Overbite vs. Underbite vs. Crossbite: What’s the Difference?

someone covering her mouth

An estimated 36% of Americans are scared to go to the dentist. As a result, some fixable dental issues may go undiagnosed or untreated, including teeth misalignment. Have you heard the terms “overbite,” “underbite,” or “crossbite” and wondered about the differences between them? The unfortunate truth is that these problems go beyond aesthetics and can negatively impact your overall oral health. Read on to learn more about these bite types and how to fix them.

Bite Issues

Overbites, underbites, and crossbites are forms of malocclusions where the top and bottom teeth rows don’t meet as they should.


With an overbite, also called “buck teeth,” your upper teeth extend over your lower teeth. Some overlap is normal, but too much is considered a dental issue. Overbites can be caused by genetics, injuries, improperly fitted crowns, or gum disease and are the most commonly seen bite and alignment problem.

Overbites can cause the following symptoms.

  • Breathing problems.
  • Pain or difficulty when chewing.
  • Gum disease.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty or pain while chewing.
  • Tooth decay.
  • Cavities.
  • Speech impediments.


When you have an underbite, your lower teeth extend further than and over your upper teeth — in extreme cases, people with underbites may also appear to have a jutting chin. Underbites make it challenging to chew and can cause pain in the mouth and across the face, speech impediments, and accidental cheek and tongue biting. It can result from genetics, thumb sucking, long-term bottle feeding, late-age pacifier use, or facial injuries. Underbites usually have more serious consequences than overbites.


Crossbites are another form of teeth misalignment that occurs when your upper teeth are narrower than the bottom, making it appear as though your upper and lower teeth rows curve in toward each other.
Over time, as with other teeth misalignment forms, crossbites can lead to chipped teeth, tooth sensitivity, and enamel wear. Further, when the teeth don’t close in alignment, it puts unequal stress on the facial muscles leading to neck pain, headaches, or muscle strain.

How Do You Fix These Issues?

These malocclusions are easier to solve in children, but the correct treatment can also help adults — in either case, the sooner it’s taken care of, the sooner you can get back to effective, pain-free chewing and eating. Braces are a common treatment, as is a palatal expander that increases palate width.

Park Avenue Helps You Get Your Bite Right

Many issues can hurt oral health, including these misalignments that all require corrective action as soon as possible to maintain a healthy, beautiful mouth and smile. These conditions can worsen over time, so immediate action is needed. If you suffer from one of these malocclusions, it’s not too late to take control of your teeth!

Our caring and knowledgeable team at Park Avenue Dental takes a comprehensive approach to caring for your teeth. We partner with trusted several area orthodontic offices to help you with misalignments. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you realign your bite and enjoy stress-free biting and chewing.