An overbite is a condition where a child’s upper teeth extend further forward than the teeth in the lower jaw and when the opposite alignment is present, the condition is called an underbite.
There is a direct correlation between your bite and your overall health and when children’s teeth and jaws are not aligned properly it may affect breathing, speech and sometimes can affect the appearance of the face and profile.
The term overbite refers to the overlap of the upper teeth over the lower teeth. Normal overbites are around 3-5mm between the teeth and overlaps greater than 5mm in children are classified as abnormal. Overbites make up around 70% of all dental disorders in children.
Overbites are associated with genetics, as the condition is regularly inherited from the parents. The condition can be exacerbated by extended dummy use, tongue thrusting and thumb sucking as the jaw bone is tender at this age and can be easily deformed.
Symptoms of an overbite include difficulty or pain when chewing, headaches and the temporomandibular joint may suffer extra stress and this extra stress can lead to damage and wear of the jaw bone joint.
An underbite is a condition where the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth when the jaws are closed together. For a normal bite, the lower front teeth are meant to lie behind the upper teeth. An underbite affects the molars and the upper incisor teeth and children with an underbite have a more prominent lower jaw.
Similar to an overbite, an underbite is usually a result of genetics; however, children who have sucked their thumb, have bad chewing habits, or have extended dummy use, can also develop an underbite. Children with allergies may also develop an underbite as they often breathe through the mouth.
Symptoms of an underbite are: difficulty chewing, headaches, and in worse cases temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMD) may develop. TMD is a condition where inflammation and arthritis are present in the joint near the temples which connects the lower jaw with the rest of the head.
Underbites should be treated immediately as the condition can worsen rapidly if not cared for properly.
All your concerns answered at Smileworx Orthodontics
For many parents, it’s not always easy to know if you child will require orthodontic treatment and while there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, Smileworx Orthodontics recommends that children around the age of seven visit the orthodontist.
By the age of seven, most children will have a mix of baby and adult teeth, which makes it easier to diagnose and correct jaw problems sooner.
If you have more questions about overbites or underbites, or wish to make an appointment, contact Smileworx Orthodontics today.