An overbite occurs when the top teeth clearly cover the teeth on the bottom. A very common condition can range from mild to very severe. Even in the most severe cases, people get dental care to repair the overbite. However, not all overbite case warrant a trip to the dentist, unless it was caused by another dental problem left unattended.
There are two types of overbites. The vertical overbite occurs when the top teeth overlap the lower teeth. A horizontal overbite or overjet occurs when the top teeth protrude too much. Both types of overbite can occur in the mouth of one patient.
Both the vertical and horizontal overbite are caused in many different ways. Genetics and/or some actions involving the mouth and teeth can cause and overbite. Some of these behavioral habits sucking fingers and thumbs this action causes the teeth to move and the jaw to deform. Nail biting and pencil chewing are also habits, which, if continued for many years, can also lead to overbites. Tongue thrusting is another way that children specifically get overbites. This action occurs as most children swallow. They thrust the tongue against the back of the teeth, pushing the teeth forward in the process.
A severe overbite can permanently damage more than the teeth. Front teeth that stick out farther than the bottom cause not only more trauma on the bottom teeth will, but also on the gums and roots of the teeth at the jaw line.