Deep bite correction – what are your options and which one of them should you choose?
In this article, we seek to provide you with the answers and clarity you need in terms of which treatment options are available for deep bite correction, and what each of these treatment options really entail.
What constitutes a deep bite and why it is a concern
A deep bite is, simply put, an excessively deep overbite. Almost all of us have a bit of an overbite, meaning that our upper from teeth overlap our lower front teeth by a little when we close our mouths. This kind of overbite is completely normal and nothing that requires any form of treatment.
Where a regular overbite turns into a deep bite is also where it becomes problematic. Because not only is deep bite an aesthetic concern, it is also a health concern, with all sorts of negative implications that are only likely to worsen over time if the deep bite is not corrected.
But how exactly do you tell the difference between a regular, healthy overbite and a deep bite? Here are the hallmarks of a deep bite.
The upper and lower teeth overlap by at least 4 mm
A deep bite is when the upper and lower teeth excessively overlap. The word ‘excessive’ may seem like an arbitrary measuring stick, but in fact there is an official cut-off point. The deep bite diagnosis is only given if your upper front teeth overlap your lower front teeth by 4 mm or more.
Whether or not you have a deep bit can only be determined when your jaws are closed, as it depends on how neatly your upper and lower teeth close together or overlap when you bite together.
Excessive wear, tear and pressure on the lower teeth and jaw
Another indication that you have a deep bite and should be seeking treatment for it is that your lower teeth are disproportionally worn down.
Usually, the upper and the lower teeth sustain wear and tear in unison. But when your top teeth completely overhang your lower teeth, this causes extra pressure and tear on the lower teeth, and even on the supporting bone underneath, as well as the temporomandibular joint which is located in your jaw.
If the pressure persists and the deep overbite is left untreated, you may develop temporomandibular joint disorder, a painful condition that it can be very difficult to resolve.
Not only can the intense pressure over time turn into a constant source of jaw pain and tension, it can even impact your facial aesthetics, giving you a more gaunt and aged appearance.
It is easy to see why, if your entire lower face is constantly under pressure, looking relaxed and refreshed is all but impossible.
Sores, ulcers and gum disease
Having a deep bite can cause sores and ulcers to develop, usually on the roof of your mouth. Needless to say, this can be both sore and painful, and can put you at greater risk of numerous other oral health issues, including gum disease.
Crooked or cramped teeth
A deep bite can cause tooth structure problems, as the pressure can cause teeth to shift in your mouth – which in turn can exacerbate the problem even further, usually by causing your teeth to be even more crooked and cramped together, particularly in your lower mouth.
Deep bite treatment options
Fortunately, there are several different treatment options available if you are suffering from a deep overbite.
Which treatment option is the right one for you is going to depend not only ob your personal preferences, but also on what is feasible in your case. For example, if your deep overbite is severe, orthodontic treatment with clear aligners or braces may not be a possibility.
It is also important to note that treatment is not always all that is necessary. Quite often, if you have been living with a deep overbite for a number of years, there will be some damage that will have to be addressed as well. Typically, this would be worn-down lower teeth or teeth that have become crowned and misaligned as a result of the constant pressure.
Tooth extraction is often necessary either as a complete treatment or as part of the treatment you will need to correct our deep overbite.
Usually the teeth that will have to be removed are the teeth at the very back of your mouth. It is amazing how the removal of a few teeth can help the rest align much more closely.
Where the instance of deep bite is minor or moderate, orthodontic treatment can be a great solution.
In milder cases, teeth straightening treatment with clear aligners such as Invisalign or Smile Direct Club aligners might be sufficient, but in more severe cases it takes traditional braces to fix deep bite issues.
Provided that your case of deep bite is not overly severe, teeth straightening with clear aligners or braces to correct the issue is the preferred option, as it requires no surgical intervention and provides you with a permanent solution – as well as straighter teeth overall.
Your dentist or orthodontist may recommend teeth repair as the best solution for the damage your deep overbite has caused.
This teeth repair will usually focus on your lower back teeth, as they are likely to have sustained the most damage. Your back teeth may need crowns, or you may need implants to replace or build up chipped, cracked or missing back teeth.
In severe cases, the only deep overbite treatment that can do the trick is jaw surgery.
Of course, surgery should not be your treatment option of choice, but it can sometimes be necessary to fully correct a deep bite. Keep in mind, only older teens and adults are likely to be offered surgery as a solution, since children’s jaws are still growing and should be left to do so if at all possible. Depending on the intensity of the surgery required, you may be required to stay overnight in hospital.
Quite often, your deep overbite treatment is going to involve wearing braces both before and after having your surgical procedure.
Deep bite FAQ
What is deep biting?
A deep bite is when the upper teeth come down too far over your lower front teeth when you close your mouth. This overlap can cause an number of different problems, ranging from painful sores, jaw tension and problems chewing and using your mouth.
Deep biting can vary form a slight to a much more severe problem. Either way, you should consider deep bite correction if your teeth overlap, as the issue is highly likely to worsen over time without treatment.
What is the difference between a deep bite and an overbite?
Almost everyone has a slight overbite, meaning the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth ever so slightly. The difference between a normal healthy overbite and a deep bite is simply the degree of overlap.
The official cut-off point between an overbite and a deep bite is 4 mm when your mouth is closed. In other words, if your upper front teeth overlap your lower front teeth by 4 mm or more, you have a deep bite and should start looking into the different treatment options available for correcting the issue before it develops further.
How do you treat a deep bite?
There are numerous different ways of treating a deep overbite. Some of these may be used in combination, to address not only the deep bite issue itself, but also the damage it may have already caused to your surrounding teeth.
One of the most popular deep bite treatment options is tooth removal, usually of the lower back teeth. Sometimes, removing certain teeth can help the others to align properly.
Orthodontic treatment is another great option, and one that doesn’t require surgical intervention (However, sometimes orthodontic treatment is used in combination with and as a supplement to jaw surgery).
Teeth repair may also be necessary in the wake of correcting your deep bite. A deep bite puts a lot of pressure on the lower teeth and jaw, so you may have teeth in your lower mouth that require crowns, implants or other procedures to build them up and make up for the excessive wear and tear that they have been subjected to.
A deep bite is far more than just an aesthetic concern – although it is that, too.
Having a deep bite puts undue pressure on the teeth in your lower mouth, particularly on the molars and teeth at the back of your jaw. This causes them to wear down and potbelly chip or crack. And the damage doesn’t stoop at your teeth – your entire lower jaw and the lower half of your face is put under tremendous strain. You might be dealing with permeant tension and pain, which, if left untreated, can escalate into a whole host of other oral health problems, ranging in severity from gum tissue inflammation and disease to temporomandibular joint disorder.
In other words, if you have a deep bite, seek treatment sooner rather than later.