Overjet

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Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
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Evidence Based
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7 sources cited
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What is an Overjet?

An overjet is a type of dental misalignment, also called malocclusion

An overjet happens when the top front teeth significantly protrude over the lower front teeth. Someone with an overjet may be referred to as having “buck teeth.”

This type of malocclusion is fixable with treatment such as braces. In severe cases, surgery might be necessary.

What an Overjet Looks Like (+ Symptoms)

With an overjet, also called buck teeth, the upper front teeth stick out over the lower teeth. The protruding teeth don’t sit vertically. They stick out on an angle.

Overjets are not usually a cause for concern. However, they can cause uncomfortable symptoms and confidence issues. These include:

  • Toothaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Chewing, biting, talking, and eating difficulties due to pain
  • Slurring
  • Inability to close the lips
  • Worn down teeth, increasing the risk of further teeth misalignment, cavities, and gum disease
  • Increased risk for mouth trauma and injury

What Causes an Overjet? 

An overjet can run in families. It can also develop as a result of childhood habits like sucking on a thumb or pacifier for too long.  

Some people develop an overjet after an oral injury. Excessive thrusting of the tongue and overcrowded teeth can also cause an overjet.

Difference Between an Overjet and Overbite

While an overbite and overjet both refer to protruding teeth, they are different. An overbite has to do with a skeletal misalignment or teeth crowding. An overjet just involves the teeth.5

An overbite happens when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth. It refers to the vertical gap between the teeth. In some serious cases, the lower teeth can touch the upper gums.5

Overjets and overbites cause similar symptoms. But both are treatable malocclusions.

5 Ways to Fix an Overjet 

An overjet will not go away on its own. You need treatment to correct it. Here are the best options:

1. Braces

Braces straighten and correct misaligned teeth, including an overjet. They also fix crowded and gapped teeth.2

Braces are metal brackets that attach to your teeth. Over time, they pull your teeth into the correct positions.2

Treatment to fix an overjet with braces can take anywhere between 18 and 24 months, depending on the severity of the protrusion.

2. Invisalign

Invisalign is a brand of plastic aligners that gradually straighten teeth. They’re clear and fit over your teeth like a retainer or mouthguard.1

Clear aligners are made of a flexible, patented thermoplastic material called SmartTrack®. This material was made exclusively for Invisalign. The aligners are FDA-approved and don’t contain BPA, BPS, latex, or gluten.6

You’ll wear each Invisalign tray for a few weeks. Eventually, your teeth move into the desired position.6 You may need special tooth-colored attachments and elastics to help move the jaw and teeth into the proper position.

Invisalign is a very effective treatment. It’s also an almost-invisible method for improving your smile. This is why over 9 million people — including more than 1.4 million teens — have used Invisalign. Invisalign also tends to work faster than traditional braces.6

3. Dental Devices

You may be able to use certain functional appliances in order to fix buck teeth. Some are temporarily permanent; others are removable and only worn for a few hours per day. 

For example, lower jaw expanders can help to push your jaw wider. This helps your lower jaw meet your upper jaw. They change the appearance of your smile to reduce the look of buck teeth.

Upper jaw expanders can also work to create more space for crowded teeth that could be causing your overjet.

4. Surgery

There are different types of surgeries to explore for buck teeth. If the cause of your overjet is crowded teeth, some teeth can be extracted. Your orthodontist may decide to remove the back teeth and shift the front teeth to make more space.

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If the cause of your overjet is a jaw misalignment, you may need jaw surgery. Jaw surgery involves moving the upper or lower jaw (or both) up or down, in or out, or shortening or lengthening them.

Jaw surgery is a serious surgery that requires downtime. Depending on the surgery you need, jaw surgery may require a few-day hospital stay and several weeks to months of recovery.

5. Veneers, Crowns or Bonding (For Appearance Only)

Veneers, crowns and bonding are all options to help change the appearance of buck teeth, though they will not actually correct overjets.

Veneers are porcelain or composite shells that fit over natural teeth. They can be placed over upper teeth to make an overjet look less obvious. 

Veneers can also help:3

  • Stains and discolored teeth
  • Chipped teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Gapped teeth

There are a few different types of veneers:3

  1. Porcelain Veneers
  2. Resin-based composite veneers
  3. Snap-on veneers
  4. Lumineers

Porcelain veneers are the highest quality veneers available. They won’t stain and are less likely to chip or break than resin-based composite veneers. 

Porcelain veneers also last around 20 years, compared to about 5 years for resin-based composite veneers.

However, porcelain veneers are a lot more expensive. They require more work, including irreversible enamel removal before placement. 

Bonds are another option. A bond is a type of filling that changes the size and/or shape of a tooth. It is made of composite resin.7

Bonding can help an overjet by slightly changing the size and shape of your teeth. This can make the teeth appear in alignment with one another.7

Dental bonding is a more cost-effective option for fixing an overjet. The resin also lasts a long time. However, it needs to be replaced every several years.7

Dental crowns can also change the appearance of your teeth. A dental crown, also known as a cap, restores a broken or weak tooth. It is the same color as your natural teeth (or a close fit).

A cap sits over your natural tooth to give the shape and contour of a real tooth.4

Basically, a crown is a prosthetic custom tooth. You can use crowns to fit over buck teeth. 

You can also use crowns for the following reasons:4

  • Fix a damaged tooth
  • Fix a decayed tooth
  • Strengthen a tooth with a filling
  • Protect a weak tooth
  • Cover a discolored tooth
  • Hold a dental bridge in place
  • Keep a cracked tooth together
  • Protect a tooth after a root canal

There are different types of crowns:4

  1. Porcelain-veneered zirconia
  2. Ceramic (porcelain)
  3. IPS e.max (lithium disilicate)
  4. Porcelain-fused-to-Metal (PFM)
  5. Base-metal alloy
  6. Gold alloy

Summary

  • An overjet is a type of dental misalignment (malocclusion)
  • An overjet is also called buck teeth
  • An overjet is not always cause for concern
  • However, it can cause discomfort and oral health issues (like jaw pain and toothaches) in severe cases
  • There are several options to correct an overjet, including braces (best option), veneers, crowns, and bonds 

Resources

Azaripour, A et al., Braces versus Invisalign®: gingival parameters and patients' satisfaction during treatment: a cross-sectional study., BMC oral health vol. 15 69. 24 Jun. 2015.

Dental Braces.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 May 2019.

Dental Veneers: Cost, Procedure, and Results.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International.

Different Types of Dental Crowns.” Colgate®: Toothpaste, Toothbrushes & Oral Care Resources.

Overjet vs. Overbite: What's the Difference?Overjet Vs. Overbite: What's The Difference?.

The Invisalign Difference, Invisalign.

What Is Tooth Bonding?Colgate®: Toothpaste, Toothbrushes & Oral Care Resources.

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