How Do Braces Fix Deep Bites?
By Dr. Tyler Coles – Premier Orthodontics
Table of Contents
Most people may know that braces CAN fix deep bites—but most have no idea HOW it all works…
In this article, we’re going to show you, in detail, how braces can fix a deep overbite. We’ll do it by discussing 3 specific ways that deep bites are corrected with braces. We will even show you before and after photos of actual patients who received deep bite correction. That way there’s no more mystery around braces and their function in fixing your bite and getting you to happier, healthier smile.
What Is A Deep Bite?
Before we start talking about how to fix deep bites, let’s first define what a deep bite is….
A deep bite (sometimes referred to as a deep overbite) refers to the top teeth excessively overlapping the bottom teeth. The picture below is a good example.
You may be wondering what “excessively overlapping” means – well generally speaking an “ideal overbite” is when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth by 2 mm.
This image below is a good example of an ideal overbite:
So anytime a bite overlaps by more than 2 mm, orthodontists consider that to be a deep bite or deep overbite.
You may be curious why orthodontists consider a deep bite such a problem – after all it may not seem that obvious to people that the teeth overlap…
The look of a deep bite is less concerning to us. The real problem is what damage a deep bite can do to your oral health long-term. Over time, if you have a deep bite, you will put excessive wear and tear on the front teeth. This can lead to damage, chipping, and the need for expensive restorative dental treatments.
Watch the animation below to see how deep bites can damage your teeth.
Now, a deep bite is a common bite that orthodontists fix all the time…
How we choose to fix the overbite, however, will depend on how severe the bite problem is.
There are many ways a deep bite or deep overbite can be fixed, but in this article we’ll discuss three of the most common methods we use at Premier Orthodontics when correcting deep bites for our patients.
Fixing Mild Deep Bites With Braces & Bite Pads
The first type of overbite we’ll discuss is a mild deep bite. The patient shown in this picture is a good example of a mild deep bite – you can see that his top teeth overlap the bottom teeth a bit, but overall they look pretty good.
You can imagine that if we were to put braces on his top and bottom teeth, he would have a tendency to bite on top of the lower braces due to his deep bite.
In order to correct this type of deep bite during the braces process, a combination of braces and bite pads would need to be used.
Bite pads (or sometimes called bite turbos) are small pads of dental composite that are placed on the teeth to prop the bite open and allow the safe and stable placement of braces.
Oftentimes these bite pads will be blue in color to make it easier for removal once braces are completed. You can observe from the photo above that by placing bite pads the patient will no longer need to worry about biting on top of the lower braces. The back teeth are also separated by a small amount; over time, these teeth will gradually drift together.
By placing bite pads on the front teeth and allowing the back teeth to drift together, this is usually all that you need to correct a mild deep bite.
These bite pads will typically be placed at the same time as braces, and will be removed later on into treatment once the bite is corrected.
With the patient we showed earlier, you can see that braces with bite pads helped to align his teeth and correct the overlapping front teeth and fix the deep bite.
Fixing Moderate Deep Bites With Braces, Rubber Bands, and Bite Pads/Bite Turbos
The second type of deep bite we’re going to discuss is a moderate deep bite.
This patient shown in this picture is a good example of a moderate deep bite. You can observe that the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth by a large degree (much more than in our last example).
For correcting moderate deep bites, we will use bite pads to separate the back teeth, similar to what was used in the mild deep bite correction. In this case, we will also use elastics to help pull the back teeth together.
As you can observe in the photo above, the back teeth are not touching when the bite pad is in position. To help these back teeth come together quicker, we will ask the patient to attach a rubber band from the top teeth to the lower teeth in the back. This helps to pull these teeth down and correct the deep bite.
Additionally, if a patient has a more severe deep bite, a “bite turbo” may be used in place of a “bite pad”. Bite turbos are similar to bite pads, but are instead attached to the front teeth.
An example of bite turbos can be viewed in the animation below (please note, the bite turbos used at our office are generally made out of clear dental composite rather than metal as depicted in the animation. We find that the clear dental composite is less noticeable.)
Like bite pads, bite turbos can be used in combination with rubber bands to help correct more moderate or severe deep bites.
In the patient example we showed earlier, he was treated with bite pads, elastics, and braces. This treatment led to a great improvement of his deep bite.
Fixing Severe Deep Bites With Braces, Bite Turbos, and Forsus Springs
The third type of deep bite that we will discuss is a severe deep bite.
The patient below is a good example:
As you can see from the photos, the top teeth overlap the lower teeth entirely. The top teeth are actually biting on the lower gums, and the lower teeth are biting into the roof of the palate.
Aesthetically this doesn’t look good, but functionally this can cause severe damage to the gum and palatal tissue, as well as damage to the teeth after enough time.
To correct severe deep bites, we usually begin with braces, bite pads or bite turbos, and rubber bands (similar to the moderate deep bite correction). This protocol will get us far in the process of deep bite correction.
But if after this treatment, it’s determined we need more bite correction, we may add a Forsus Spring appliance to help correct the deep bite.
You can see in this animation below exactly how the appliance works.
Forsus springs help to correct deep bites by pushing the lower teeth forward and down, and pushing the top teeth back and up, thereby correcting the deep bite.
The patient shown before was treated with braces, bite pads, and forsus springs, and you can see the amount of deep bite correction that was achieved because of the treatment.
How Can I Tell if Me or My Child Needs Braces to Fix a Deep Bite?
If you think you or your child may need braces to correct a deep bite, the best place to start is by getting a free consultation with an orthodontist in your area.
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