Overbite vs. Overjet By Dr. Everett Heringer on August 02, 2018

Photo of smiling young woman outdoorsTwo of the most common orthodontic problems that we see in patients are overbite and overjet. These two orthodontic issues are often confused with each other but there are distinctions between them.

At Heringer Dentistry in Bismarck, ND, we are dedicated to educating patients about various dental issues. Dr. Heringer’s extensive education and his time serving in the United States Navy as a dentist makes him an excellent and knowledgeable leader in the dental community.

Here, we discuss overbite vs. overjet, along with the orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry treatments that can be performed to improve the appearance of the smile.


Understanding the differences between an overbite and overjet are important when making sense of the issues you experience with your bite.

An overbite is described as a vertical measurement of the overlap between the top front teeth and the bottom front teeth. In severe cases, the lower teeth may even touch the roof of the mouth when in a closed position.


In contrast, an overjet refers to the horizontal distance between the upper front teeth and the lower front teeth. This condition is colloquially known as buck teeth.

Clinical Problems with Overbite and Overjet

Problems associated with an overbite include:

  • Pain while biting or chewing
  • Increased risk of teeth grinding
  • Increased risk of TMJ disorder
  • Changes to your facial profile
  • Can make you appear older
  • Risk of worn and damaged teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Recessive chin
  • TMJ pain
  • Short, round shape of the face
  • Higher likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea

Problems associated with an overjet include:

  • The appearance of buck teeth
  • Problems with speech
  • Increased risk for breakage
  • Risk of dental damage
  • Lower teeth and jaw are set further behind than they should be
  • Greater risk of trauma to the upper front teeth
  • Damage to gum tissue
  • Lower self-esteem and confidence
  • Significant wear on the lower teeth
  • Painful jaw and joint problems
  • The mouth may not be able to fully close

What Causes an Overbite and Overjet?

Generally, an overbite and overjet are hereditary, but they can also be the result of an overdeveloped maxilla or an underdeveloped mandible.

Missing teeth in the lower jaw, the length of the patient’s arch, or chronic habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting can also contribute to an overjet.

What Treatments Are Available?

The alignment of the teeth affects the function and aesthetics of the face. Many people do not realize that face shape or speech patterns are greatly affected by the bite. Correcting a patient’s bite will greatly improve his or her quality of life.

After a thorough dental examination, Dr. Heringer will diagnose the severity of your bite and will create a specialized plan that will most likely include orthodontic treatment. However, patients with a malformed jaw may require jaw surgery as well.

Contact Our Practice Today

At Heringer Dentistry, we believe that everyone deserves the confidence and increased self-esteem that can come from a smile they love. We are here to help create yours. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 701-255-4850 or contact us online anytime.

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Dr. Everett E. Heringer

Everett E. Heringer, DDS

Dr. Heringer is dedicated to dental excellence and is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • World Clinical Laser Institute
  • North Dakota Dental Association
  • SPEAR Dental Education
  • SPEAR Study Club Leader

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (701) 255-4850.

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