Buck Teeth: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for an Overbite

Buck Teeth: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for an Overbite

Buck Teeth Definition: What Are Buck Teeth?

Buck teeth (also known as an overbite) are a condition in which the upper front teeth protrude past the lower jaw. This can be caused by several factors, including genetics, poor oral hygiene habits, or other health issues that affect your mouth. If you have buck teeth, it’s important to get them treated right away because they can cause serious problems if left untreated. Here is everything you need to know about buck teeth.

Is Having Buck Teeth Bad?

If you have buck teeth, this means that the top of your upper teeth jut out beyond the bottom of your lower teeth. The result is a gap between the two sets of teeth, which makes it look like your smile has gaps between each tooth. In some cases, there may also be spaces between the teeth themselves. These spaces make it difficult to eat properly, speak clearly, and properly clean your teeth.

Of course, it’s also affecting your looks, as in some severe cases the patient will become self-conscious about this.

There are people who have no problem sporting their overbite and turn famous, such as the late rock music legend Freddie Mercury who still looked good with his buck teeth.

Buck teeth only require treatment if they’re severe and causing you discomfort. Of course, such as with the entire orthodontic treatment, if you do not like your appearance and would like to improve it, then you can have them corrected.

Any orthodontist will tell you that the no.1 reason for treatment is HEALTH, but 99% of the patients seek orthodontic treatment because they don’t like how their teeth look.

So, yes, if you do wish to change your appearance for the better and get rid of your buck teeth, an orthodontist can really help.

Buck Teeth Causes

Often, buck teeth are hereditary, so there’s not too much you could have done to prevent them. Like other physical characteristics, such as eye color, hair color, height, etc., jaw shapes can be inherited from one generation to another. Some childhood habits, like using thumbs for sucking and pacifiers for soothing, may be among the reasons why children develop bucked teeth.

Buck teeth kid

What Causes Buck Teeth?

  • Genetics 
  • Thumb sucking can cause buck teeth / overbite
  • The prolongued use of a pacifier can cause buck teeth
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Missalignment of the teeth can cause buck teeth
  • Cysts and Tumours in the Mouth can cause Buck teeth 

One of the main causes of buck teeth is genetics

As mentioned before, if you have this in your family, chances are you’ll in fact inherit it. Your parents’ teeth shape and size can determine whether or not you end up having buck teeth.

Thumb sucking can cause buck teeth / overbite

Nonnutritive Sucking Behavior (NNSB) has been linked to the appearance of a wide range of malocclusions, as proved by a study published on September 28, 2016, in the Journal of the American Dental Association:

The authors of this study have confirmed the association between NNSB and the development of malocclusions. This study provides the highest level of evidence on this topic. Pacifiers were associated with a higher risk of developing most malocclusion features when compared with digit sucking. 

Doğramac EJ, et al. (2016). Establishing the association between nonnutritive sucking behavior and malocclusions – A systematic review and meta-analysis [Abstract]. DOI: 10.1016/j.adaj.2016.08.018

The prolongued use of a pacifier can cause buck teeth

Just like with thumbsucking, a pacifier can cause buck teeth. When my daughter was a baby, we decided to use a pacifier (few times a day) and then, before she turned 2 and a half, the doctor recomended she stopped using it.

Tongue thrusting

Another behaviour that can lead to overbites (among other dental issues) is the tongue thrusting. A habit that makes the kid press the tongue too far forward into the mouth. One of the unwanted results is an open bite, but it can also cause buck teeth (overbite).

Missing teeth, impacted or extra teeth can also cause overbites

When you lose teeth, the remaining ones tend to “migrate” over the time and will affect how the front teeth look. Also, impacted or extra teeth will cause shifts and in many cases these actually mean the appearance of buck teeth.

Cysts and Tumours in the Mouth can cause Buck teeth 

When tumours or cysts appear in the mouth, the added swelling or growth will cause teeth to shift and changes in the shape of your mouth and jaw. While not a very well spread cause of buck teeth, this can also be taken into account, when trying to understand what triggered your overbite.

Are buck teeth permanent?

Unless treated by an orthodontist, buck teeth (overbite) is permanent. If it’s not something that bothers you too much, you can easily live with this “condition”, but, if you’d like treatment, seek an experienced orthodontist. 

How To Get Rid Of Buck Teeth

The first thing you should do when you notice that your kid is developing buck teeth is to take him/her to see an orthodontist. An orthodontist will be able to diagnose the issue and recommend a suitable solution.

You cannot and should not even attempt to treat overbites (or any dental problems) at home. Don’t try to push back the teeth, don’t do anything yourself, as you will surely do more damage to the teeth.

Overbites (just like any other orthodontic diagnostics) can be treated ONLY by an orthodontist with proper equipment. Whether it’s an expander they’ll use, braces or jaw surgery, it’s something they know how to do and will provide the best outcome for you or your child. 

When should buck teeth be corrected

Buck teeth can cause a lot of issues to the patient, besides affecting their aspect:

  • speech impediments 
  • breathing issues 
  • chewing deficiencies
  • damage to other teeth and gums
  • difficulty in getting the proper oral hygiene

As a general advice, anytime you have dental problems and questions, seek your dentist at first (you should get a professional cleaning anyway periodically) and ask for an orthodontist referral. The orthodontist will be able to properly assess your situation, come up with a treatment plan and also help you solve the issues.

How to fix buck teeth


Buck teeth can be treated with the help of an experienced orthodontist. The treatments vary from braces, palatal expanders and even jar surgery.

Only an orthodontist will be able to provide the treatment for your overbite.

Buck teeth treatment with braces

For most orthodontic diagnostics, braces are your doctor’s #1 ally when it comes to treatment. There are many types of braces (from traditional metal braces to ceramic and even Invisalign). All these can be used in treating your overbite.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is used to treat kids and teenagers whose upper jaw is too small for the new adult teeth. In this case buck teeth is a common occurance. But it can be treated by inserting an appliance that attaches to the upper molars and, by using an expansion screw, allows the 2 pieces to slowly move apart, thus making the palat wider.

Jaw surgery

For very severe overbite cases, orthognathic surgery is the only option to correct the missalignment of your teeth and jaws.

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