and lead to one being confused for another.

Here’s the difference between overjets and overbites plus what treatment may look like for either bite problem.

How the Two Get Mistaken

They both have “over” in their name and are bite problems so they have to be the same, right? Not quite. While both overjets and overbites do involve how the front teeth sit in relation to the bottom teeth, there is one key distinction.

An overjet deals with a horizontal extension of the front teeth that can commonly be referred to as “buck teeth”. Overbites, however, describe vertical misalignment that occurs between the upper and lower front teeth. This can result in an excessive overlap and in severe cases, can mean that the lower teeth touch the gum tissue behind the upper front teeth.

Both are common and nothing to be ashamed of if you have one. Dr. Davila or Dr. Hani would be glad to speak with you or your child one-on-one to find the best course of action in terms of orthodontic treatment.

Underlying Causes for Overjets & Overbites

While it mainly comes down to genetics and family history, there are other reasons behind why an overbite or overjet may occur. One of those reasons is jaw size or shape. When a patient’s jaw is either too small or larger than what may be expected, malocclusion (a bad bite) can happen.

For example, a smaller jaw can cause teeth to grow misaligned or crowded while a bigger jaw can mean that the teeth drift and space out a bit too much. Habits during childhood like thumb sucking and using a pacifier can also increase the risk of developing an overbite or overjet.

Do I Have an Overbite or Overjet? Symptoms Beyond Appearance

Many bite problems are obvious when a person smiles but that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of other felt symptoms. Our orthodontists will consider all angles before making any overbite or overjet diagnosis and want to hear firsthand what’s being experienced day to day.

Noticeable symptoms caused by an overbite or overjet can include: 

  • A grinding feeling as upper and lower teeth move together
  • Sore or painful jaw
  • Headaches
  • Instances of cavities or gum issues even though you brush and floss regularly
  • Trouble speaking (i.e., lisp) or chewing properly
  • Breathing with your mouth open

Professional Treatment Solutions

Whether you’re an adult seeking orthodontic treatment or you feel it’s time for your child to be evaluated, we offer several different options to choose from inside our Carmel, IN, orthodontics office. Depending on your preferences, you can decide to go the more traditional route or switch it up and try something less obvious in appearance.

The following can be used to treat overbites or overjets:

There is a chance that orthodontic surgery may be necessary if the malocclusion is severe enough. Dr. Davila and Dr. Hani will be sure to discuss this with you if it becomes clear that advanced intervention is essential.

Make an Appointment With Dr. Davila or Dr. Hani

If you’re feeling self-conscious about your own bite problem or want to tackle the issue early on with regards to your child’s smile, our orthodontists in Carmel, IN, are ready to help. Call WestClay Orthodontics today at (317) 593-1400 to request an appointment and speak with our team in depth about treatment possibilities.