What Does It Mean If You Have A Deep Bite? How To Fix It
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Table of Contents
- What is a Deep Bite?
- How Common is It?
- Signs & Symptoms
- Treatment Options
Deep bite is a common orthodontic condition in which the top row of teeth significantly overlaps the bottom row of teeth. Also known as an overbite or closed bite, deep bite may cause no symptoms if the condition is mild. In more severe cases, however, it can cause pain, headaches and even mouth injuries.
Dentists and orthodontists can treat most deep bites using braces or clear aligners. They may also use additional orthodontic devices like magnets and twin blocks to assist in the treatment process. Severe cases of deep bite may only be treatable using orthognathic surgery, a process which repositions the jaw to improve your bite and correct problems like deep bite.
What is a Deep Bite?
A deep bite (also called an overbite or a closed bite) is a type of malocclusion, or “bad bite.” It is diagnosed when the top row of teeth significantly overlaps the bottom row of teeth. This is because the person's top teeth are positioned too far forward compared to their bottom teeth.
While it is normal for the top row to rest a few millimeters over the bottom row, deep bites take this feature to the extreme. In a normal bite, one-third of the lower incisors is covered by the top incisors. People with a deep bite often have just half of their lower incisors showing when they bite down. In severe cases, you may not be able to see their lower teeth at all.
Causes of a Deep Bite
A Shorter Bottom Jaw
Abnormal Jaw Positioning
Excessive Jaw Strength
Overeruption of the Upper or Lower Incisors
Missing Lower Teeth
How Common is a Deep Bite?
Deep bite is a relatively common orthodontic condition. Studies estimate that 21.98% of all people worldwide have a deep bite. They also indicate that deep bite is equally common in all countries and populations.
Studies of orthodontic patients have shown that over 80% of deep bite cases are mild. These same studies also show that female patients are more likely to have a mild case of deep bite than male patients.
However, this may be because women are more likely to seek orthodontic treatment for a minor dental problem than men are. Further research is needed to confirm whether men are actually more likely to have moderate or severe deep bite than women are.
Deep bite is also one of the most common conditions that patients choose to address with orthodontic treatment as adults. If you are interested in treating your deep bite at an older age, you should know that you're not alone.
Signs and Symptoms
Aside from the obvious visual presentation, there are a few other signs of deep bite. Depending on the severity of the problem, people with a deep bite may notice symptoms such as:
- Worn-down lower teeth
- Sores, ulcers, or other injuries to the roof of the mouth
- Crooked teeth that have been displaced from excessive force
- Jaw pain
- Frequent headaches
A deep bite that is not treated for a long time can also lead to increased tooth decay and gum disease. This is because patients’ crooked teeth are often difficult to clean, making them prone to plaque build-up. Since it is difficult to correct the position of crooked teeth without fixing a deep bite, these problems often occur alongside the condition.
Deep bite does not always need to be treated. In fact, mild cases usually aren’t treated.
But patients who are experiencing pain, shifting teeth and other harmful symptoms should strongly consider treating their deep bite to relieve those symptoms. Some people also choose to treat their deep bite for cosmetic reasons.
Braces or Aligners
Treating deep bite with braces or aligners typically costs between $3,000 and $5,000 in the US. However, this is just a rough estimate. The actual cost varies significantly depending on how complex your case is.
It’s a good idea to get a consultation appointment with the orthodontist you want to work with before you commit to treatment. This way, you can build a budget for this expense based on accurate numbers.
If your deep bite is severe enough to require orthognathic surgery, the process will be considerably more involved. You will need to undergo a full course of orthodontic treatment before your surgery, then spend several weeks recovering from the surgery itself. In some cases, you may need to spend even more time in braces after your jaw heals.
Orthognathic surgery can be extremely expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars for the surgery alone. It is also usually considered a health insurance expense rather than a dental insurance one. This means that you may be able to get the procedure covered by insurance even if you don't have dental insurance.
Finally, patients with severe wear on their anterior teeth as a result of their deep bite often wish to have those teeth restored as part of their treatment. This can be done with bonding, veneers, or crowns and will typically cost somewhere between $300 and $3,000 a tooth depending on the type of treatment you choose.
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Prevalence and Severity of Anterior Deep Bite in a Sample of Orthodontic Patients. (October 2014). Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences.
Surgical treatment to correct a bad bite: Frequently asked questions. (November 2018). University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
What is a Deep Bite? (January 2019). American Association of Orthodontists.
Dental Bonding Cost. (2021). CostHelper.
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What Is a Deep Bite? (January 2019). American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).