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An overbite is a type of malocclusion, which is a technical term for misalignments in the jaw. More specifically, an overbite means that the upper teeth extend further than the lower teeth. How exactly do the teeth get like that?

As with many similar issues, there can be a few different causes. Genetics can come into play, as little flaws in DNA can put the jaw in a position it is not really supposed to be.

There are other behavioral factors that can affect things too, and they usually happen when we are really young. Things like sucking on thumbs, sucking on a baby bottle and breathing through the mouth can affect the alignment of the jaw, though usually through doing them habitually for extended periods of time.

Children are still growing and developing, and this can mean that their jaws are not quite as stable as an adult’s jaws, so they can shift out of position a bit more easily. We stress that feeding a child with a bottle is not really a bad thing. What can cause an overbite is if they suck on the bottle for much longer than they should. Fortunately, you can help children break these habits so their jaws have a better chance of not developing an overbite.

Of course, having an overbite does not mean you are stuck with it. At our office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we have means of correcting overbites and other malocclusions. Our dentist, Dr. James Karhohs, can examine your teeth and adjust treatments to your specific needs so you can enjoy a properly aligned smile. Please call us at 616-784-4300 if you would like to try our orthodontic treatments and straighten out your smile!