Bite Problems: Underbite, Overbite, Openbite, Crossbite—What Are They?

Having a stable bite is essential to be able to bite and chew food properly, that is for certain. These bite problems are usually referred to as underbite, overbite, and crossbite. These problems are also known as malocclusions and they can lead to many orthodontic issues including speech difficulty. Just what do these terms mean?

Bite Problems: Underbite, Overbite, Openbite, Crossbite—what Are They?
Bite Problems: Underbite, Overbite, Openbite, Crossbite—What Are They?

There are consequences to not correcting a dental problem and correcting bite problems is at the top of the list. Sometimes, nature and the body will naturally correct the problem over time. If it occurs in children with a mix of baby and permanent teeth, it can sometimes resolve on its own as more permanent teeth erupt. If not, our dental professionals must intervene to correct the problem.

For a good appearance and healthy functioning, a person’s jaws and teeth should be aligned properly and fit well together. If there are issues, also known as malocclusions, with either the teeth or the jaws, may be an indication that orthodontic treatment is required to fix the problem. Otherwise, if bite or alignment problems are ignored, they can lead to further difficulties such as described above. They can also increase the likelihood of the occurrence of tooth and jaw injury. Below are some of the most common problems when it comes to malocclusions.

The Different Types Of Bite Problems Explained 


When the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth farther than the normal range, this is considered to be an overbite. An overbite can cause the bottom teeth to hit the roof of the mouth which can be painful. The side effects of an overbite can be a smile that shows a lot of gum area, lips that stick out, and extra wear and tear on the incisors.

Open Bite

In an open bite, the front teeth of both the upper and lower jaws don’t overlap, and this can prevent a correct chewing motion. Bad habits that can result from having an open bite include thumb sucking and pushing the tongue out of the open area repeatedly. It’s very important to diagnose an open bite as early as possible to treat and correct this malocclusion.


If the lower jaw reaches out farther than the upper jaw, this is known as an underbite. An underbite will make the bottom front teeth rest outside of the top front teeth which isn’t a proper alignment. 

Underbite results mostly due to genetic reasons. However, children who have had prolonged pacifier use may also develop an underbite. Other habits like thumb sucking and bad chewing habits can worsen the condition. The condition may also develop in children with adenoids or allergies that cause them to breathe through the mouth.


If the teeth of the upper jaw rest inside the teeth of the lower jaw, this malocclusion is known as a crossbite. Patients with a crossbite can experience stratified teeth as well as jaw growth that’s improperly aligned. To be able to close their mouths, these patients may consciously move the bottom jaw farther forward or to one side. This can affect the way that the jaw is used and may result in a lack of correct symmetry in the face. A crossbite is mainly due to heredity. The shape of the tooth and the jaw bone are governed by genes. Crossbites can also form if there is a delayed loss of baby teeth or an irregular eruption of new teeth. The condition can worsen due to careless chewing habits and thumb sucking.

Many orthodontic devices that can help correct bite problems. If you notice any of these conditions, it’s time to visit our specialists at for a consultation with our orthodontic experts here at Forest & Ray. If you have a bite problem as described above, your best option is to discuss the issue with us. We can determine which treatment is best for you. So why don’t you contact us today

Price: £5/day

Orthodontic package offer for only £5 a day!*
*With interest free finance

The offer is valid until withdrawal. 

Read more

Orthodontics Blog

Get in touch

Book an appointment or ask a question