Can Buck Teeth Be Fixed?
Protruding front teeth or ‘buck teeth’ are a type of bite problem commonly referred to as an “overbite”, where the upper teeth extend out over the lower teeth by at least 2 millimetres. The good news? While underlying causes may vary, “buck teeth” can be predictably corrected by well planned orthodontic treatment – leaving you with the straight and stunning smile you always dreamed of.
What causes buck teeth?
Genetics can result in a smaller than average lower jaw, thus leading to a relative protrusion of the upper front teeth. Although colloquially known as an “overbite”, dental professionals actually use the term “increased overjet”. Meaning? Protruding front teeth can indeed be a family characteristic, as genetics are known to significantly influence both jaw and tooth sizes. But there are other causes of buck teeth – many of them unhelpful habits from childhood that have caused teeth to gradually shift out of alignment. These include:
- Prolonged dummy use. Ideally, children should surrender the dummy by the age of two.
- Thumb sucking. Much like prolonged dummy use in children, extended thumb sucking (i.e. beyond the age of 5-6 when the permanent incisor teeth erupt) can cause the front teeth to protrude abnormally.
- Tongue thrusting. While occasionally resting your tongue against your teeth won’t be enough to cause a serious bite problem, an unusually strong or repeated tongue thrust over an extended period can lead to protruding front teeth in both children and adults.
- Irregular crowding or spacing of teeth. Crowded or missing teeth can cause your teeth to shift out of alignment and may therefore contribute to forward positioning of the upper front teeth.
Protruding teeth orthodontic treatment
Happily, protruding teeth can be predictably corrected with targeted orthodontic treatment. Your specific treatment plan will depend on the severity of your malocclusion and the underlying alignment of your mouth and jaw. The orthodontic treatment options for buck teeth include:
- Braces. The most common orthodontic treatment for protruding front teeth is through use of traditional metal or ceramic braces. Through exerting a gentle yet steady pressure on your teeth, braces correct your tooth alignment – fixing the issue of buck teeth.
- Traditional Removable Appliances (i.e. “Plates”). Treatment with removable plates was more common over30 years ago. When used appropriately and worn faithfully, carefully selected patients can benefit from this treatment option. However, these removable plates are not generally effective at controlling every individual tooth position (i.e. braces and Invisalign® are much more effective for individual tooth control). Due to this lack of control, the use of plates alone is becoming less common in modern orthodontic practice.
- Jaw surgery. For people with a severely protrusive upper front teeth and jaw alignment issues, orthognathic (jaw) surgery may be required. This surgery successfully realigns the upper and lower jaw bones.
Can Invisalign® fix protruding teeth?
Yes! For mild or moderate cases, clear aligners such as Invisalign® can effectively correct buck teeth. Your orthodontist will custom-design clear plastic trays to fit your precise tooth alignment, with different trays fitted as your teeth gradually align over time. Your specialist orthodontist will help determine if clear aligners will predictably work for your individual case.
Can you fix protruding teeth at home?
Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to fix protruding front teeth on your own at home. To shift buck teeth into the correct alignment and prevent permanent damage to the mouth and jaw, protruding teeth should be diagnosed and treated by a specialist orthodontist. Your orthodontist will devise a safe and effective treatment plan tailored especially for you, ensuring your stunning newly-straightened smile lasts you long into the future. Use our handy Finder tool to find a specialist orthodontist near you.