Plenty of people have teeth that overlap. What causes overlapping teeth?
Overlapping teeth are usually caused by genetics or habits as a child such as thumbsucking. They can also be caused by the mouth being too small to fit all the teeth appropriately, or having different-sized upper and lower jaws. Injury to the face or jaw can knock the upper and lower jaw out of alignment. In some cases, missing teeth or extra teeth (such as wisdom teeth) can lead to overlap.
When does it become important to fix overlapping teeth?
- If the overlapping teeth cause a lisp
- If chewing or speaking is difficult
- If the alignment problem leads to jaw pain
- If tooth grinding or clenching becomes a habit
- If biting the inner cheeks becomes a habit
Each method for correcting this condition has pros and cons. Discuss them with your dentist or orthodontist.
Options for fixing overlapping teeth:
- Clear aligners
- Traditional braces
How long does it take to repair overlapping teeth?
Each person with this condition has a different severity of misalignment. Therefore, the time it takes to correct an overlap in teeth varies depending on the individual. However, in most cases it can take at least one year to correct overlapping teeth, depending on the method.
While overlapping teeth do not always need to be fixed, one of the main benefits of fixing overlapping teeth is that it can improve self-esteem.
If overlapping teeth cause complications such as tooth or jaw pain, difficulty speaking clearly, or bad habits associated with the teeth, it is a good idea to consider correcting them.
Another thing to keep in mind is that teeth continue to shift with age, so even if you repair an overlap as a child or teen, the correction will need to be maintained, likely with a retainer, over time. Correcting overlapping teeth can help put an end to bad habits like tooth grinding, clenching the teeth, and biting the cheeks.