What’s the Difference between an Overbite and Overjet?
A misaligned bite can have a negative impact on the appearance of the smile. Fortunately, there are many cosmetic dentistry treatments to enhance the beauty of the smile.
However, the cosmetic effect of malocclusion problems may be the least of a patient’s worries. Misalignment throws off the balance of the bite and can expose certain teeth to excessive pressure. Over time, a misaligned bite can lead to dental damage and other oral health problems.
Two common types of misalignment are an overbite and an overjet. Many people mistakenly think these are two terms used to describe the same issue, but they are two very different conditions. The experienced dentists at Bell Dental understand the important differences regarding an overbite vs. overjet. They offer our Lake Jackson, TX patients effective treatment for these conditions so that they can enjoy a smile that is well aligned, attractive, and healthy.
Overbite is a pretty widely used term in the dental field. When a patient suffers from an overbite, the upper center teeth extend over the lower center teeth. This extension occurs vertically. In more basic terms, the upper center teeth cover a good portion of the lower center teeth when the jaws are closed, or when a patient is biting down. If an overbite is severe, the lower teeth can even bite into the gum line when the teeth are closed.
An overbite can cause dental problems. First, it affects the appearance of the smile. If the upper teeth overhang a significant portion of the lower teeth, it can make the lower teeth look small and throw off the visual balance of the smile.
An overbite also compromises a person’s oral functions. When the teeth don’t align properly, it makes biting, chewing, and speaking difficult.
Finally, an overbite places excess pressure on the upper teeth, which increases the risk of an oral injury or premature wear and tear.
An overjet can be easily confused with an overbite, but there are distinct differences. When a patient suffers from an overjet, the upper teeth do extend over the lower teeth. However, an overjet refers to a horizontal extension, which is to say the upper teeth sit forward from the lower teeth.
Overjet is not a term that many people are familiar with, but most have heard its more basic description, which is buck teeth. An overjet is most noticeable from the profile view, but it can compromise the appearance of the smile from the front as well.
Like an overbite, an overjet can have an impact on oral health and functions. If the upper teeth do not meet with the lower teeth as intended when a patient is biting, it is more difficult to break down food properly. Speech can also be affected. In the case of an overjet, the patient is more vulnerable to dental damage and excessive wear and tear.
Even though overbite and overjet refer to two different malocclusion problems, they ultimately require similar dental treatment. To effectively correct the bite and improve the position of the teeth, patients will require orthodontic treatment.
Fortunately, patients at Bell Dental do not have to rely on traditional metal braces to treat malocclusion. We are happy to offer Invisalign®, which is often referred to as invisible braces. Invisalign® uses a series of clear, plastic aligners to gradually straighten the teeth and correct issues such as an overbite or overjet. Invisalign® provides results that are comparable to those of traditional braces, but treatment is much more comfortable, convenient, and discreet.
If you are concerned about the position of your teeth or bite, contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the teeth straightening treatments offered at Bell Dental. Our dentists are happy to customize a treatment plan that will meet your unique needs, and give you the straight, healthy teeth you desire.