Many of us have likely had or know someone who has had corrective braces for crooked or misaligned teeth. However, there are many more types of teeth-related issues that braces may treat.
Let’s examine how braces can be used to correct an alignment issue known as an overjet, including what exactly an overjet is, how it can affect your oral health, and how braces can help.
What is an overjet?
An overjet is a term many may not be familiar with. Typically most people are familiar with the term overbite, a spacing issue between the top and bottom rows of teeth that causes a person’s bite to be misaligned. While an overbite is characterized by the vertical spacing between the top and bottom teeth, an overjet is very different.
On the other hand, an overjet refers to the protrusion of the top row of teeth, specifically them sticking out further than the bottom teeth. This is colloquially known as “buck teeth” and can have severe consequences if left untreated.
An untreated overjet can cause the lower jaw to rest uncomfortably and unnaturally, leading to other dental issues, possibly even TMJ (lockjaw).
Causes of an overjet
Several factors can cause an overjet. Genetic factors may cause minor overjets, but more severe overjets are likely caused by behavior in childhood that affects the position of the front teeth.
Excessive thumb sucking, pacifier use, bottle suckling, and even pressing against the front teeth with the tongue can all shift the position of the front teeth and cause an overjet. It’s best to correct these behaviors as soon as possible to prevent severe dental complications from occurring.
While there are many options to repair an overjet, if the overjet happens in adulthood or remains untreated into adulthood, then the scope of the damage may require oral surgery before the overbite can be corrected using corrective braces.
How corrective braces can help an overjet
If caught early, one of the best ways to correct an overjet is with braces. Most overjets can be corrected using standard metal or ceramic braces or even clear plastic aligners. The best time to correct the issue is in early childhood before the condition can become severe or create other dental issues.
Braces and aligners work by gradually shifting the teeth into position over time until they are straight. Typically, braces are installed over the teeth and are adjusted manually by your dentist at regular intervals in order to safely and effectively move the teeth into the proper position.
This is often why parents of children with an overjet will choose to get braces over other options so that spacing issues can be corrected over time. This way, the entire smile can be straightened out at one time, especially if the overjet has caused crowding or shifting for the other teeth.
Request an appointment here: https://www.drloweortho.com or call Mark Lowe D.D.S. Orthodontics at (559) 467-1235 for an appointment in our Fresno office.