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If you’re dealing with an overbite, you may be wondering what kind of braces are the best option for you. It’s a good question, since overbite is a more particular malocclusion that poses certain challenges. Some braces can be too fragile or not strong enough for correcting this type of misalignment.
In this article, I’ll share my opinion on what are the best braces for an overbite, as well as some alternatives for correcting milder cases. You’ll also learn about how overbite is corrected and how long it takes. Hope this helps you make a decision!
What Braces Work Best for an Overbite
First things first, let’s learn more about overbite so we understand what works best to correct it. In this section, we will discuss what an overbite is, the difference between an overbite and an overjet, and why metal braces are the best option for correcting an overbite.
What is an Overbite?
An overbite is a dental condition where the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth. This overlap is measured by the amount of vertical overlap between the upper and lower front teeth. In a normal bite, the overlap is between 2-4mm. In an overbite, the overlap is greater than 4mm.
If you have mild to moderate overbite, you’ll notice that your top front teeth will cover about half of the bottom front teeth when you bite. If your overbite is severe, you will barely see your bottom incisors as your top incisors will cover them all the way down when you bite. Severe overbites are a cause for concern and should be corrected to avoid other issues.
Overbites are most often found in a class II malocclusion, which is the most common type of malocclusion people have. This type of malocclusion is hereditary and defined by a forward growing maxilla and a small mandible.
Excessive overbite is also called deep bite. Some patients can have quite strong jaw muscles that force the bite into a deep position and make this issue harder to correct.
If they remain uncorrected, overbites can cause:
- Periodontal issues (caused by the trauma of a poor bite)
- Abnormal tooth wear
- Jaw pain, headaches
- Sleep apnea (in some extreme cases)
Overbite vs Overjet
It is important to note that an overbite is different from an overjet. An overjet is a condition where the upper front teeth protrude forward beyond the lower front teeth. This condition is often referred to as “buck teeth.” Overjet and overbite can occur together but are not the same thing. Braces will correct both since we never address just one problem.
Why Metal Braces are the Best Option
I’ve been correcting overbites for many years, and in my hands, traditional metal braces work best for correcting this malocclusion. So take my recommendation with a grain of salt, since different orthodontist will have different opinions. I will explain why I think that metal braces are, objectively, your best bet.
Overbites, or deep bites are caused by overerrupted front teeth, both top and bottom. These teeth will overlap, either tightly, or with a space (overjet) between them. For some patients, this means they will hit their bottom braces when they bite.
To prevent this, we place bite turbos to open up the bite and start correcting the issue. But in moderate to severe deep bites, these turbos are not enough, and the top teeth will still be hitting the bottom braces. This will lead to one of two things: either the bottom brackets come off, or the top teeth can get chipped or worn.
Obviously, we want to avoid chipped and worn out teeth, but it’s an accident you should be aware of if you have a deep bite. Here’s what I mean:
This is why metal brackets are a no-brainer. They’re the flattest of all the options, easy to clean, and easy to replace if they break, which can happen quite frequently in a deep bite.
Self-ligating metal braces are the second option. These braces use a clip instead of elastic bands to hold the wire in place, which can reduce the amount of pressure on the teeth. However, some options are still bulkier than traditional metal braces. They’re also a bit more expensive.
Still, self-ligating braces are a great option for treating overbite because deep bite correction takes a lot of time and patience. With self-ligating braces, you’ll only be visiting your orthodontist every 8 weeks or even less, which cuts down the number of visits in nearly half compared to traditional braces.
If you’re curious about self-ligation and how it works, I wrote a comprehensive article on it that you can read here. And here’s an idea about how thick they are compared to traditional braces:
Other Braces for Overbite
If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional braces to correct your overbite, perhaps something more esthetic and low key, there are a few options available. In this section, we’ll go over some of the other braces for overbite that you might want to consider.
Ceramic Braces & metal braces combo
If you hate the idea of getting metal braces, or you work in an environment that values aesthetics, and you need to keep a low profile, ceramic braces are the next best thing for treating your overbite, with a couple of considerations.
The problem with ceramic brackets is that they’re bulky and create more friction than metal braces. You can see a full comparison in this article.
With deep bite in particular, ceramic braces can chip the top teeth, since ceramic is harder than enamel. We try to open the bite as much as possible to avoid this, but some patients may experience this and chip their top incisor edges.
Because of this, my top recommendation for correcting overbite in adult patients with high aesthetic needs is this combination: ceramic braces on the top arch and metal braces on the bottom arch.
This way, my patients can smile confidently, as the bottom teeth aren’t always as visible.
If, however, you show your bottom teeth when you talk, this option may not be for you. Not sure about this? Take a video of you speaking in a regular, relaxed way to see exactly which incisors you display.
Clear Aligners for moderate Overbites
If you’re looking for a way to fix your overbite without drawing too much attention to your smile, clear aligners might just be what you need, provided that your overbite is mild to moderate.
These transparent trays are custom-made to fit your teeth like a glove and are crafted from a special clear plastic material that makes them almost invisible. They’re also super convenient since you can take them out when you eat or brush your teeth, so you don’t have to worry about getting food stuck in your braces or struggling to clean your teeth.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that clear aligners may not be the best option for correcting a more severe overbite, especially when the overbite is combined with overjet and other bite issues.
This is because clear aligners are designed to apply a more gentle force to teeth, and are also easy to bend out of shape. As a result, they may not offer the same level of control and precision as other orthodontic treatments.
Thankfully, orthodontic techniques are advancing fast, and with the help of miniscrews and rubber bands, clear aligners can now correct more complex cases. It’s all up to your orthodontist and what instrument they prefer best.
What about lingual braces?
Lingual brackets are similar to traditional or self ligating braces, but they are placed on the back of your teeth instead of the front. If you have an overbite, this means you’ll be biting on your top lingual braces, which can prove challenging.
Lingual braces are truly the most esthetic option since they’re completely invisible from the front, but they can also be more uncomfortable, as they are placed on the back of your teeth where your tongue rests. They’re also harder to clean and more expensive than traditional braces.
Depending on how severe your overbite is, and how skilled your orthodontist is in lingual braces, you can decide if you’re a candidate for this type of treatment.
How Do Braces Correct Overbite
Braces work by leveling out the occlusion plane, which is the way your teeth come together when you bite down. In a deep overbite, the upper front teeth cover most or all of the lower front teeth, and, as a result, create a curve at the front, since the incisors sit a different plane compared to the back teeth.
Notice the curved wire in this photo – in a normal bite, that wire would be straight.
To correct an overbite, orthodontists use a combination of techniques. What they all have in common is achieving intrusion, which involves moving the upper front teeth upward, and the bottom teeth downward to reduce the amount of overlap with the lower front teeth.
We do this by using strong archwires and bite turbos, which are small bumps placed on the back teeth to prevent the front teeth from touching when you bite down.
In some cases, orthodontists may also use miniscrews to help correct a severe overbite, especially in adult patients. Miniscrews are small screws that are placed in the jawbone and used as anchors to apply force to the teeth, allowing for more precise control of tooth movement.
It’s important to note that correcting an overbite can take time, and the length of treatment will depend on the severity of the overbite and other factors, such as the age of the patient and their overall oral health.
You can expect a huge variation in treatment time depending on your particular case, but your orthodontist should be able to give you a rough estimation of how long it will take.
After exploring the various options available for correcting an overbite, it is clear that both traditional metal braces and Invisalign can be effective in treating mild to moderate cases. However, in more severe cases, traditional braces may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
When deciding between traditional braces and Invisalign, it’s important to consider your needs and preferences. Do you need something invisible? Choose clear aligners. Looking for a budget-friendly option that’s both efficient and economical? Metal braces may work best for you.
Whether you’re new to braces or a braces veteran, taking care of your teeth (and your health) during orthodontic treatment is crucial. That’s why I’ve put together a list of orthodontist-recommended tools that will make caring for your braces a breeze: