What is an Overjet?
A beautiful smile always builds up confidence. If anything is obstructing it, we get it corrected by a dentist. Overjet is a dental condition in which the top teeth are found protruding horizontally over the lower teeth. It is also known as buck teeth or protrusion. It gives a disproportionate structure to the face and is caused due to underdeveloped lower and upper jaw.
Overjet not only affects the appearance but also brings difficulty in biting and chewing and leads to poor alignment of teeth. It also makes the closing of the lips difficult. It can lead to social anxiety, social isolation, and depression and can even lower the quality of life. (1) It can be a reason for dental trauma in preschool children. (2)
A person with overjet can experience tooth pain due to the rubbing of the teeth together.
Causes of Overjet
Different factors can lead to overjet:
- It is a hereditary condition, so if either the mother or the father has overjet, there are increased chances of you suffering from it.
- Underdeveloped lower jaw can cause the upper teeth to protrude further than they actually should.
- Those with a habit of sucking the thumb or finger can have overjet
- Using a pacifier for an extended period or tongue thrust can cause overjet.
How is Overjet Different From An Overbite?
Both overjet and overbite have upper teeth sticking out of the vertical plane of the bottom teeth, but are not the same. The difference lies in the horizontal angle of the upper teeth.
In an overjet, the upper teeth stick out past the bottom teeth at an angle that is just diagonally across the plane of the bottom teeth. In an overbite, the upper teeth, point straight downward.
How is Overjet Different From An Underbite?
Overjet is the horizontal protrusion of the teeth while an underbite is bottom teeth sticking out farther than the top teeth.
An underbite is caused by:
- Flared upper incisors
- Missing lower teeth
- Overgrowth of the lower jaw
- Underdeveloped upper jaw
Signs and Symptoms Of Overjet
Overjet is a type of malocclusion (imperfect positioning of teeth), that if diagnosed early can be effectively treated.
An overjet can be mild, moderate, or severe. The common symptoms include:
- Unbalanced facial appearance
- Inability to seal lips
- Habitually opened mouth
- Improper teeth alignment
- Discomfort on biting and chewing
- Frequently biting the tongue or inner cheek.
If the child is noticed with any of the above symptoms a dentist should be consulted for early diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
How to Treat Overjet?
The treatment options for overjet include:
Dental braces straighten teeth and gradually align them. Different types of braces are available for overjet that includes removable clear aligners and metal braces.
The time taken by overjet to get corrected depends on the severity of the condition. On an average 18-24 months are required to align the teeth.
Veneers are the pieces of porcelain attached to the front surface of the teeth. They can be used to treat overjet.
Veneers mask hide the misaligned teeth and other imperfections. Porcelain veneers last for up to 10-15 years. (3)
In dental bonding, a composite resin is used to change the shape and size of the teeth. This helps in making the protruding teeth less obvious.
This resin is strong like natural teeth and can last for several years. It is a less expensive procedure.
Dental crowns or caps are custom-made prosthetics that cover the entire surface of the tooth.
The crown makes the teeth appear aligned and uniform.
The orthodontic treatment for overjet enhances oral functions and improves facial aesthetics. Early diagnosis of the condition can increase the chances of success of the treatment. It also shortens the duration of the treatment.
Excessive treatment for overjet can lead to certain complications such as pain, mouth irritation, discomfort, tooth decay, and decreased oral function.
If you find you or your child showing signs and symptoms for overjet or any other malocclusion, schedule a dental appointment for quick diagnosis and treatment.