What is Overbite / Underbite?
Overbite refers to a bite position in which the upper row of teeth overlaps the bottom. Underbite is the opposite, with the lower arch jutting out farther than the upper. Both types of malocclusion can detract from the appearance of the smile. Both can also increase risks for uneven tooth wear and jaw irregularities – some of which may contribute to TMJ.
If you have an overbite or an underbite and would like to learn about treatment options that can restore both function and appearance, please call the Koing Center for Cosmetic & Comprehensive Dentistry at 713-668-2289 to schedule a consultation today. Located in Houston, Dr. Konig welcomes patients from The Woodlands, Katy, Sugar Land, Pearland, and all surrounding Texas communities.
The Effects of an Overbite
What Can Cause an Overbite or Underbite?
Most cases of overbite develop in early childhood as a result of habits like thumb sucking. Sustained pacifier use, overuse of a baby bottle, or a tongue thrust (where the person pushes his or her tongue against the upper teeth) can also contribute to the formation of an overbite.
Underbites are usually the result of a congenital misalignment of the lower jaw. This can develop due to various conditions, such as acromegaly.
What are the advantages of non-surgical jaw alignment treatments?
Before the function of the jaw was better understood, the first option for treating jaw alignment problems, beyond dramatic orthodontics such as headgear, was often orthognathic jaw surgery. This surgery involves plates, screws, and wires and makes quite an impact on the patient’s life.
Dr. Konig believes there is rarely a need to use surgery to correct these conditions. Underbites respond well to orthodontic treatments like Invisalign and Controlled Arch Orthodontics. Cosmetic dentistry procedures such as crowns and porcelain veneers are effective for many patients. Overbites can be treated with the same tools. Overbites also often involve TMJ problems, so Dr. Konig works to get the jaw in the proper alignment.
Generally, these non-surgical treatments can work just as well, without any of the trauma and recovery dictated by jaw surgery.
Are there risks with non-surgical jaw treatment?
These dental and orthodontic procedures are without risk for the most part. If more involved restorations, such as placement of dental implants, are used, there is a slight risk of infection, but that’s about it. These are safe, effective procedures.
Before and After Photos
What are the different types of non-surgical jaw treatments?
Invisalign is an alternative to traditional metal braces. It uses clear acrylic aligner trays to move the teeth instead of metal bands and connected wires. This tooth movement method can correct mild to moderate misalignment issues.
Braces still are the most common treatment to correct overbites and underbites without surgery. But traditional orthodontics don’t always take into account the width of the patient’s jaw, which can lead to future TMJ stresses.
Controlled Arch orthodontics
These orthodontics work by expanding the width of the upper jaw and to correct other jaw discrepancies. By creating more room, they solve the bite alignment.
Splint therapy for TMJ
Since TMJ pain is often linked with severe overbites, Dr. Konig may use splint therapy. A splint is an oral device that’s worn all the time and it fits over the teeth to keep them from touching. This is usually combined with some form of orthodontic movement.
We use various cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as crowns, porcelain veneers, and tooth bonding, to build out the upper dental arch. This supports an improved jaw position and a more natural bite. These restorative treatments also support the face through correct structural alignment, providing a non-surgical facelift.
Full mouth rejuvenation is another option for treating overbite and underbite. As with instant orthodontics, full mouth rejuvenation combines different restorative, general, and cosmetic dentistry services to address multiple issues affecting the health, strength, and appearance of the face and teeth. This most often changes the lower one third of the face and often corrects facial asymmetries. The impacts can be truly profound for men and women struggling with several aesthetic and functional dental problems.
How long do non-surgical jaw alignment treatments take?
The length of these treatments varies, as you would imagine, based upon the patient’s individual situation. Orthodontic movement can take up to two years, which may be necessary in severe cases of overbites and underbites. Generally, overbites can respond more quickly than underbites, which often require widening the upper jaw to correct the problems.
During your consultation with Dr. Konig, he can get a much better idea of your personal situation and a possible timeline for fixing the problems.
Are Overbite/Underbite Treatments Painful?
Tooth movement with Invisalign is not very painful, involving only slight aching when the aligner trays are switched out for the next set. Orthodontics can be more painful after “tightening,” as it can take a couple days for the teeth to adjust to the new stresses being placed on them. None of these non-surgical treatments involves acute pain.
This contrasts with the extensive pain involved with jaw surgery. Placement of plates, screws, and wires with these procedures can be quite painful in recovery. That’s why Dr. Konig strives to find non-surgical means of treatment whenever possible.
Are Overbite/Underbite Treatment Results Permanent?
Any tooth movement achieved is permanent. The alignment corrections will endure. Some of the cosmetic dentistry treatments, such as the application of porcelain veneers, will need replacement over time. With veneers, for instance, the lifespan of a set of veneers is from 10-15 years.
What If I Leave My Overbite/Underbite Untreated?
These misaligned jaw issues have both a physical and an emotional side. When the condition is severe it can interfere with eating, breathing, sleeping and speech, and can involve pain even without jaw movement. This is because when the upper and lower jaw can’t function properly together, chronic pain is the typical result.
Emotionally, having an underbite or overbite can make the person very self-conscious when talking or otherwise engaged with others. This applies to anyone, child or adult.
Both of these malocclusions also increase the risk of uneven tooth wear and jaw irregularities. These often lead to issues with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
You can live with these issues of misalignment, but why should you?
Is there recovery after non-surgical jaw treatment?
These procedures generally don’t involve recovery. They are dental procedures and are non-invasive.
TMJ Treatment and Myofunctional Therapy
Cosmetic services for the treatment of overbite and underbite can often be complemented with TMJ treatment and Myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional therapy is a painless, multidisciplinary approach to retraining the muscles responsible for breathing, chewing, and swallowing. When used in combinations with TMJ treatments such as neuromuscular orthotics, Myofunctional therapy can help relax jaw muscles, allowing teeth to rest in their natural position and help provide long term stability. In fact, many times TMJ treatment and myofunctional therapy are essential in these cases.
Myofunctional therapy, TMJ treatment, instant orthodontics, and full mouth rejuvenation are all options for the treatment of overbite and underbite. The best way to determine which of these is ideal for you is through, in depth evlaluation and consultation with Dr. Konig at our welcoming and caring Houston dental office.