Common Bite Problems

Straight teeth are not the only reason to get orthodontic treatment.  Apart from fixing crowding, spacing, and crooked teeth, you should also correct your bite. Keep reading below to find out what are common bite problems, why fixing the bite is important, and how to fix the bite. When you get braces or clear aligners (like Invisalign) with an ABO Board-Certified Orthodontist, the doctor will correct bite problems too.  



Results after 8 months of aligner treatment. The overbite has been corrected. This patient still has attachments on their teeth, but they will be removed when treatment is done.

An overbite is the most common type of bite problem.  The upper front teeth stick out too far in front of the lower front teeth.  Sometimes, the front teeth do not touch at all.  

An overbite can be caused by tooth problems (teeth are too forward or backward), jaw problems (a small lower jaw is the most common issue), or both.  The upper and lower teeth do not fit

together perfectly.  This can cause more wear on your teeth over time, which in severe cases, may increase the risk for chipped or fractured teeth.  

A smaller overbite is easily corrected with braces or clear aligners & rubber bands.  This is the case for many people.  Larger overbites may require extractions, interproximal reduction (sanding between your teeth), or even jaw surgery.



An underbite, also known as an “anterior crossbite,” is the opposite of an overbite.  Instead of the upper teeth being too far forward, the lower front teeth stick out further than the upper front teeth.  Big underbites usually run in families.

Having an underbite makes it more difficult to chew.  It is difficult to bite through food with front teeth.  This puts the back teeth at greater risk for wear, stress, and fracture.  People with an underbite can also have a lisp because their front teeth do not come together normally.  

A smaller underbite is easily corrected with braces or clear aligners & rubber bands.  Larger overbites may require extractions, interproximal reduction (sanding between your teeth), or even jaw surgery.


Posterior Crossbite

Posterior Crossbite Before
There is a posterior crossbite on the left side. The lower teeth are overlapping the upper teeth.

(For anterior crossbites, or “Underbites,” see above)

A posterior crossbite is when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth in the back.  This happens when the upper jaw is too narrow, or the lower jaw is too wide.  

In a normal bite, all the upper teeth overlap all the lower teeth.  Teeth are meant to take force in this way.  When the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth, irregular wear may occur, which increases the risk for fractures, root canals, and crowns later on.  If a child is growing and the crossbite is not corrected, their lower jaw may start growing crooked.  

It is important to fix a crossbite as early as possible.  Growth of the jaws can only be modified until puberty.  After that, jaw surgery would be the only option to correct it.


Deep Bite Before
This patient has a severe deep bite, one of the most common bite problems. You cannot see her bottom teeth at all when she is biting down normally.

Deep bite

A deep bite is a large overlap of the front teeth when biting down normally.  In severe cases, the overlap is more than 100%, and the lower teeth are not visible at all when biting.

People who have deep bites tend to have greater wear in their front teeth, especially if they have a grinding habit.  When they chew and eat, their front teeth touch first.  Because of this, as they get older, their front teeth may get shorter and shorter.

Deep bites are easier to correct in younger people.  Older adults have more dense bone, which generally means a longer treatment time.  In general, it is easier to correct deep bites with braces than with Invisalign.


Open bite

open bite problems
This patient has an open bite. The front teeth do not overlap, which makes it very difficult to eat.

An open bite is when the front teeth do not touch at all.  It can be caused by genetics, growth issues, or habits (like thumb-sucking).  These are the hardest bites to correct.

People with open bites have severe wear on their back teeth.  They are at great risk for crowns, root canals, and fractured teeth because their front teeth do not function at all.  It is hard to eat sandwiches, ribs, or anything you would need front teeth for.  There is usually a speech impediment.

The way to correct an open bite depends on the cause.  If it is from thumb-sucking, stopping the habit immediately is necessary.  Sometimes orthodontic appliances can help with that.  A mild or moderate open bite can be corrected with clear aligners.  A severe open bite can only be corrected with braces & jaw surgery.


Do you or your child have any of these common bite problems? Give our Vacaville orthodontic office a call (707) 474-4707 or message us to schedule your complimentary consult with our ABO Board-Certified orthodontist. We can help you navigate what treatment you need for a balanced bite and healthy teeth for the future!  We also offer flexible financing.