Overbite is a condition that occurs due to dental malocculsions. Generally, the upper teeth align on the lower teeth. While in patients with overbite, the upper teeth excessively overlap the lower teeth i.e., the upper teeth are placed much in front of the lower teeth than needed. It is believed to occur due to developmental problems of the jaw which lead to misalignment of the teeth. The causative factors of an overbite are the genetics of a person and the practice of wrong habits in the childhood such as thumb sucking, extensive use of pacifiers and nail biting.
Normal overbite is 1-2 mm. However, when it exceeds more than 4 mm, it is called deep overbite. This causes side-effects such as speech obstruction, teeth grinding, teeth clenching, tooth decay, life-long jaw pain and aesthetic damage. In addition, presence of an overbite affects self-confidence of a person. Thus, severe overbite is definitely a problem and requires to be treated. The treatment strategies for correction of overbite range from wearing braces, tooth extraction, Invisalign, retainers and jaw surgery.
What is the Most Commonly Used Method of Treating Overbite?
The use of braces is the most common method of treatment for an overbite. Depending on the percentage of overbite, the braces are custom made and the patient has to wear them for 1-2 years. The first stage involves straightening all the teeth and in the second stage the overbite is pushed backwards, such that in due course of time the upper teeth do not overlap on the lower teeth. Although the use of braces is a slow process, it is very effective for correction of a severe overbite. The disadvantage of using braces is that it becomes difficult to maintain a good oral hygiene. The patients are at more risk of tooth decay and gum problems. This can be a serious problem and hence, many people want to avoid the use of braces.
How to Get Rid of an Overbite without Braces?
Besides wearing of braces, there are other methods to get rid of an overbite. These include:
- Tooth Extraction: Overbite results due to overcrowding of the teeth. The extra teeth are removed to make proper space which helps in correct alignment of the teeth.
- Invisalign: This is a relatively new and an easy treatment strategy. It comprises the use of a transparent retainer or clear aligner. It is much newer type of brace with a plastic cup system that is custom made to fit the patient's teeth and to be worn throughout the day. They are aesthetically pleasing as compared to the traditional braces. Invisalign fixes the teeth in such a way that helps in aligning them. The patient has to wear these aligners for 22 hours/day. These are to be changed once in two weeks and the patient has to wear a new one. This treatment lasts for several months to a year. Invisalign has an option where an elastic band can be attached to the top and the bottom aligners, which helps in correcting the overbite. It helps to align the dental line in case of the mild overbite; however, severe overbite cannot be effectively treated using invisalign.
- Other Orthodontic Devices: Various other orthodontic devices are also used especially in case of the skeletal overbites. These include-
- Retainers are used by attaching to the inner surface of the teeth to prevent them from shifting over time. This method helps to correct patient's bite and make the teeth straight. A fixed retainer is a good long term solution.
- Jaw expanders are inserted to expand or widen the arch of the upper teeth. This creates space for the teeth to move into their correct positions.
- Orthodontic devices such as the Herbst appliance correct the jaw imperfection by making the teeth straight.
- Headgear is another appliance which whelps in aligning the teeth without the use of braces.
- Jaw Surgery: Corrective jaw surgery is done in case of adults to correct overbite of skeletal nature and when the jaw bone is abnormally placed in front of the lower teeth. The surgical procedure helps in repositioning of the entire jaw. This procedure is not done in case of children since they are still growing and is performed only in their adolescence. Among all the procedures, surgery is the most efficient and the fastest way to correct overbite. However, surgery being an expensive method might not be affordable to everyone.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Overbite without Braces
Currently, there are no home remedies for correction of overbite. Even if tried to follow one will do a permanent and irreparable damage to the teeth and jaws. Only way to handle it is to prevent overbites from taking place. Parents should change their habits of constantly bottle feeding the child. They should also discourage children from thumb sucking and nail biting. Constantly putting fingers in the mouth, pose a risk of putting the teeth forward. Hence, the best method is to consult an orthodontist to correct overbite.
Unlike previous years, today a number of modern procedures and treatments are offered by the field of dentistry to correct overbite. Depending on the type and extent of overbite, the best treatment strategy or combination of procedures should be used by the orthodontist for its treatment. Although, braces have a lot of advantages and are highly effective, one can also get rid of overbite without braces.