What’s the difference between an overbite and an overjet?

Overbite and overjet problems are common orthodontic conditions.  An overjet is often mistakenly called an overbite, however the two conditions are distinct. So today, we’re going to discuss the difference  between the two as well as how your orthodontist can help treat it.

What is an overjet?

An overjet is characterized by the protrusion of the upper front teeth. Commonly referred to as buck teeth, the condition is present when there is a prominent horizontal overlap where the front teeth overlap their neighbours. This protrusion puts individuals at a higher risk of knocking or chipping their front teeth.

What is an overbite?

While an overjet refers to a horizontal issue, an overbite refers to a vertical one. A deep overbite is when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth by more than one-third. In severe cases, the lower teeth may even touch the gum tissue behind the upper front teeth.

What causes an overbite or overjet?

A pronounced overbite or overjet is usually hereditary.

Buck teeth (increase overjet) can also be caused by childhood habits such as extensive thumb sucking and prolonged bottle feeding that can push the jaw and teeth further out of line.

Overbites and overjets tend to be easier to treat in children and teenagers, since a child’s jaw is still developing, However, overbite and overjet correction is also common for adults.

Why do you need to correct an overbite?

If left untreated, an overbite or overjet can cause significant health complications including:

Jaw pain

A misaligned jaw can cause chronic jaw pain and headaches, that may contribute to the development of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).

Difficulty speaking or chewing

An overjet can make proper chewing difficult, while also affecting your speech. You use your teeth, lips and tongue together to create sounds which means you may have difficulty pronouncing some words when your teeth are very protruded.

Sleep apnoea

Not getting enough sleep? People with overjets are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnoea, especially if their overjet is associated with a small set-back lower jaw.

Fractured teeth and increased wear and tear

When you have an overbite, your teeth will often hit each other during rest and function, causing enamel wear and tear, tooth fracture and even tooth loss.

Gum damage

In severe cases, the lower front teeth can contact the gum line in the back of the upper front teeth, while the upper front teeth may strike the gum line of the lower front teeth. This could result in gum recession, gum disease and even wiggly loose teeth.

How to treat an overbite?

Orthodontists are often asked if braces fix an overbite and overjet. The answer is yes! After an examination, your orthodontist can diagnose the severity of your overbite or overjet and suggest the best method for correction. For most people that means plates, braces or clear aligners, but sometimes, the overbite or overjet occurs due to a malformed jaw, so surgery may be required.

Use our Orthodontist Finder Tool to find a specialist orthodontist near you. They will help you make the right decision about how to treat your overbite or overjet.



60.00% of readers found this article helpful.
UnhelpfulMostly unhelpfulPossibly helpfulMostly helpfulVery helpful
Click a star to add your vote


Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

You may also like...

All about Orthodontics
What is a malocclusion?

Unless you hang around with orthodontists, ‘malocclusion’ is probably not a term you are very familiar with. But the four… Read More

Find An Orthodontist

Looking for a local orthodontist? Let us assist you.