Updated on February 7, 2024
5 min read

Excessive Overjet

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An excessive overjet may not cause dental issues, but it can make people self-conscious about smiling. It also increases the risk of dental trauma and can cause speech problems or difficulty chewing food. 

Fortunately, there are several options for fixing an excessive overjet. Correcting an overjet can restore proper teeth alignment and give you a beautiful smile that increases confidence.

What is an Overjet?

An excessive overjet occurs when the upper front teeth stick out past the lower front teeth too much. Sometimes, an overjet is referred to as “buck teeth.”

It’s normal for the upper and lower teeth to have a small gap between them when you bite down. 

Typically, upper teeth rest slightly past the bottom teeth by about 2mm. If your upper teeth extend farther than 2mm from your lower teeth, you have an excessive overjet.

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What are the Symptoms of an Excessive Overjet? 

An excessive overjet may affect the function of your teeth and cause esthetic concerns and uncomfortable symptoms. 

A severely excessive overjet can cause problems, including:

  • Toothaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Difficulty chewing, biting, and speaking
  • Inability to close the lips
  • Mouth breathing
  • Worn-down or chipped teeth
  • Increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease
  • Increased risk for dental injuries and damaged teeth
  • Tooth loss

Overjet vs. Overbite

Excessive overjets and overbites are misaligned bites involving the relationship between the upper and lower front teeth. 

Although they are commonly interchanged terms, there are key differences between the two conditions:

Overjet

An excessive overjet is a horizontal misalignment of the top and bottom teeth. This means the upper teeth protrude outward at an angle instead of resting just in front of the lower teeth.

Overbite

An excessive overbite is a vertical misalignment of the top and bottom teeth. This means the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much. 

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What Causes an Excessive Overjet? 

Many factors can cause your upper front teeth to stick out too far. 

Common causes of an excessive overjet include:

  • Inheriting protruding teeth from your parents (genetics) 
  • Having overcrowded teeth
  • Childhood habits like thumb-sucking and pacifier use
  • Tongue thrusting

8 Ways to Fix an Excessive Overjet 

If you’re not experiencing problems, you may not need to correct your overjet. However, an excessive overjet won’t go away on its own. You’ll need to see a general dentist, who may refer you to an orthodontist and/or oral surgeon.

Depending on the severity of your overjet, treatment options may include:

1. Dental Braces

Braces are a common orthodontic treatment for misaligned teeth, including an excessive overjet. They also fix crowded, gapped, and crooked teeth.

Traditional braces are metal brackets that attach to your teeth. Over time, they pull your teeth into the correct positions. Most people wear braces for 18 to 24 months.

2. Clear Aligners

Clear aligners may be an alternative to braces. Invisalign is a popular brand of removable clear aligners that gradually straighten teeth. 

Invisalign is an effective treatment that typically works faster than traditional metal braces. However, it can only correct mild to moderate misalignment issues. You’ll wear each Invisalign tray for a few weeks. Eventually, your teeth move into the desired position.

3. Dental Devices

You may be able to use certain functional appliances to fix poor alignment and buck teeth. Some devices are temporarily glued in; others are removable and only worn for a few hours daily.

4. Veneers

Veneers are a cosmetic treatment that covers dental imperfections, including an excessive overjet. 

They’re thin shells that fit over natural teeth. They cover the front surface of each tooth to create a beautiful smile. 

Dental veneers can last up to 20 years, depending on the material they’re made from. Porcelain veneers last the longest but are also more expensive.

5. Dental Crowns

A dental crown, also known as a cap, is an artificial tooth that covers the entire surface of a natural tooth. It’s colored to match your other teeth (or as close a fit as possible).

A dental crown can make protruding top teeth appear uniform and aligned.

6. Dental Bonding

Dental bonding refers to a filling that changes a tooth’s size and/or shape. It’s made of composite resin.

Dental bonding can help an excessive overjet by slightly changing the size and shape of your teeth. This can make the teeth appear in alignment with one another.

Dental bonding can last a long time. However, it may need to be replaced every several years.

7. Tooth Extraction

If your child has an excessive overjet, their dentist may recommend removing one or more baby teeth to create space for the adult teeth to grow in.

Your dentist may also recommend extraction for severely crowded teeth. Sometimes, tooth extraction is necessary before orthodontic treatment, such as dental braces.

8. Corrective Jaw Surgery

While braces are highly effective for treating children and teens with jaw misalignment, adults may need jaw surgery

Jaw surgery involves moving the upper or lower jaw (or both) up, down, in, or out. It can also involve shortening or lengthening one of the jaws. 

Jaw surgery is a serious procedure that requires a lengthy recovery time. Depending on the surgery you need, jaw surgery may require a short hospital stay and several weeks or months of recovery.

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Summary

An overjet, sometimes called buck teeth, is a type of dental misalignment (malocclusion). It occurs when the upper front teeth stick out past the bottom teeth.

Though not always a cause for concern, severe cases can cause discomfort and increase your risk for oral health problems.

Correcting an overjet can relieve uncomfortable symptoms and increase confidence in your smile.

What’s Next?

Discover the best fit for your smile.

Explore top at-home clear aligner brands.

Last updated on February 7, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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