girl holding up crooked teeth picture

Some people are just born with amazing teeth and have no overbite vs underbite issues.

They never had to suffer through hideous metal braces as children or face long-term alignment problems.

In a perfect world, no one would need braces or orthodontic care.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

If you’re struggling with jaw pain or a bite misalignment, you aren’t alone. The orthodontics field has come a long way from the days of metal braces and headgear.

You now have more solutions than ever for achieving that smile you’ve always dreamed about.

Overbite vs. Underbite: Understanding the Different Types of Bite Misalignment

person who needs orthodontic treatment

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 20% of Americans have “deviations from the ideal bite” and only 35% of folks have properly aligned mandibular incisors.

That’s a lot of people with imperfect teeth.

Many people find themselves wondering “what’s the difference between overbite vs. underbite?”

However, these aren’t the only types of misalignment.

In fact, there are several possibilities when it comes to dental misalignments. Although the ones listed below are some of the most common, they are far

from the only possibilities.

Here’s the good news: you have just as many options when it comes to orthodontic solutions.


If your bite overlaps by just 2mm more than the standard bite, you may have an overbite. In a more extreme overbite scenario, your top teeth could nearly cover your bottom teeth.

This type of misalignment could also give you a shorter and rounder facial appearance. In addition to chewing problems, an overbite puts added stress on the jaw joint which can produce headaches.


An underbite is essentially the opposite of an overbite, but it’s far less common. If you have an underbite, your jaw might protrude farther than ideal.

Does your child need braces for an underbite? One of the major problems stemming from an underbite is cosmetic appearance. However, it can also cause inflammation and arthritis due to a crooked jaw as well as temporomandibular joint syndrome (aka TMJ).


With a crossbite misalignment, certain teeth do not align properly with their lower or upper counterpart – some teeth may tilt either towards the tongue or the cheek.

A crossbite can contribute to speech problems, chewing discomfort, as well as facial asymmetry, and may cause the sufferer to accidentally bite the inside of their cheeks

Open Bite

An open bite makes it particularly difficult to eat due to a large space between the top and bottom front teeth.

Speech problems including a lisp are common in individuals with an open bite as well as problems chewing and biting the inside of the mouth.


Crowding is a very common problem that manifests when the teeth don’t have enough room to grow out of the gums.

Cleaning is difficult when teeth are overcrowded. As a result, periodontal disease and decay frequently occur with this misalignment.

Spacing Problems

A variety of factors can cause dental spacing issues such as small teeth, missing teeth, and environmental conditions such as thumb sucking.

Left unchecked, too much space between teeth can cause severe gum problems including swelling, inflammation, bleeding, and periodontal disease which

can damage the jaw bone.

Mismatched Midline

A misaligned midline is a little different than a cross bite. In this type of misalignment, the connecting points between the top teeth are not symmetrical with the respective points in the bottom teeth.

Appearance is a large concern with a midline misalignment, as well as jaw pain and general dental function.

Can a Crooked Jaw or Bite Misalignment Cause Jaw Pain and Other Complications?

girl who needs orthodontic treatment

Many people seek to correct their misalignment for cosmetic purposes.

This is for good reason: less than perfect teeth can damage your self-esteem and even job prospects.

Although appearance is a major concern, even a minor misalignment can cause several other problems and lead to long-term damage.

  • General jaw pain which can progress into TMJ
  • Bleeding and inflamed gums
  • Periodontal disease
  • Arthritis in the jaw bone joint
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Dental decay or generally poor oral hygiene
  • Infections or abscesses
  • Degenerating tooth enamel
  • Speech impairments

What Are the Solutions to a Misaligned Bite?

If you’re one of the 25% of people who avoid smiling due to an overbite, crossbite, or any other alignment problem, you have plenty of options.

Although metal braces are still available, they are far from your only solution for correcting a bite misalignment.

On your first visit, an orthodontist will conduct an exam, smile assessment, and digital x-rays. They will want to see the state of your jaw bone and joint to make sure there aren’t any abscesses or underlying problems.

During your consultation, you and your Goodyear orthodontist will go over all of your possible solutions so you can find something that fits your personal situation and budget.

Your treatment length depends on a few factors including your alignment state and how quickly your teeth progress once the process begins.

  • SureSmile: A wire and bracket system designed with 3D digital imaging and robotics for more precise accuracy and faster results.
  • Damon System Braces: A sliding-door stainless-steel bracket system for smoother comfort.
  • Clarity Advanced Braces: These are made of completely clear advanced polycrystalline alumina (PCA) and compatible with other options.
  • Lingual Braces aka. Incognito™ Hidden Braces: These are placed behind the teeth so they’re essentially invisible but just as effective as traditional methods.
  • Invisalign: This high-tech clear option is now available for both teens and adults.

Dunn Orthodontics Can Diagnose Your Bite Problems


Dunn Orthodontics is a leading orthodontic practice in the Phoenix area with two convenient locations. Courtney and Matthew Dunn have years of experience diagnosing and crafting solutions to common bite problems.

Their practice utilizes traditional methods combined with advanced technology to help you achieve a perfect smile. If you’re interested in Invisalign or any orthodontic solutions for children, teens, or adults, contact Dunn Orthodontics today for a complimentary smile assessment. You can also call at 304-263-4946.

Schedule a Free Consultation