How to Diagnose an Overbite

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An overbite occurs when the upper and lower jaw don't align properly, causing the placement of the bottom teeth to sit unnaturally beneath the top teeth. This can result in head and jaw pain, migraine headaches, bone damage and other painful symptoms. If you think you may have an overbite, follow these steps to help you diagnose it prior to seeing an orthodontic specialist.

Things You'll Need

  • Mirror
  • Position yourself as close to the mirror as is comfortably possible.

  • Place your teeth together naturally. Make sure your jaw remains relaxed without forcing your teeth together. Forcing your teeth together may produce exaggerated results.

  • Smile to spread your lips away from the teeth and get a clear view.

  • Notice in the mirror if your upper teeth fall over the top of your bottom row. This overlay can range from slightly noticeable to a prominent overbite.

  • Check to see if your lower row of teeth is biting close to or into the roof of your mouth. If they do, this indicates you have a deep overbite.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is necessary to fix an overbite as soon as possible due to the bone damage it can cause. A child may be ready to receive overbite treatment as early as age 7. Braces often fix the problem if applied early enough. For more severe overbites, jaw surgery may have to be performed to realign the jaw bones.
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