What Is Deep Bite?

Deep bite is defined as a form of malocclusion in which the upper row of front teeth overlaps the bottom front teeth when the mouth is closed. This orthodontic concern is sometimes referred to as a closed bite or overbite. In some cases, a deep bite can affect a person’s ability to speak, breathe, and chew properly. It can also change the shape of a person’s face, causing it to appear rounder, shorter, or older in appearance.

If your upper front teeth come down too far over your bottom front teeth when you close your jaw, that’s considered a dental misalignment.

Your front bottom teeth showing a few millimeters or more is normal, but if your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth more than 4 mm, this could be considered a deep bite.

What causes a deep bite?

You may develop a deep bite for several reasons, including from one or more of the following:

  • genetics
  • missing teeth
  • jaw injury
  • small jaw
  • strong bite developed from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • not enough room in your mouth for permanent teeth

A deep bite can happen to anyone, from young children to adults.

Deep bites affect 15 to 20 percentTrusted Source of Americans. The American Association of Orthodontists states that 1 in 4 people seeking orthodontic treatment is an adult.

Why Is Deep Bite Treated?

Aside from the cosmetic benefits of treating a deep bite, it should also be treated for the following reasons:

  • To help improve chewing function and reduce pain while chewing
  • Help realign crooked or crowded teeth
  • Address tooth wear for patients who clench or grind their teeth
  • Reduce the risk of tooth loss and gum disease
  • Minimize the chance of sores and ulcers
  • Alleviate jaw pain, headaches, and other TMD related symptoms

Deep Bite Complications

A deep overbite is usually an esthetic problem, as some people are embarrassed about their smile. However, it can also cause various dental problems.

An untreated, deep overbite can lead to the following complications:

  • Excessive wear and damage to the teeth
  • Damage to the gum and soft tissue around the upper teeth
  • Problems with biting and chewing food
  • Headaches and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD)
  • Painful sores or ulcers
  • Loss of tooth structure
  • Tooth decay and loss
  • Gum disease due to difficulty brushing and flossing