Overbite, or buck teeth, occurs when your top front teeth extend beyond your bottom front teeth. Many people have a slight overbite. A more severe overbite may lead to tooth decay, gum disease or jaw pain. You can prevent children from developing an overbite by limiting thumb-sucking and pacifier use.
An overbite, also called buck teeth, is a misalignment of the teeth. It occurs when your upper front teeth protrude (stick out) beyond your lower front teeth.
Overbite is a type of malocclusion. This term describes any misaligned or crooked teeth.
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A minor overbite may not cause any noticeable health issues. However, an uncorrected overbite may lead to:
In some cases, an overbite is hereditary (runs in the family). Genetic traits, such as your jaw shape, can affect the alignment of your teeth.
Other causes include:
The primary symptom of an overbite is related to your appearance — your top front teeth overlap past your bottom front teeth. Overbites can also cause:
The dentist may refer you to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in tooth and jaw alignment.
Overbite correction is different for children and adults. If an overbite is caught during childhood, treatment may involve:
In adults, treatment may involve:
Sometimes overbites occur due to uncontrollable factors, like genetics.
In children, you can help prevent overbites by:
If you have an overbite, you can keep your teeth and mouth healthy by:
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An overbite is top front teeth that protrude beyond your bottom front teeth. In severe cases, an overbite can lead to health problems like jaw pain, gum disease or tooth decay. In children, a dentist or orthodontist can treat an overbite with braces or other corrective devices. Adults who have overbites may need jaw surgery to correct the misalignment. If you have an overbite, you can keep your mouth healthy by practicing excellent oral hygiene and scheduling regular checkups with your dentist.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/01/2021.
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