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So Your Child Has an Overbite. Here’s Why and When You Should Correct It

Girl with overbite in braces
The upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth in an overbite condition.

Overbite issues in kids are prevalent. Sometimes it’s a minor concern because your kid’s smile is not significantly affected by it. In that case, you are left wondering whether you should do anything about it. Naturally, you don’t want your kids to go through the dental process for seemingly no reason. However, in most cases, it does become necessary to treat an overbite in order to prevent future dental and overall health complications.

Let us explore the scenarios, based on my experience, to help you determine when you need to get the overbite teeth of your kids checked. I will also explain the risk factors associated with not taking your kids for overbite correction, as well as possible treatment options.

What is an Overbite?

The upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth in an overbite condition. The intensity of the overbite issue depends upon the extent of coverage. A 1 to 2 mm coverage of lower teeth by upper teeth is normal. But if the upper teeth cover the lower teeth entirely or by more than 3 to 4 mm, it is considered a serious protrusion.

How to Evaluate Overbite Teeth in Your Kids?

Keep a check on your kid’s dental growth from the age of 5. See if their teeth can fit together or not. It’s a matter of concern if this misalignment doesn’t go away with growing teeth. Other signs to look for are difficulty in chewing, headache, sinus issues, and pain in the ear and jaw.

Although these are not definitive signs, I highly recommend consulting an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatments like an overbite correction get more complicated with age. Thus your child’s treatment should start by the age of 7 or 8.

An untreated overbite can lead to pain in the gums and jaw, as well as lowered self-esteem.

Why is Early Overbite Correction Important?

Here are the risk factors associated with untreated overbite issues in kids:

  • Changed facial structure
  • Pain in gums and jaw
  • Lowered self-esteem or confidence
  • TMJ disorders
  • Increased risk of cavities and gum disease due to degenerated tooth enamel
  • Speech Impediments
  • Soft tissues of upper gums or the roof of the mouth getting cuts from lower teeth
  • Problems with chewing and eating
  • Sleep apnea
  • Crooked and crowded teeth
  • Anterior lower teeth being gradually broken down by upper anterior teeth
  • Teeth grinding

What are the Treatment Options for Overbite Correction in Kids?

As mentioned earlier, the overbite correction should start early, by the age of 7 or 8. The treatment gets increasingly complicated if the kids get fully developed permanent teeth and mature bones and jaw. For the purpose of diagnosis, the orthodontist might opt for x-ray and molds. Then depending on the severity of the overbite, they will suggest appropriate treatment for your kid’s overbite teeth.

Invisalign and braces with some additional appliances like elastic can treat overbite in kids by moving the teeth in the correct position.

If overbite issues are not diagnosed and treated in childhood, your kids might need to go through tooth extraction and dental surgeries when they become adults. Those are much complicated and expensive procedures. So take your kids to an orthodontist as soon as possible.

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