Overbite vs. Overjet: Knowing the Difference By Thomas G. Zarger Jr., D.D.S. on June 09, 2018

A woman smilingFew people are born with a perfect smile. That’s where a dentist can help. Thanks to cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and orthodontic procedures, people who suffer from various dental problems can have a perfectly aligned and healthy smile.

The team at our Knoxville, TN practice would like to consider both overbites and overjets. These two issues with dental alignment are often confused, but they each refer to specific kinds of problems when it comes to your upper set of teeth.

What Is an Overbite?

An overbite refers to instances in which the top row of teeth projects too far outward beyond the lower row of teeth. An ideal bite does have a slight overbite, but too much of an overbite is a problem, both cosmetically and in terms of overall dental health.

Problems Caused by Overbites

If you suffer from an overbite, the aesthetics of your smile may be the source of self-consciousness. Major overbites may cause you to have a buck-toothed smile. This can affect facial aesthetics in a serious way in addition to smile aesthetics.

In addition, a major overbite will often result in issues with dental alignment. Biting and chewing certain foods can be difficult, and may even feel painful. The risk of teeth grinding (bruxism) is also higher because of issues such as an overbite.

Treatments for Overbites

To treat an overbite, the ideal option for treatment is typically the use of braces and other orthodontic devices. These orthodontic appliances reshape the dental arch, and can help alter the position of the upper teeth relative to lower teeth.

For some overbites, oral surgery will be necessary. This can alter the shape of the dental arch and palate, and also improve the position of the jaw if needed. Following oral surgery, braces can be used for fine adjustments of dental lining.

What Is an Overjet?

An overjet may be an aspect of an overbite. In an overjet, the upper teeth drape over and cover up a significant portion of the lower teeth. A slight overjet is considered healthy, but a major overjet should be a cause for concern.

Problems Caused by Overjets

As with overbites, an overjet can be cause for major self-consciousness. Typically a person who has a buck-toothed smile suffer from some degree of an overjet.

In addition to the aesthetic issues an overjet is generally the sign of poor dental alignment, and can make eating certain foods extremely difficult or uncomfortable. With an overjet, issues such as teeth grinding and TMJ disorders are far more likely.

Treatments for Overjets

Treating an overjet will typically involve the use of braces and other orthodontic appliances. These will help correct some issues with poor tooth alignment, as well as the position/shape of the dental arch.

Oral surgery may be required to make major adjustments to the upper palate as well as the position of the jaw. As with overbite treatment, braces and orthodontics will play a role after the oral surgery is performed in order to achieve optimal dental alignment.

Contact an Experienced Dentist

For more information on straightening your teeth and helping you have a smile that’s healthy and beautiful, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.

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Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., DDS Family Dentistry in Knoxville

Our practice has provided skilled and compassionate dentistry for patients in the Knoxville, TN, community for over 30 years. Dr. Zarger is a member of:

  • American Dental Association
  • Second District Dental Society
  • Tennessee Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

We strive to make care convenient and affordable to all patients and accept CareCredit financing to help reduce the cost of treatment. Schedule your consultation today online, or by calling (865) 693-7631.

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