How to Deal with Buck Teeth

buck teeth

Buck teeth are commonly known as malocclusion or overbite. It is a common condition when your upper and lower sets of teeth don’t fit perfectly together.

Malocclusion can cause physical discomfort as you are not able to eat properly. It may also be related to appearance and might be significant in a few. 

Also known as protruding front teeth, can be naturally occurring or may arise due to certain habits such as tongue thrusting, finger or thumb sucking etc. 

buck teethMany people may not want to treat this dental condition. However, your dentist can tell you why protruding teeth or buck teeth should not be ignored.

Misaligned teeth are more than a dental problem. In the long run, they can lead to several health complications if left untreated.

An orthodontist can provide treatments to correct the malocclusion disorder. Besides, there are also things you can do to make protruding teeth easier to deal with.

Buck Teeth Definition

Buck teeth are otherwise known as an overbite or malocclusion. When your upper front teeth horizontally overlap the lower front teeth, the resulting condition is known as overjet. It’s a misalignment of your teeth that can range in severity. It could lead to functional issues in your mouth.

People often use the terms ‘overbite’ and ‘overjet’ interchangeably. However, in case of an overbite your front teeth vertically overlap the lower teeth.

However, many people choose to live with protruding teeth and not treat them. But there are many who prefer to treat their overbite misalignment for cosmetic reasons.

But majorly people prefer treatment in order to avoid long term complications. It can damage your teeth, gums, or even your tongue from accidental biting. However, your severity and symptoms play a role in how you should treat your protruding teeth.

The condition of protruding teeth could be a minor issue when your two front teeth slightly overlap the adjacent lateral incisors. Whereas in some cases, it may be so severe that it becomes impossible for you to close both the lips over the protruding teeth.

Causes of Buck Teeth

Buck teeth have been noticed to be a hereditary disorder. Jaw shape, like other physical features, might be passed down through generations. 

Apart from these childhood habits, such as pacifier use and thumb-sucking are some other possible causes of protruding teeth.

1 Buck teeth from thumb-sucking

Your parents might warn you against the habit of sucking your thumb, which could cause protruding teeth.

Thumb-sucking is a non-nutritive sucking behaviour or NNSB. In simple terms, it means the sucking motion does not provide you with any nutrition. So you may say there are no benefits of thumb-sucking.

The permanent teeth start to appear when a child is 3 to 4 years old. If the thumb-sucking habit continues after this age, then the pressure will be created on the new teeth. Meaning the finger-sucking might cause the permanent teeth to come in at an abnormal angle.

buck teeth

2 Buck teeth from use of a pacifier

Sucking on a pacifier is another form of non-nutritive sucking behaviour. It can cause an overbite in your child the same way that sucking on a thumb can.

According to research published in 2016 – the use of pacifier use was associated with a higher risk of developing malocclusions than thumb-sucking.

3 Tongue-thrusting

Tongue-thrust is a disorder that occurs when your tongue presses too far forward in the mouth. While this usually results in a malocclusion called “open bite”. It can also sometimes cause an overbite.

The condition is most noticeable in children, but it can be carried on into adulthood. It can be caused by a number of things but could result in protruding teeth. 

4 Genetics

Some people are born with a misaligned jaw or a small upper or lower jaw. An overbite or prominent front teeth are often hereditary in nature. If you notice, your parents, siblings, or other close relatives might also have a similar appearance.

5 Missing teeth, impacted teeth and extra teeth

Spacing or crowding can affect the alignment of your front teeth. This could then cause the appearance of protruding teeth. If you have a missing tooth, your remaining teeth will shift over time. Thus affecting the position of your front teeth.

On the other side, your mouth does not have enough space to accommodate your teeth; it can cause alignment issues. Crowding can occur when you have impacted teeth or extra teeth.

buck teeth

6 Tumors and cysts of the jaw or mouth

Any kind of tumors and cysts in the mouth or jaw can affect the alignment of your teeth. It can also change the shape of your mouth and jaw. 

This often happens when persistent swelling or growth is seen. Soft tissue or bony growth might appear in the upper part of your mouth or jaw, which causes your teeth to shift forward.

Cysts and tumors in the oral space or jaw can also cause pain, lumps, and sores.

Problems Related to Buck Teeth

Buck teeth correction is highly important because they are more than just a cosmetic problem. If left untreated, you might have health-related implications.

Speech Impediment – Since the misalignment affects your upper front teeth and the lips, it can lead to speech difficulties. If you open bite disorder or a large overbite, you might have trouble pronouncing words with letters F, M, B, V, P, and S.

Chewing issues – Improper alignment of teeth in any of your jaws could result in chewing issues. Chewing is the first step in the digestive process and has a direct effect on your health in general. Improper chewing could lead to poor digestion. It is important to have a good bite, as your teeth help to break down the food effectively. Protruding teeth might also cause pain during chewing and biting. 

Other potential problems could include damage to surrounding teeth and gums and alteration in facial appearance. Hence protruding teeth treatment is essential to overcome these issues.

buck teeth

Airway Problems – Protruding teeth actually do not cause any problems in the airway.  If you have a small jaw size, it means overcrowded teeth and also a small air passage. Similarly, if you have a lower jaw that is small and retruded might also give rise to an abnormal airway. 

A poorly-developed airway will lead to sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnoea and snoring, which will affect your overall quality of life.

Buck Teeth Treatment

You need to understand that unless your overbite is severe and is causing some discomfort – treatment isn’t medically necessary. Moreover, if you’re unhappy with your appearance, you might see a dentist or orthodontist for treatment.

There is no one standard way to treat protruding teeth. The conditions might vary because teeth come in different sizes, and bite types and jaw relationships vary from one person to person. Your dentist or orthodontist will determine the best treatment plan based on your requirement.


Traditional retainers and wire braces are the most common type of treatment for protruding teeth. Many people get braces in childhood or during their teenage years. But adults can benefit from them, too. 

Metal braces with wires attached to the teeth are designed to gradually move your teeth for a straighter smile. Your dentist might also recommend tooth extraction if more room is required to straighten your teeth.

Palate expansion

The palate expansion option is often used to treat children or adolescents. Those whose upper jaw is too small to accommodate all the adult teeth.

A special appliance consisting of two pieces called a palatal expander is generally attached to the upper molars. An expansion screw can move the two pieces apart to widen the palate.

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Your dentist might use an Invisalign to treat minor malocclusions, specially in teenagers and adults. Clear plastic aligners are made from a mould of your teeth and are worn over your teeth to gradually change their position. Invisalign might be more expensive than traditional braces but would require fewer trips to your dentist.

Jaw surgery

This is the last option. Orthognathic surgery is used to treat very severe issues. It’s also used for people who are adults and have stopped growing. Once you stop growing, the relationship between the upper and lower teeth and jaws are corrected using surgery. Orthodontic treatment often help to overcome the problem.

Living with Buck Teeth

Many choose to live with their overbite. Here are tips that would help you keep your teeth healthy and avoid issues that can be caused by misalignment. 

  • Make it a regular habit to practice good oral health.
  • Have regular dental exams once every six months.
  • Use a mouth guard during sleep. During times of stress, if you have the habit of tongue-thrust.
  • While playing high-impact sports, protect your teeth with a mouth guard.

buck teethOur teeth come in all shapes and sizes. If you have teeth protrude, it only requires treatment if they are severe and causes discomfort. If you are not happy with your looks, you may prefer to have them corrected.

Your orthodontist or dentist can help determine the best option based on your needs.

Hence it becomes important to fix buck teeth at the earliest. As they can not only lead to oral issues but also lead to overall health issues. If you’d like to know more about buck teeth, visit your dental clinic today. 

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