Overbite: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Orthodontic Treatment

jugdeep  years old overjet and overbite before invisalign treatment

What is an Overbite? What Is it? How To Diagnose, Treatment Methods, and More

There are many different dental conditions treatable with orthodontic care – one of the most common is an overbite. An overbite is a too-large overlap between the top teeth and the bottom teeth. A proper bite requires a small overbite – generally 1 to 2 mm – but the front teeth should fit over the bottom teeth and not leave a  between them. When the overlap is too large, this is called an excessive overbite.

There are a variety of overbites, with different complexities involved in treatment. For that reason, each condition is unique, and the orthodontist devises a unique treatment plan to straighten teeth safely and effectively for each specific case. Overbites are one of the most common reasons people seek orthodontic treatment, and orthodontists are very skilled at correcting this problem!

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about overbites: what they are, how they happen, and what orthodontists can do to treat them.

Orthodontic X Ray of Overbite Patient

What Is an Overbite?

An overbite is a vertical-plane overlap between the top teeth and the bottom teeth. While a small overbite is necessary for a proper bite, it shouldn’t overlap too far: the top teeth should close over and in front of the bottom teeth.

An overlap of more than 2-3 mm is considered an excessive overbite and should be treated by a licensed experienced orthodontist.

Different Types of Overbites

There are two main types of overbite: skeletal and dental, or a combination of both. A skeletal overbite results from irregular jawbone development, causing the teeth and jaws to grow improperly.

what is overbite

dental overbite is caused by an external interruption of dental development, for instance from crowding or loss of back teeth or bad oral habits.

Orthodontists measure the severity of the overbite on a percentage scale based on the degree of overlap between top and bottom teeth: the overbite could be 30%, 50%, or 100%. The larger the percentage, the more severe the overbite, and more complex treatment is required.

An impinging overbite is considered the most severe form of overbite: this condition causes the lower teeth to touch the palate behind the upper teeth when the mouth is closed, which slowly damages the bone surrounding the upper front teeth. This can result in the loss of the upper front teeth and/or excessive trauma to the teeth.

The majority of overbites can be treated successfully with only proper orthodontic intervention: occasionally, some severe overbites may require oral surgery as well to achieve the best results, in addition to orthodontic care.

Severity of Overbites

Type of Overbite  Width of overbite (mm)  Cause  Percentage Severity  Requires Orthodontic Intervention 
Normal 1 to 3 mm Usually dental 30% Possibly
Deep 4-8 mm Dental or skeletal 50% Likely
Severe 9mm or more Dental or skeletal 100% Yes
overbite vs verjet

Overbite vs. Overjet

An overjet is distinct from an overbite: in an overjet, there is a horizontal gap between the top front teeth and the bottom front teeth (people sometimes call this “buck teeth”). Those with excessive overjet likely will have excessive overbite as well; an experienced orthodontist will treat both conditions at the same time.

overbite vs crossbite

Overbite vs. Underbite/Crossbite

An underbite is the opposite of an overjet: in an underbite, the upper front teeth come down behind the bottom front teeth when the mouth is closed, rather than in front as in a healthy bite. Another term for underbite is crossbite, which can be in the front or in the back of the teeth.

What Causes an Overbite?

There are several reasons why overbites occur:

  • Genetics is one cause: these overbites are called skeletal overbites because they result from irregularities in the growth of the jawbone structure. The shape and development of bones are generally caused by particular genes inherited from your parents or relatives.
  • Overcrowding can cause an overbite, as the teeth jostle for position. Crowding can occur for a variety of reasons: loss of the back teeth from excessive wear and tear can cause the remaining teeth to the crowd, causing an overbite.
  • Sometimes external factors cause an overbite: these issues result in dental overbites. Thumb-sucking or prolonged use of a pacifier can sometimes cause overbites. Bad habits like nail-biting or chewing on the ends of pencils or ponytails can also cause an overbite or overjet.

Whatever the cause of an overbite, they are a common dental condition. Finding an orthodontist with years of experience is key to successfully correcting an overbite.

Your teeth are in good hands with a licensed, experienced orthodontist who is an expert in treating overbites!

Is an Overbite Bad for Your Teeth?

If you suspect your child has an overbite, we advise you to visit your local orthodontist for an expert opinion. The AAO recommends children see an orthodontist beginning at age 7.

An untreated overbite can get worse over time, and may cause lasting damage to your teeth, bones, and jaw structure. Overbites can impact speech, cause facial pain, and make it harder to maintain good oral hygiene, resulting in gingivitis and/or periodontitis.

Overbites may cause discomfort or pain, and make you feel embarrassed about your smile. But it can also do lasting harm to the health of your mouth.

If an overbite is left untreated, it can eventually cause a host of problems: loss of teeth, increased crowding, difficulties brushing or flossing, headaches, jaw locks, pain while eating, gum disease, periodontal disease, or other related dental problems.

Remember: orthodontic treatment is not simply cosmetic. A healthy smile with straight teeth and a proper bite is critical for lifelong health and quality of life! A healthy mouth is the key to a healthy body.

How To Treat an Overbite

Overbites are common, well-researched, and usually treatable when corrected by a licensed, experienced orthodontist. Orthodontic doctors study for years to safely and effectively straighten teeth, so an experienced orthodontist will have plenty of expertise when it comes to treating overbites.

There are multiple tools that your orthodontist can use to treat overbites.

what are ceramic braces

Metal or Ceramic Braces

The most common tool used by orthodontists, braces have helped many millions of people young and old achieve straight teeth and beautiful, lasting smiles.

Most orthodontic providers offer several types of braces treatment: metal brackets can be paired with colorful rubber bands (popular with kids and teens), while ceramic brackets use clear or tooth-colored material that diminishes the appearance of braces. Adults love ceramic braces for their subtle look.

Make sure to find an experienced orthodontic provider who can use braces to treat your overbite: choose a dedicated orthodontic practice, rather than a general dentist.

Orthodontists study for an extra 2-4 years to master the art of teeth alignment, which gives them a great deal more experience in the subject than general dentists. Plus, they exclusively straighten teeth, rather than spread out their work over lots of different dental interventions, so they have years of practical expertise, and all the necessary equipment, technology, and instruments to create outstanding results.

invisalign aligner with case

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign clear aligners are also an excellent choice for correcting overbites, as long as you choose an experienced orthodontist, preferable a Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider. This treatment uses a series of clear plastic aligners, custom-molded to your teeth, that slowly and safely move them into their correct positions.

While other clear aligner brands have cropped up offering similar invisible braces treatment, Invisalign has continued to lead the industry in innovation and design, for optimal results and maximum effectiveness. Choosing an experienced orthodontist that offers Invisalign means you have access to patented technology, clinically proven to enhance treatment, including SmartTrack™ aligner materialsSmartForce™ attachments, and iTero® 3D scanning. These innovative tools allow your orthodontist to correct your overbite more quickly, and with more precise movements, than other aligner brands.

It’s also critically important to see a licensed orthodontist in-office for your clear invisible braces treatment. Many mail-order aligner companies offer treatment from home without ever having you see a professional in-person: this can have serious consequences for the outcome of your treatment and for the safety and health of your teeth and mouth. American Association of Orthodontists has recently issued a consumer advisory warning against the use of these at-home kits.

Thousands of consumer complaints have been filed against mail-order aligner brands for failing to correct teeth or for permanently damaging them. Skip the teledentist: get your treatment from an orthodontist in-office, who directly supervises your care, carefully monitors your progress while correcting your overbite, and can answer all your questions or concerns.

dental surgery


For very severe overbites, oral surgery is sometimes the best option in combination with comprehensive orthodontic therapy. It is very rare, but for those cases that require serious intervention, oral surgery can provide outstanding results for correcting severe overbites.

Surgery is more common for severe skeletal overbites in adults, whose teeth roots and bones have already firmly developed, and are harder to move. Orthodontic care is most effective in children, whose bones are still growing, so even a severe overbite is more easily treatable in children and likely will not require surgery. The majority of adults can also be treated successfully with orthodontic therapy alone.

If your condition requires surgery, your orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon. You will be treated with a combination of surgery and orthodontia, using one of the methods described above.



While retainers can’t correct an overbite, they are very important for protecting the results after the overbite has been treated. Whether braces or Invisalign, you will be provided with a retainer or multiple retainers to maintain the results of your treatment. Your orthodontist will schedule a 6-month follow-up visit to monitor your results.

Be sure to wear your retainer properly so the overbite doesn’t come back!

Overbite FAQs: All Your Questions Answered

  • 1Are Overbites Genetic?

    It depends. Overbites are often genetic, due to irregularities in the dental structure or jawbones. But an overbite can be acquired over time, from teeth crowding, loss of the back teeth, or an external force such as thumb-sucking or prolonged use of a pacifier.

  • 2How Much of an Overbite is Normal?

    A small overbite is appropriate for a normal bite: this is about 1 to 3 mm. More than 3 mm is considered too large of an overbite and requires orthodontic treatment.

  • 3How Do I Know if I Have an Overbite?

    You can assess your overbite at home: using a mirror, smile to show your teeth while biting down gently. If you can see only 50% of your lower front teeth or less, you may have an overbite. To confirm whether you have an overbite, consult an orthodontist to learn about treatment options.

    How Do I Know if I Have an Overbite front and side view
  • 4How Do I Measure My Overbite?

    You don’t need to do an exact measurement at home – your orthodontist will take precise measurements using x-rays or 3D-imaging tools. To see whether you have an overbite, just smile in the mirror while biting down gently: if you can only see 50% or less of your lower front teeth when your jaw is fully closed, you may have an overbite and should consult an orthodontist to confirm.

  • 5When Does an Overbite Need to Be Corrected?

    While a medium overbite is normal, anything over 3-4 mm should be checked by a licensed orthodontist. An overbite can negatively impact your health, causing headaches, problems with your bite, or jaw tension, as well as tooth or gum decay from an inability to properly care for the teeth.

    If you suspect you may have an overbite, consult an orthodontist – an overbite can be corrected, with results that will benefit your smile and your overall health!

  • 6Can You Correct an Overbite Without Surgery?

    Absolutely: the majority of overbites can be corrected without surgery. You will need to see an experienced, licensed orthodontist for treatment with braces or Invisalign. If the condition is too severe for orthodontia alone, your orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon in addition to orthodontic care.

  • 7Does an Overbite Require Surgery?

    In rare instances, where the overbite is very severe, it may require some surgical intervention to treat properly. Most of the cases do not require any surgery and can be treated by a licensed orthodontist.

  • 8Can You Live With an Overbite?

    You can live with an overbite, but letting an overbite go untreated can have serious consequences for your teeth, mouth, and overall health. It’s best to correct an overbite to achieve a healthy, straight smile, to avoid gum disease, excessive wear and tear on the teeth, or even tooth loss.

  • 9Will an Overbite Correct Itself?

    Absolutely not: an overbite will not correct itself. In fact, if left untreated, overbites will get worse over time, requiring more invasive treatment methods. Rather than wait for an overbite to get worse, it’s best to get it treated as soon as you can, with a simple orthodontic treatment by an expert doctor.

  • 10Will My Toddler’s Overbite Correct Itself?

    It is difficult to predict how a child’s adult teeth will come in after their baby teeth fall out. For this reason, it’s important to begin your child’s orthodontic treatment early before the problem gets worse. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should see an orthodontist at age 7 or 8. They will likely not begin any kind of intervention at this age, but this allows the orthodontist to examine how the teeth are growing in and predict what kind of orthodontic treatment may be needed (if any.)

    If your toddler has an overbite, you can ask your child’s general dentist for their opinion about future treatment, and when your child turns 7, bring them to an orthodontic specialist for a check-up. You do not need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist.

  • 11Can an Overbite Cause Speech Problems?

    Yes, an overbite can cause speech problems. The excessive overlap between top and bottom teeth can cause a lisp or other speech impediment. Correcting the overbite may correct the speech problem, although other speech therapies may be needed as well.

  • 12Can an Overbite Cause a Lisp?

    Yes, an overbite can cause a lisp. An excessive overlap between the top and bottom teeth can impact your ability to articulate clearly, causing a lisp or other speech problem.

  • 13Can an Overbite Cause Ear Problems?

    Yes, an overbite can cause excessive pressure on the ear canal or other inner-ear structures. In patients with TMD (temporal-mandibular disorder), an overbite can compress nerves, causing ear pain and headaches.

  • 14Can an Overbite Cause Headaches?

    Yes, an overbite can cause headaches, by putting excessive pressure on the ear canal or by compressing nerves and blood vessels.

  • 15Can an Overbite Cause Snoring?

    Yes, an overbite can cause snoring, by interfering with the ear-nose-throat system and putting pressure on nasal passages, causing snoring.

  • 16Can an Overbite Change Your Facial Structure?

    Yes. A large overlap between the top and bottom teeth can cause an unnatural appearance in the lower third of the face, creating the perception of a shorter chin or weaker jaw.

    Overjets, commonly associated with overbites, can also cause the teeth to stick out – known as “buck teeth” – which can be a source of embarrassment to those who have this condition.

  • 17Can You Correct an Overbite Yourself?

    No, it is not possible to correct an overbite without supervision and expertise from a licensed orthodontist. Never attempt to treat your teeth at home by yourself: this is very dangerous and can seriously impact your teeth, with permanent results.

    The AAO also cautions against using teledentistry (like mail-order aligners) to correct an overbite. This can be ineffective, or even create worse problems for your teeth and mouth, requiring expensive interventions to correct.

  • 18Does an Overbite Get Worse With Age?

    Absolutely: overbites grow worse over time, and can cause other issues as they worsen, including headaches or dental pain, trouble chewing or biting, or teeth and gum decay from the inability to properly clean the teeth. To prevent a worsening overbite and the associated risks, it’s best to treat an overbite as soon as you can – the treatment will be faster, less expensive, and require a lighter intervention.

  • 19Do Overbites Need to Be Corrected?

    Yes. Any overbite over 3-4 mm is considered excessive and should be corrected, to prevent the associated problems, including pain, trouble biting or chewing, or lasting tooth or gum damage. The smaller the overbite, the simpler it is to treat, so it’s absolutely worth it to get the overbite corrected, with effective care from an experienced, licensed orthodontist, using either braces or Invisalign.

  • 20How Long Does It Take To Correct an Overbite?

    Treatment time depends on your specific condition. Since overbites can cause shifting of the teeth, those patients with overbite often have other problems requiring correction. Expect a treatment time between 6 and 24 months, and then retainers afterward to keep the results in place.

  • 21Is Jaw Surgery Necessary for Overbite?

    In the majority of cases, oral surgery is not necessary. Only 1 or 2 percent of cases will require surgery. An experienced orthodontist will offer several non-invasive treatment methods, including braces and Invisalign, to correct the overbite without resorting to surgery.

    If your case is severe and does require surgery, your orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon to supplement your orthodontic care.

  • 22Can You Treat an Overbite Without an Orthodontist?

    No, an orthodontist is required to safely and effectively treat an overbite. In severe cases, you may also require an oral surgeon to properly correct the overbite. Doing any kind of orthodontic treatment at home without proper supervision is very dangerous and can seriously harm your teeth: do not try to correct an overbite on your own.

    Seeking teledentistry, such as mail-order aligners, without the direct supervision of an in-office orthodontist, can also have serious unintended consequences.

  • 23Can an Overbite Be Corrected Without Braces?

    Yes, there are alternatives to braces for treating an overbite. Skilled orthodontists can use Invisalign to correct overbites: minimally-invasive, easy to use, and extremely effective, Invisalign clear aligners have helped millions of people achieve straight teeth and correct overbites.

Treating Overbite with Invisalign Clear Aligners FAQs

  • 1Can Invisalign Correct an Overbite?

    Yes - when used as a tool in the hands of a skilled, experienced orthodontist, Invisalign is effective for treating overbites. It is non-invasive (the aligners are removable), easy to use, and extremely discreet. Seek a highly-experienced orthodontist, with specific Invisalign expertise. Diamond Plus and Diamond Invisalign Providers have the most experience treating conditions like overbites with clear aligners.

  • 2How Long Does it Take to Correct an Overbite with Invisalign?

    Treatment lengths with Invisalign depend on your specific condition and the experience of your orthodontist. Most overbite cases take between 12 to 24 months to correct fully, but this all depends on the specifics of your case.
    Make sure to find an experienced Invisalign provider who has lots of direct expertise in straightening teeth with clear aligners, and be sure to see an in-office orthodontist who will directly supervise your case.

  • 3How Much Does it Cost to Correct an Overbite with Invisalign?

    Your final price depends on the specific of your case and where you seek treatment. Invisalign can run anywhere from $2,650-$7,000. For very mild cases, there are expedited treatment options for around $2,400.

    Remember that your Invisalign treatment is an investment in your health, not a boutique purchase – don’t cut corners on your healthy smile to save a few dollars! Choose your Invisalign provider wisely, based not only on cost, but also experience, equipment, and direct supervision.

    Learn more about Invisalign cost.

  • 4How Does Invisalign Correct an Overbite?

    Remember, Invisalign doesn't correct an overbite - your experienced orthodontist does this, using Invisalign. Skilled orthodontists can correct an overbite effectively using clear aligners. To do this, your orthodontist will take 3D-scans of your teeth and bite, as well as x-rays. They will design each aligner and each attachment to safely and precisely move your teeth.

    Aligners and attachments will be used to create the most optimal direction and degree of force to move your teeth into proper position, correct the bite, and help you achieve a healthy, long-lasting smile.

Mustafa, 21 Years Old, with Overbite: Before and After Invisalign Treatment

Male  Years Old with Overbite Before and After Invisalign Treatment

Treating Overbite With Braces FAQs

  • 1Can Braces Correct an Overbite?

    Yes, when used by a licensed, experienced orthodontist, braces are an effective way to correct an overbite. Each overbite case is unique, so your expert orthodontist will develop a custom treatment plan for your specific diagnosis. Often, patients will need to wear rubber bands with their braces to expedite the correction of their overbite.

  • 2How Long Does it Take to Correct an Overbite with Braces?

    Every case is unique, so treatment times are different for each case. Sometimes, there will be other alignment issues with the teeth that also need to be treated. Generally, correcting an overbite with braces takes between 12 and 24 months. Make sure to choose an experienced orthodontist in a dedicated orthodontics-only practice for the highest quality tools and providers with the most direct expertise in straightening teeth.

  • 3How Much Does it Cost to Correct an Overbite with Braces?

    The price varies with the specifics of your case, and what else needs to be treated along with the overbite, as well as where you go for treatment and which method you choose. Generally, you can expect to pay between $1,800 and $7,000.

    Make sure to select an orthodontist who works in a dedicated orthodontic practice: they will have more specific experience with straightening teeth and correcting overbites, as well as access to the highest quality materials and cutting-edge orthodontic technology. Their prices will also be lower due to a higher volume of orthodontic patients, rather than a wide variety of dental cases as in a general dentist’s office.

  • 4Are Braces or Invisalign Clear Aligners Better To Treat an Overbite?

    Both of these types of treatment are reliable tools for correcting an overbite - but the most important part of your treatment is your licensed, experienced orthodontist. Both braces and Invisalign are tools, and only as effective as the skill of your doctor.

    Metal or ceramic braces may be a less expensive treatment option, while Invisalign can provide a discreet look that many patients prefer. Many patients find Invisalign to be more comfortable than braces. Be sure to select an experienced orthodontist you trust and talk to them about which treatment is right for correcting your overbite.

  • 5How Do Braces Correct an Overbite?

    Remember, braces do not correct the overbite: the orthodontist does. To do this, your orthodontist will attach brackets to the teeth and a flexible wire is inserted across them. The wire links the brackets and provides the force that moves the teeth slowly and safely into place.

    Your orthodontist will position the bracket on your teeth at specific angles, and apply a gentle force with the wire to carefully adjust the teeth. Your orthodontist may prescribe rubber bands as well, which help direct the movement and advance the lower jaw into its correct position.

  • 6How Do Braces Correct an Overbite?

    Remember, braces do not correct the overbite: the orthodontist does. To do this, your orthodontist will attach brackets to the teeth and a flexible wire is inserted across them. The wire links the brackets and provides the force that moves the teeth slowly and safely into place.

    Your orthodontist will position the bracket on your teeth at specific angles, and apply a gentle force with the wire to carefully adjust the teeth. Your orthodontist may prescribe rubber bands as well, which help direct the movement and advance the lower jaw into its correct position.

    Moving teeth is an art requiring serious expertise: be sure to choose an experienced orthodontist who is equipped with the tools and skill needed to safely and effectively correct your overbite.

  • 7How to Treat an Overbite Without Braces at Home

    Attempting to correct an overbite at home without braces is extremely dangerous and not recommended by any dental professionals. Orthodontists study for years to master the safe movement of teeth: using at-home materials to try to straighten your teeth can seriously damage your teeth, often permanently. There are many thousands of complaints filed against at-home aligner brands that attempt to treat your teeth from a kit at home, for permanent damage caused to the teeth.

    Don’t cut corners on your health: see a licensed, experienced orthodontist to correct your overbite and achieve lasting results and better health.