An overbite is a condition that you have when your teeth are not aligned properly. Your upper teeth may protrude further than they should. This can happen because of childhood habits such as sucking your thumb or using a pacifier for many years. These activities push your tongue against your upper teeth, and you may end up with an overbite. You can also end up with an overbite if you lose your back teeth. Children commonly have an overbite, but it can be corrected with braces and other dental procedures. If you think you have an overbite, you should find out. Continue reading to learn how to tell if you have an overbite.
Check in the Mirror at Home
Start by standing in front of a mirror. You can open your mouth and then place your teeth together naturally. Be sure to relax your jaw so that you are letting your teeth fall where they would without any help. Now you can smile and open your lips so you can see your teeth. Look to see if your upper teeth fall over the top of your bottom teeth. If you notice that your top teeth are falling more than 3.5 mm in front of your bottom teeth, you have an overbite.
You may also notice that your lower teeth are close to the roof of your mouth behind your upper teeth in a severe overbite. Luckily, you can visit a dentist to treat your overbite and ensure that your teeth are properly aligned through a procedure.
Visit Your Dentist
If you suspect that you have an overbite, you can schedule an appointment with your dentist. Overbites pose more problems than the way they look; they can lead to health issues including headaches, tooth decay, speech impediments, difficulty chewing, and more. For this reason, it is important to visit your dentist and have your overbite diagnosed and plan a course of treatment.
If you have regularly scheduled dental visits, your dentist will likely diagnose your overbite for you. However, if you do not normally go to the dentist, make an appointment. You can have a checkup where your dentist will examine the overall condition of your teeth and diagnose your overbite. You may also need to have x-rays taken to see the bone structure behind your overbite. This will help your dentist ensure that you receive the best possible treatment plan.
Follow up with an Orthodontist
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in correcting and realigning teeth. They have extra educational experience to learn how to treat patients for conditions such as an overbite, and they will provide you with a plan. They will be able to let you know how severe your overbite is and the possible consequences of not treating it. Overbites can increase chances of tooth decay, gingivitis, and more.
The most likely treatment plan is braces, especially in childhood. They apply pressure to redirect your teeth. Sometimes people are treated with aligners, which are invisible acrylic molds that are removable. They are common for teens and adults. You may have an overbite because of crowding, and you can ask about removing teeth to correct this problem. Dental extractions remove teeth that are in the way, and this can improve your overbite.
Having an overbite is important to diagnose because it can lead to other complications if left untreated. You might have trouble eating or chewing, and you may lose teeth later. If you think you might have an overbite, you can try to diagnose it in the mirror. You should also make an appointment with a dentist to confirm the diagnosis. Once a dentist lets you know that you have an overbite, you should schedule an appointment with an orthodontist. This specialist has extensive experience in correcting the alignment of your teeth.