How Do Braces Fix Overbites?
By Dr. Tyler Coles – Premier Orthodontics
Table of Contents
Most people may know that braces CAN fix overbites—but most have no idea HOW…
Watch the video below and read this article where we discuss 4 specific ways that overbites are corrected with braces.
What Is An Overbite?
Before we start talking about how to fix overbites, let’s first define what an overbite is….
What most people call an overbite, orthodontists actually call “Overjet” – which basically means that the top teeth stick out much farther than the bottom teeth.
An overbite is a fairly common bite problem and it’s something that orthodontists fix all the time…
How we choose to fix the overbite will depend on two key factors:
- How severe the bite problem is.
- The age of the patient.
There are so many ways an overbite can be correctly fixed, but in this article we’ll discuss four of the most common methods we at Premier Orthodontics choose when correcting overbites for our patients.
Fixing Overbites With Braces & Rubber Bands
The first type of overbite we’ll discuss is a mild overbite. The patient shown in this picture is a good example of a mild overbite – you can see that her top teeth stick out a bit compared to the lower teeth, but overall they look pretty good.
For this type of overbite, a combination of braces and elastics were used to help bring the top teeth back into a better alignment.
As you can see in this video, by connecting a rubber band between the upper and lower teeth, over time the top teeth will be pulled back and the bottom teeth will be pulled forward.
With the patient we showed earlier, you can see that braces with rubber bands helped to fix her overbite and give her a great smile.
Fixing Overbites With Braces and a Herbst Appliance
The second type of overbite we’re going to discuss is a moderate to severe overbite in a younger child.
Fixing large overbites is most successful when you start at a younger age, around age 11 or 12. That way, we can actually use the child’s growth to help fix the bite.
This patient shown in this picture is a good example or a younger child with a more severe overbite.
This patient was a great candidate for bite correction using a herbst appliance. The animation below demonstrates what a herbst appliance looks like when applied by an orthodontist
Essentially, this appliance is bonded onto the teeth, and it works by posturing the patient’s lower jaw into a forward position.
When the jaw is held in this forward position for a long enough period of time, the teeth will begin to move in this direction. The best part is that as the child grows, their jaws will move into a more correct position as well.
This appliance is usually placed for about a year, and then is followed by braces.
You can see that in the patient we showed earlier, she got her overbite fixed and her profile is much improved.
Fixing Overbites With Braces and Forsus Springs
The third type of overbite is linked to moderate overbites in a slightly older patient type. For older teenagers and adults, a herbst appliance generally won’t work as well.
Why? Because the patient’s jaw is finished growing at this age.
For these patients, we usually recommend an appliance called Forsus Springs. Forsus springs are usually placed after about a year of braces. You can see in this video exactly how the appliance works.
First you compress the spring, pushing the bottom teeth forward and the top teeth back. This appliance works very similarly to elastics, but the correction is more predictable and usually leads to more efficient correction.
You can see in this patient shown, that she was a teenager with a moderate overbite. Braces and Forsus springs were used to get a great result and completely correct her moderate overbite.
Fixing Overbites With Braces and Extractions
The last type of overbite correction we’ll discuss is a severe overbite. In severe overbite cases, usually the top teeth are very protrusive and are sticking too far forward. This patient here is a good example.
This patient had actually started braces at another orthodontist office, and she had been wearing rubber bands with her braces for a couple of years. When she transferred to our office we felt that her overbite was too severe to be fixed with rubber bands alone.
Due to the severity of her bite, we recommended that two permanent teeth get removed on her upper arch in order to fix her bite.
This short animation will demonstrate how taking out two teeth on the upper arch, and then closing the space, can fix a severe overbite and help reduce the protrusion of the front teeth.
You can see in this animation that we will usually have the first bicuspid (or first premolar teeth) extracted, and then pull the front 6 teeth back into that extraction space.
Once this space is closed, you won’t be able to tell that teeth were ever removed. The bite will fit together properly and the overbite should be corrected.
Going back to our patient, she had two teeth on her upper arch extracted. We closed that space by pulling her front teeth back. By the time we were done, she had a beautiful smile, no spaces, and her overbite was completely corrected.
How Can I Tell if Me or My Child Needs Braces to Fix an Overbite?
If you think you or your child may need braces to correct an overbite, the best place to start is by getting a free consultation with an orthodontist in your area.
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