What Causes an Overbite and Underbite? | Drs Savage, Sabol & Visser
Home » Blog » What Causes an Overbite and Underbite?

What Causes an Overbite and Underbite?

You may have heard these two terms before, especially if you have kids in braces. In fact, these are two main reasons why people have to get braces in the first place. So, what do they each mean? Let’s take a look.

Braces in Virginia Beach, VA

According to WebMD, crooked teeth, overbites and underbites are usually inherited traits; in other cases, they are caused by misaligned bites and early loss of baby and adult teeth. Other causes can include improper fit of crowns, thumb sucking in children, gum disease and jaw misalignment after an injury. Whatever the cause, underbites and overbites need to be corrected.

If not, they can lead to:

  • Problems with chewing
  • Difficulty keeping teeth clean
  • Higher risk of tooth decay, cavities and gingivitis
  • Jaw and muscle strain
  • Higher chance of tooth breakage
  • Reduction in self-esteem


Many people suffer from overbites, which means their teeth stick out over their lower teeth. This is very common and can easily be corrected with braces. There are many causes that can make this happen, such as:

  • Genetics: Either your upper jaw is over developed or your lower jaw is underdeveloped. In either case, you inherit this trait from your parents or grandparents.
  • Bad habits: if you sucked your thumb or used a pacifier when you were a kid, this could have set the stage for an overbite very early on. Bad habits are, on the whole, easier to fix than genetics because only the teeth have to be re-aligned and not the whole jaw.
  • Nature: Sometimes your upper teeth stick out over your lower jaw because that’s just how your teeth decided to come in. This is also a relatively easy fix.


This is when the lower jaw protrudes further out than the upper teeth, resulting in a bull dog-like appearance. This is the lesser common of the two maladies. It, too, must be addressed in order to prevent serious jaw problems later on. The typical causes of an underbite include:

  • Heredity: Just like an overbite, an underbite is most likely caused by your family genes. If your parent had an underbite, you likely will too.
  • Bad habits: Thumb sucking, tongue thrusting against the teeth, and long-term use of pacifiers are all causes of underbites in children.

If not addressed early on, underbites can make it difficult for people to chew correctly, causing teeth and jaw muscle strain.

Here at Drs. Savage, Sabol and Visser, we have extensive experience correcting underbites and overbites with the proper orthodontic treatment. Give us a call today to book your appointment. We would be happy to consult with you and recommend treatment courses to correct your particular condition.

We are open! We are taking every precaution necessary to keep our patients and staff safe.Covid Forms