Prognathism, also known as “overbite”, can affect your smile, facial profile and oral hygiene. Learn more about the diagnosis, causes and treatment here.
Normally, in a healthy occlusion, the upper incisors and lower teeth overlap slightly, forming the typical scissor bite. If the position of the teeth deviates too much from this norm, it is referred to as excessive overbite. However, “overbite” is only an umbrella term for the position of the teeth in relation to each other and not a medical diagnosis. An overbite can result in 4 different types of teeth and jaw malocclusions: deep bite, closed bite (deep bite), prognathism and end-to-end bite. To determine the malocclusion, the overjet and overbite are identified.
The overjet describes the horizontal distance between the upper and lower incisors. Ideally, this distance should be only 1–2 mm. When we talk about “overbite”, most people imagine a positive overjet – a malocclusion where the upper teeth protrude far forward. This can be caused by skeletal or dental problems. There may be either a jaw or teeth misalignment. In a negative overjet, the lower teeth protrude and the upper teeth are further back, creating the so-called prognathism.
Contrary to the overjet, the overbite describes the vertical position of the teeth in relation to each other. Normally, the protrusion is 2–3 mm and the upper teeth are in front of the lower teeth. However, if the upper front teeth completely cover the lower teeth, this is referred to as deep bite. If, on the other hand, the upper teeth are covered by the lower teeth, it is called closed bite.
If the overjet and overbite are both 0 mm, the teeth meet exactly vertically and horizontally. This biting position is called end-to-end bite. The permanent contact of the incisors causes the enamel to wear off and results in small chewing surfaces. This means that the function of cutting can only be performed to a limited extent.
The causes of the above-mentioned malocclusions are mostly genetic. For example, an enlarged lower jaw can be inherited from parent to child and the prognathism is thus already predetermined. However, there are also acquired causes such as thumb sucking or the effects of accidents.
Regardless of whether the causes are genetic or acquired, the consequences are the same. These include an altered facial structure, pain in the face and temporomandibular joints, speech problems as well as worse dental hygiene, increased risk of injury and an altered bite when eating.
Whether it is necessary to treat prognathism, a deep bite or a closed bite at all depends on the severity of the patient’s malocclusion. From a medical point of view, a shift of 2–4 mm usually does not require any intervention. However, in these cases some patients opt for a dental treatment for cosmetic and aesthetic reasons. If the overjet or overbite is greater than 4 mm, orthodontic treatment should be considered to avoid the above-mentioned problems related to the overbite.
The most common way to correct an overbite is with braces. But if you do not want to have visible brackets and wires in your mouth, you can opt for modern aligner therapy. This method involves the use of barely visible plastic aligners which, just like fixed braces, exert pressure on the teeth, moving them to the desired position. With conventional braces, the treatment can take 2 years or longer – with bestsmile Aligner braces, your teeth will be in top shape in just 3–12 months.
In particularly severe cases, surgery may be necessary to reposition the teeth and jaw. This can be the case if the teeth are misaligned by more than 9 mm. If you suffer from an excessive overbite, our dentists will be happy to advise you individually and show you the different treatment options.