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In Dentistry, what is a Deep Bite?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A deep bite is a very common form of malocclusion, a condition where the teeth do not line up properly. In this condition, the patient's lower teeth are overlapped by the upper teeth and the lower incisors come into contact with the gingival tissue in the upper arch of the jaw. For some patients, this is purely an aesthetic problem. For others, it can lead to things like damage to the roots of the upper teeth. There are several techniques that can be used to correct a deep bite.

The deep bite is a more extreme version of the overbite. Many people have an overbite to some degree or another. In many patients, the overbite is so mild that no treatment is required to correct the malocclusion unless the patient does not like the appearance of the teeth. In others, overbites can become more problematic, and a deep bite is an example of an overbite that can develop into a problem.

There are a number of reasons why the teeth can develop out of alignment. Sometimes the causes are genetic or environmental and in other cases there are no clear reasons for the teeth to have grown out of place. In the case of a deep bite, a dental exam will reveal that the upper teeth fully overlap the lower teeth and that the lower teeth rest on the upper gums. Over time, this can contribute to erosion of the gums and a number of associated health problems.

One option to correct this condition is orthodontics, such as braces and retainers. These devices are used to slowly shift the teeth into a more comfortable and even alignment. The earlier orthodontic intervention occurs, the more effective and less traumatic it will be. Correcting the teeth with braces while a child is still developing will allow the teeth and jaws to align properly as they grow, rather than correcting the problem after the fact.

In severe deep bite cases, it may be necessary to perform surgery. Surgery is considered as an option after a thorough evaluation of the patient and the situation. It is performed by a specialist on a patient who is usually put under general anesthesia. Recovery times from surgeries to correct deep bite and other malocclusions vary depending on the nature of the procedure. It is important to follow instructions from the surgeon during the healing period to reduce the risk of surgical complications, such as infections.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon937489 — On Mar 05, 2014

I just found out that I have a deep bite yesterday at the dentist. I am only 13 and in need of braces (or in my case, I am getting invisalign). I asked my aunt/dentist if I was ready and she looked at my teeth and then she said that I was and that was all. Then I tagged her in a post on instagram and she said that I had a deep bite and that I would need buildups so I could get invisalign and my appointment for that is next month.

I never realized that my bottom teeth touched the roof of my mouth until today when I was writing the comments to this post. So no, I feel no pain and I don’t have speech problems. Then again, she did say that my case isn’t as severe as some people’s. This helped and I can’t wait to get it fixed only because it has been bugging me because my smile is weird and when picture day comes at school I have a horrible smile. I would say just practice!

By anon336974 — On Jun 02, 2013

I have also the same problem with a deep bite. Due to a lack of awareness, most of the people consult doctor for a severe condition, but please, consult an orthodontist, not a medical doctor. I am continuing the treatment, but god decides.

By vixvii — On Mar 28, 2013

There is a non-surgical, no-braces option available to correct deep bites be re-positioning the jaw through changing the bite, called Face Lift Dentistry. Expensive, but painless.

By anon323575 — On Mar 06, 2013

There are solutions to correct a deep bite. What do you call the jelly thing that dentists put on one's teeth?

By anon283514 — On Aug 05, 2012

@PinkLady4: I'm a 16 year old girl with a deep bite that I've been dealing with since all of my teeth finally came in (so since I was very young). It has not affected my speech or eating habits in any way whatsoever. In fact, a deep bite is not all that different from an overbite. It's just a little more severe.

With my deep bite, my bottom four front teeth, my incisors, rest just behind my four front top teeth. However, they do press into the roof of my mouth slightly. Now, the reason that this can cause more serious jaw problems in the future is that it takes too much effort for the mouth/jaw to close properly with the incorrect alignment of the teeth, and it stresses the jaw, which can eventually cause TMJ problems. Most of the time, when my mouth is closed, I don't let my teeth rest together, because I can feel the extra pressure. Instead, I let my jaw rest on its own with my teeth separated.

Despite everything that I've mentioned, having a deep bite is not nearly as painful as you think it may be. The problem is not that a deep bite causes pain and discomfort now; it is just that the longer you have one without having corrective treatment done, the more problems you can eventually develop with your jaw. I know this response is a little extensive, but I hope I helped answer your questions!

By anon276859 — On Jun 27, 2012

@PinkLady4: My answer my not be of much help to you, as I do not have a severe deep bite. However, as a 14 year old girl, I can say I've been told by at least three people that I have an overbite. However, my teeth don't jut out, they just overlap. Therefore, I have a deep bite.

Now to answer your question. I've had a few small problems with my bottom teeth hitting the roof of my mouth just behind my front teeth, though it's gotten much better over time. Occasionally I would have a little irritation in the area the lower teeth rested on, but it is mainly cosmetic in cases such as mine. I makes your smile a little weird. I just practiced in the mirror until I had a well-suited smile and use that instead of my natural smile (other than the deep bite I, personally, have no dental issues).

By PinkLady4 — On Jun 16, 2011

This sounds like it could be really painful, especially when the lower teeth hit the upper gums. I wonder, do people with serious deep bites have problems eating, or are they more prone to speech problems? I could see how having the teeth or jaw that misaligned could really be a pain to deal with.

Does anybody reading this actually have a deep bite? Does it really cause problems for you, or is it more of a cosmetic concern?

By Esther11 — On Jun 13, 2011

My granddaughter had an overbite. Her parents could tell that she would definitely need orthodontia work someday to correct it. One day she was tearing out of the school bus and down the sidewalk when she suddenly fell flat on her face and chipped half of her front tooth off. Was that ever traumatic.

She was taken to the dentist and she sealed a piece onto the one-half tooth. About a month later, she fell on the playground and broke the sealed part of the tooth off.

More trauma - then back to the dentist, who decided that orthodontia treatment was the best way to go. So, at seven years old, she had braces put on and things are going well. There should be no more chipped teeth since the upper teeth are being moved back.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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