Overbite vs Underbite: What It Is & How To Fix With Mewing, Invisalign and Braces

Many of us have bite issues without realizing it. Yet sooner or later they bring us to the dentist’s office. So it’s better to find out what is overbite, underbite and how to deal with it.
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Overbite vs Underbite: What It Is and How To Fix With Mewing, Invisalign and Braces

Overbite vs Underbite: What Is the Difference?

Both are associated with incorrect upper and lower teeth positioning relative to one another. The important thing is that it’s not just about aesthetics, it has consequences for oral health. 

There’s a difference between overbite and underbite. Our upper teeth overlap the lowers ones and it’s normal to a certain extent. An overbite issue appears when upper teeth extend 4-10 mm over the lower teeth. Underbite implies the opposite teeth positioning - the lower teeth are beyond and over the upper teeth. 

An underbite is usually more noticeable due to the:

  • protruding chin, 
  • speech impediments, 
  • chewing difficulties.

At the same time, an overbite can mostly be diagnosed by a dentist, who measures the level of teeth overlap. 

Overbite vs underbite
Overbite vs underbite

What Is An Overbite?

An overbite, also called a deep or closed bite, happens when the lower jaw is small or shorter than the upper jaw. This type of malocclusion is more common than underbite. Our upper teeth overlap the lower teeth, so slight and mild overbite issues sometimes don’t require specific treatment. 

The common overbite symptoms include:

  • Difficulties with teeth alignment, closing and opening the mouth
  • Overbite side profile with a receding chin
  • Jaw pain
  • Teeth grinding that leads to cavities and gum disorders
  • Difficulties with proper chewing

 

Overbite
Overbite

       Overjet vs Overbite

Overbite and overjet are very similar yet the difference is about the angle. Overbite implies a vertical overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower teeth. While with overjet the front upper teeth overlap the lower teeth creating a horizontal gap between them. 

Overbite vs overjet

       Overbite vs Normal

Sometimes only a dentist can see there’s an overbite issue. While to us the teeth and bite look normal. It happens when there’s a slight overbite, or Class 1 malocclusion, as classified scientifically. It means a normal bite with minor upper teeth overlap.

          

Overbite vs normal
Overbite vs normal

       Severe Overbite

At the same time, there are cases of severe overbite. It’s related to Class 2 malocclusion and is also known as a retrognathic overbite. A severe overbite is quite noticeable due to a protruded upper jaw, and difficulties with chewing and speech. It also requires a particular treatment depending on the case. 

An example of a severe overbite
An example of a severe overbite

What Is An Underbite?

An underbite is a kind of teeth malocclusion when the front lower teeth extend farther beyond the front upper teeth. There are cases of slight underbite and severe issues when the bulldog-like appearance is very noticeable. 

Such serious underbite cases often lead to unpleasant consequences like:

  • Problems with chewing and biting
  • Speech impediments
  • Jaw pain because of the crooked teeth
Underbite
Underbite

What Is a Crossbite?

A crossbite is another type of dental malocclusion. Its primary symptom is that the upper teeth are behind the bottom teeth while at rest. Crossbite is similar to an underbite, yet there’s a difference in teeth placement. Underbite affects the whole dental arch, while crossbite impacts a group of teeth. 

Depending on the placement of a crossbite, there’re anterior and posterior crossbites.

  • Anterior crossbite: some of the front upper teeth fit behind the bottom teeth.
  • Posterior crossbite: upper back teeth are tilted towards the tongue, fitting in between lower back teeth.
Anterior crossbite
Anterior crossbite

Posterior crossbite
Posterior crossbite

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How To Fix An Overbite

Fortunately, modern orthodontics has enough options to fix an overbite, and other bite issues. So if you wonder how to get rid of an overbite, the first step is to get a proper diagnosis. 

       Visit Your Orthodontist

A good orthodontist will examine your teeth and jaws and make a diagnosis. Based on the level of overbite together you can decide what kind of treatment will be the best. They often take dental x-rays to see the problem precisely. 

       Causes of Overbite

Apart from genetic jaw shape that might affect teeth alignment, there are a few overbite causes that we can control.

  1. Tongue thrusting
  2. Using pacifiers or thumb-sucking in childhood (after the age of 3)
  3. Teeth grinding during sleep (bruxism)
  4. Nail biting
  5. Mouth breathing

       Overbite Treatment Options

As was mentioned, there are several overbite treatment options available nowadays. They are applied to children and adults, depending on the severity of an overbite.

So, the most effective methods of overbite treatment include:

  • Palate expanders, to widen the upper jaw and create room for the growing teeth (in children)
  • Braces, to correct teeth alignment, damaged by an overbite
  • Jaw surgery for severe cases (mostly in adults)
  • Removing baby teeth (in children) and wisdom teeth (in adults) to create more room for other teeth
  • Retainers are used after braces removal to keep the newly aligned teeth in place
Palate expanders to treat overbite
Palate expanders to treat overbite

      How to Fix an Overbite Naturally

Severe cases of overbite require the professional treatment of an orthodontist. While an at-home treatment might improve a slight overbite situation. At least, implementing some preventing habits will help to stop the overbite from progressing. 

To fix an overbite naturally, it’s crucial to get rid of the habits triggering it:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Tongue thrusting (when the tongue pushes forward the front teeth) 
  • Thumb-sucking and nail-biting

The most effective at-home options to implement to deal with an overbite:

  • Correct your tongue posture. Not only it will help to breathe through the nose, but also promote normal teeth alignment.
  • Exercises for tongue thrust. Tongue thrusting can be reduced by using mewing appliances that help to keep the tongue up against the hard palate.
  • Devices to prevent nail-biting and thumb-sucking. It’s a common problem for kids, so it’s better to get rid of it the earlier the better. Try applying bitter nail polish to control these habits.
Proper and improper tongue posture for overbite
Proper and improper tongue posture for overbite

       Can Invisalign Fix Overbite?

Invisalign is a most popular brand of modern braces alternative. It comes in a form of transparent aligners that are almost invisible and more comfortable to wear than braces. Nowadays, Invisalign becomes a great tool to fix slight and moderate cases of overbite. The term of treatment with Invisalign is usually shorter than with braces, yet a bit more expensive.

Invisalign to fix an overbite

Overbite Before and After

Many of the happy people who got rid of an overbite share their results online. Some of them wore braces, others tried the at-home treatment. The impressive results are on their before&after photos.

   

Severe overbite treated with braces and rubber band (Mount Diablo Orthodontics)
Severe overbite treated with braces and rubber band (Mount Diablo Orthodontics)

Overbite treated with transparent aligners (https://smile2impress.com/de)
Overbite treated with transparent aligners

Overbite treatment (Sarraf Orthodontics)
Overbite treatment (Sarraf Orthodontics)

 Celebrities With Overbites

Celebrities also face bite problems. Many of them have a slight overbite and it doesn’t stand in the way of their huge smiles in front of the cameras. Sometimes teeth peculiarities become a special thing and add charm. Like Freddie Mercury’s prominent overbite smile made him so charismatic.

Freddie Mercury’s attractive slight overbite
Freddie Mercury’s attractive slight overbite

Denzel Washington’s attractive slight overbite
Denzel Washington’s attractive slight overbite

Eva Mendes’ attractive slight overbite
Eva Mendes’ attractive slight overbite

How To Fix an Underbite

Underbite treatment appears to be more specific and necessary due to the nature of the malocclusion. It’s more than aesthetics; even mild underbite cases often cause many inconveniences and dental problems. 

Causes of Underbite

For the most part, an underbite is inherited. If one of your closest relatives suffers from underbite, there’s a great chance to have it too. Since jaw and tooth shape is defined by genetics, some of them result in such malocclusion as underbite.

Among other causes of underbite are:

  • Tongue thrust
  • Thumb sucking
  • Bottle-feeding and pacifiers after 3 years old
  • Jawbone injuries
  • Jaw tumors

Underbite Treatments

Similarly to other malocclusion treatments, underbites can be cured with up-to-date methods. Since many people with underbite problems are scared of a long-time treatment, it’s key to know all the benefits of adequate therapy. Although the doctor tells all about the treatment options at a free consultation. 

Yet it’s worth mentioning the main health advantages of underbite treatment.

  • Normalized biting and chewing 
  • Easier teeth cleaning and lower risk of cavities and gum issues as a result
  • Less tension in jaw muscles and teeth
  • Improved facial aesthetic

The main underbite treatment options include:

  • Orthodontic appliances like braces to cure crooked teeth
  • Teeth removal on the lower jaw to create more space and reduce overcrowding
  • Professional grinding of the teeth that stick out or are too large
  • Surgery in the most severe underbite cases 
Braces for underbite
Braces for underbite

How Long Does Treatment Take?

The malocclusion treatment term is individual and depends on the severity of the case. Invisalign usually takes up to 1 year to see great results, if the malocclusion is moderate. While treatment with braces is a bit longer, up to 2 years. In severe cases when surgery is the option, it depends on the rehabilitation terms. 

If you pick at-home treatment to deal with a slight overbite, then tongue posture exercises should become a lifetime habit. As proper tongue posture brings more than bite improvements. Doing it enhances overall facial aesthetics and health.

List of resources

https://weissandtorortho.com/overbite-vs-underbite-the-similarities-and-differences/
https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/teeth-straightening/overbite-versus-underbite
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21473-overbite
https://diamondbraces.com/conditions/excessive-overjet/
https://wmsmile.com/what-is-an-overbite-and-how-is-it-corrected/
https://www.healthline.com/health/underbite
https://www.healthline.com/health/crossbite
https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/what-to-know-about-crossbite
https://www.mewing.app/blog/mouth-breathing-vs-nose-breathing
https://orthodonticbracescare.com/fix-an-overbite-at-home/
https://www.mewing.app/blog/mewing-devices-and-tools
https://deandentalsolutions.com/can-invisalign-fix-an-overbite/
https://smile2impress.com/de
https://www.mewing.app/blog/proper-mewing-tongue-posture

Written by
Victoria Punda
June 7, 2022