Overbite, underbite, and crossbite are the three main types of malocclusion, which is the misalignment of the teeth. Many people suffer from one or more of these conditions, which can cause several problems, including difficulty chewing and speaking and pain in the jaw and teeth. If you’ve never heard of these terms before, we will explain their meaning and how they can affect your child’s oral health.

We aim to help you make the best decision for your child’s smile. If you’re searching for braces in Denver, Invisalign in Denver Colorado or Invisalign in Thornton, we can help. Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment with Dr. Jodi or email [email protected].

Malocclusion Facts

Many Americans are afraid of the dentist, and because of this, they never visit or rarely visit the dentist. As a result, untreated oral health problems such as overbite, underbite, and crossbite go unchecked. Did you know:

  • about 1 in 3 Americans don’t visit the dentist every year
  • almost half of all adults in America have some form of malocclusion
  • nearly 30% of children also have some form of malocclusion
  • crossbite is the most common type of malocclusion, affecting about one-third of all people with this condition

Can Children Outgrow a Malocclusion?

In some limited cases, children can outgrow a malocclusion as their teeth and jaws continue to grow. However, this is not usually the case, and the majority of children will need to seek some type of orthodontic treatment to correct the problem.

Crowding Problems for Children

Crowding and crooked teeth are common for children, as their teeth are still growing and changing. If the teeth become too crowded, it can lead to overbite, underbite and crossbite problems.

What is an Overbite?

An overbite is when the top teeth bite down over the bottom teeth. A slight overbite is normal for most people as the human skull allows the top teeth to project beyond the bottom teeth naturally. However, a severe overbite usually requires some form of treatment. This overbite can be due to genetics, gum disease, or even thumb sucking as a child. Severe overbites can also be caused by pacifiers, bottles, and other childhood habits. If your overbite is severe, it can cause the lower jaw to jut out, which can lead to a number of problems, including:

  • pain in the jaw and teeth
  • misaligned facial structure
  • “buck teeth”
  • difficulty chewing
  • speech impediments
  • mouth breathing
  • risk of tooth decay

Overbite Treatment

The treatment for overbite depends on the severity of the condition. Over-the-counter or custom-made dental appliances can be used, or surgery may be necessary for some situations. Some common treatments are:

  • Orthodontic headgear: This type of overbite treatment uses a headgear appliance to correct the problem. The headgear attaches to the back teeth and pulls them back into place.
  • Braces: This is the most common overbite treatment. The wire is tightened over time to pull the teeth into their proper position slowly.
  • Palate expander: This overbite treatment is used for children. It is a device inserted into the mouth and slowly expanded over time to widen the palate.
  • Tooth Extraction: In some cases, the overbite is so severe that the only way to correct it is to remove one or more teeth. Removal of baby teeth can help make room for permanent teeth to grow properly.

What is an Underbite?

An underbite called prognathism or Class III malocclusion is when the bottom teeth bite over the top teeth. This can be caused by a number of things, including genetics, over-retained baby teeth, or misaligned jaws. Underbites can also be caused by thumb sucking and other objects that children put in their mouths.

Injury to the face can also cause a severe underbite. When the bones in the face are broken, they sometimes heal in a way that causes the chin to jut forward. Underbites can damage the tooth enamel and raise the risk of front teeth chipping and breakage. 

Some other issues resulting from an underbite are:

  • eating difficulty
  • speaking issues
  • chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • headaches and earaches
  • tooth decay
  • chronic mouth breathing
  • sleep apnea and snoring
  • low self-esteem

Underbite Treatment

Underbite treatment can range from simple to complex, depending on the severity of the underbite. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underbite. 

Some methods to correct underbite are:

  • Reverse pull headgear: This type of headgear attaches to the molars at the top of the mouth and pulls them forward. This can help to realign the teeth and jaws.
  • Braces: In some cases, braces can be used to help correct an underbite. This is usually done in conjunction with other treatments, such as headgear or surgery.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underbite, and this is typically done by moving the lower jaw forward or the upper jaw back.
  • Cosmetic reshaping: In some cases, the teeth can be filed down or bonded to help correct an underbite.

What is a Crossbite?

A crossbite occurs when one or more teeth in the upper jaw do not line up with the lower or where the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth

There are two types of crossbite:

  • Anterior crossbite: This type of crossbite occurs when the upper teeth are in front of the lower teeth.
  • Posterior crossbite: This type of crossbite occurs when the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth.

Crossbites can be caused by genetics and also over-retained baby teeth. Crossbites can also be caused by thumb sucking, injury, or trauma to the face. When the bones in the face are broken, they sometimes heal in a way that causes misalignment. 

If left untreated, crossbites can cause several problems, including:

  • tooth decay
  • misaligned teeth
  • jaw pain
  • TMJ disorders
  • headaches
  • speech difficulties
  • crossbite treatment

Crossbite Treatment

There are various treatments available for crossbite correction, some of which are:

  • Braces: In some cases, braces can be used to help correct a crossbite. This is usually done in conjunction with other treatments, such as expanders.
  • Palate Expander: An expander is a device inserted into the mouth and slowly expanded over time to widen the palate. This can help to realign the teeth and jaws.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the crossbite. Orthognathic surgery is used to correct misaligned jaws. This procedure can move the upper jaw forward, backward, or sideways.

Braces In Denver

Malocclusion, or a bad bite, is a very common condition that can be fixed. If you’re searching for braces in Denver, Invisalign in Denver Colorado or Invisalign in Thornton, we can help. At Denver Youth Dental and Vision our goal is to ensure that you and your family receive the best possible care to keep you smiling.

Visit us in Denver at Denver Youth Dental and Vision and Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics. We also serve the Thornton and Aurora population. Visit us at Aurora Youth Dental and Vision and Thornton Youth Dentistry. We aim to help you make the best decision for your child’s smile. Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment with Dr. Jodi or email [email protected]. We look forward to helping you with your dental needs! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to fix an overbite?

The length of time it takes to fix an overbite depends on its severity and the chosen treatment method. In mild cases, braces may be worn for 12 to 18 months.

How do you know if you have an overbite?

An overbite is when the upper teeth come down too far over the lower teeth. A visit to the dentist can help determine if you have an overbite and what can be done to fix it.

How to fix underbite naturally?

A few methods to fix an underbite without surgery include reverse pull headgear and braces. Your Dentist can help you determine the best course of treatment.

How to fix a crossbite?

The best way to fix a crossbite is to visit the dentist. From braces to expanders, they will be able to determine the severity of the crossbite and recommend the best treatment option.