What Is The Difference Between An Overbite, Underbite, And Crossbite?

Posted on: 28 January 2015

When it comes to jaw alignment issues, you have one of three problems: an overbite, an underbite, or a crossbite. The way your teeth are aligned in conjunction with your jaw will determine which of these you have. All of them can be treated by orthodontic treatment, though the exact treatment you need might vary slightly. Here is more information about these jaw and bite issues:

What is an underbite?

The first bite condition you might be experiencing is calling an underbite. This is caused by your upper row of teeth falling behind your lower row of teeth when you close your jaw. Typically, the top row and bottom row of teeth should just barely touch when you close your jaw. However, an underbite causes the lower row of teeth to be slightly in front of the top teeth.

This can also affect your molars, which are the teeth near the back of your mouth. If you have an underbite, you probably have more of a prominent lower jaw, where you can visibly see the jaw condition. The main problem with an underbite is that the enamel on the tips of your top teeth can start wearing away from being rubbed against your bottom teeth. You may also experience difficulty chewing.

What is an overbite?

An overbite is the complete opposite of an underbite. Instead of the top row of teeth falling behind the bottom row of teeth, they will fall over the bottom row of teeth. You have the same issues in reverse, because now your top teeth are rubbing against the fronts of your bottom teeth, which also thins and wears out your teeth enamel.

Very slight overlaps are normal and are not usually considered an overbite. But if you can actually see that a good portion of the lower teeth are covered by the upper teeth when biting down, it is classified as an overbite.

This tends to be more common than an underbite and is often caused by sucking on your thumb or other childhood habits. You may also experience TMJ issues or headaches due to this condition.

What is a crossbite?

When you have a crossbite, your top front teeth do not line up with your bottom front teeth when your jaw is closed. One or more of your teeth are likely tilted toward the tongue or toward the cheek, as opposed to the teeth above them. This can cause a bite that is crossed, instead of a normal bite, overbite, or underbite.

It is another condition that is often the result of genetics. If one of your parents had a crossbite, you are more likely to have one. This can also be corrected by getting orthodontic treatment in the form of braces and possibly headgear. To learn more, contact a professional such as James Tritton DDS PC.


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