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Understanding the Difference Between Underbite and Overbite

Sherman Oaks TMJ treatment patient model touching his jaw

Since your teeth can affect your overall health, it's important to know if you have a misaligned bite, or a malocclusion. Ideally, your front and lower teeth should fit together with the top teeth slightly overlapping the bottom teeth, but this doesn't always occur, resulting in a malocclusion. There are two main types of malocclusions: underbite and overbite. But what is the difference between the two?

Let's first take a broader look at malocclusions before discussing the difference between underbite and overbite.


Malocclusions can have devastating effects on not only your mouth but your entire body. They can affect breathing, eating, talking, and they can even alter your facial appearance.

With a malocclusion, you have an increased risk of:

Malocclusions can also create self-esteem issues, as most people don't feel comfortable or happy with their misaligned bite.

Though most malocclusions are caused by genetics, there are other potential causes:

  • Abnormalities in the jawbone
  • Bad chewing or oral habits
  • Childhood behaviors, including thumb-sucking or using a pacifier or bottle beyond infancy
  • Mouth breathing
  • Nail-biting
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Underdeveloped supporting jawbones
Sherman Oaks Cosmetic Dentist patient model wearing a retainer


As mentioned above, the two main types of malocclusion are underbite and overbite. Overbite is the more common of the two and is also known as deep bite or buck teeth. The biggest concern with an overbite is that it can affect your facial structure drastically.

Overbite is a vertical overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth. Severe cases are when the top teeth completely overlap the bottom teeth. When there is a horizontal distance between the upper and lower front teeth, this is called an overjet.

Since an overbite pushes your chin back towards the jaw joint, this can lead to TMJ disorder, jaw pain and jaw clicking. An overbite or overjet can also cause speech impediments, chewing complications, headaches and more.

Sherman Oaks cosmetic dentistry facial x-ray


The opposite of an overbite is an underbite. This is when a misalignment of the lower jaw causes the lower teeth to protrude past the upper teeth. Though underbites are not as common as overbites, they can cause a myriad of issues, including TMJ disorder, joint and jaw pain, inflammation, arthritis, headaches, facial pain, speech and articulation issues and more.

Underbites are usually caused by an undergrowth of the upper jaw, an overgrowth of the lower jaw or a combination of the two. An underbite can also push your chin forward, which affects the molars and incisors, too.

Dr. Eddie Siman Treats Underbite and Overbite Issues

If you think you have an underbite or overbite that needs correcting, don't wait any longer. With an in-house CT scan and years of experience handling malocclusions, Sherman Oaks TMJ expert, Dr. Eddie Siman, can help address any issues and correct the misaligned bite.

Depending on the severity of the case, Dr. Siman will find the best option for you, whether it's retainers, braces, aligners or another orthodontic treatment.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our three offices.

Dr. Eddie Siman has over 35 years of experience and is a premier TMJ and Sleep Apnea expert in Los Angeles and Orange County. Many come to Dr. Eddie Siman with severe tinnitus, migraine problems, and sleep apnea with no relief in sight. Little do these patients know that their painful symptoms are tied to the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Think outside the box and pay a simple visit to Dr. Siman today so you can finally find the source of all your pain and get rid of it once and for all.

14629 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

414 N. Camden Drive Suite #1240, Beverly Hills, CA 90403

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