What is Overjet: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Orthodontic Treatment

Your Overjet Questions Answered: What Is It? How Do I Treat It?

Has anyone ever called you “buck teeth”? If so, you might have an overjet.

If you’re hoping to correct your overjet, you’re in the right place: this guide will teach you everything you need to know about overjets and how they are corrected.

An overjet is a type of malocclusion or “bad bite”, that occurs when the top front teeth stick out past the bottom teeth, leaving a horizontal gap between the top and bottom rows of teeth. The way the top teeth stick out past the bottom causes them to appear larger or more noticeable than your other teeth, leading to schoolyard bullies teasing about “buck teeth”.

Luckily, overjets can be corrected by an experienced, licensed orthodontist. An expert provider can help your correct your overjet and achieve a healthy bite and a beautiful smile with straight, aligned teeth.

Read on for the inside scoop on overjets.

What is an Overjet?

Overjet occurs when there is a too-large horizontal gap between the top front teeth and the bottom front teeth.

In healthy, properly aligned teeth with a correct bite, the rows of teeth line up when the mouth is closed. At the front of the teeth, the top row of teeth should slightly overlap the front bottom teeth, with little space between them. This is called a normal overjet.

In some cases, the top teeth don’t sit properly over the bottom teeth, creating a horizontal gap between the top and bottom front teeth. This is called an excessive overjet, where either the upper front teeth are too pronounced forward or the lower front teeth are too far back.

This horizontal gap between the front top and bottom teeth can make the top teeth appear more prominent than the other teeth, leading some people to unkindly call these “buck teeth.”

Overjet vs. Overbite

Overbites and overjets are not the same things.

Overjets are measured by the horizontal distance between the top and bottom teeth when the jaw is closed. When the space between the teeth is too large – more than 3-4 mm – this is considered an overjet.

Overbites are measured by the vertical distance by which the top teeth overhang the top teeth. When the top teeth cover too much of the bottom teeth, obscuring more than 25% of the bottom teeth when the teeth are closed, this is called an overbite.

Both these conditions are some of the more common orthodontic issues, found in people all over the world; both are estimated to affect around 20% of the global population. It is relatively common to have both an overjet and an overbite.

Overjets are treatable with quality orthodontic care by experienced, licensed orthodontists in an accredited orthodontic office. There are several treatment options for correcting overjets, with reliable, effective results.

What Are the Causes of Overjets?

Overjets can be caused by a variety of factors. Some are skeletal – originating in bone development in the jaw and dental roots – and some are developmental, resulting from the growth of the teeth themselves.

Overjets, like other orthodontic issues, can be hereditary: if your parents, grandparents, or another close relative has an excessive overjet, there’s a good chance you inherited your bad bite from your genes.

External factors can cause an overjet to develop. Some of these include:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Prolonged use of a pacifier or bottle
  • Excessive tongue thrusting
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Late growth of adult teeth

Whatever the causes, an overjet can be corrected with careful supervision by an experienced orthodontist.

Is an Overjet Bad for Your Teeth?

Yes, it is important to treat an overjet as soon as possible. Overjets, like any malocclusion, are misaligned bites that can have negative consequences for your teeth, gums, and mouth, as well as your overall lifelong health.

Overjets can cause some or all of the following problems:

  • Speech issues such as lisps or slurs
  • Difficulty biting, chewing, or swallowing
  • Discomfort or pain while eating
  • Irregular facial appearance
  • Embarrassment when smiling
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Inability to close lips
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Gum and teeth decay from excessive plaque build-up.

All of these issues can cause cumulative harm to your teeth and health over time. It’s important to address an overjet promptly and thoroughly, with orthodontic care from an experienced doctor who can provide lasting, effective results.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist at age 7: they likely won’t begin treatment right away, but their expert provider will be able to closely monitor predict future growth, determining whether early intervention might create better outcomes for your child’s smile.

How to Treat Overjets

There are several ways to treat overjet. The best treatment for you depends on several factors: the severity of your overjet, the orthodontic provider you choose, whether there are other issues that need to be corrected, as well as your preferences for treatment.

Whatever treatment you select, make sure you get your overjet corrected by a licensed, experienced orthodontist with in-person supervision, to achieve safe and effective results, for a long-lasting smile and a healthy bite.

Adult Braces Patient Smiling with Silver Bands


Expert orthodontists use metal and ceramic braces to treat overjets with excellent results. Braces use small brackets connected by a wire to safely and predictably move the teeth into their correct positions, diminishing the distance between the top and bottom teeth to close the excessive overjet.

Licensed orthodontists are trained extensively in the use of braces to treat overjets and other malocclusions. For the most experienced professionals, faster treatment and generally lower prices, it’s best to go to a dedicated orthodontist’s office, rather than a general dentist, for braces treatment.

Person Holding Invisalign Aligner with Case

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign treatment is effective at correcting overjets, provided it is used in the hands of an experienced, licensed orthodontist. The clear aligner therapy designed and patented by Invisalign has helped many thousands of people achieve great smiles and treat their overjets. Remember that any orthodontic treatment is only a tool in the hands of your orthodontist: select an orthodontic professional with years of experience using Invisalign clear aligners, for the highest-quality and expert results.

Invisalign treatment uses a series of clear aligners, custom-created by your orthodontist and designed specifically to treat your unique diagnosis. Using patented materials like SmartTrack™ aligner materialsSmartForce™ attachments, and iTero® scanning, Invisalign is clinically proven to correct overjets faster and with more predictable movement.

When you’re seeking clear aligner therapy for your overjet, avoid teledentists: mail-order aligners boast that they can correct your smile without you ever having to see an orthodontist, but this can create serious problems for your teeth, and lasting consequences for your health.

Overjet correction with Invisalign, 12 months treatment

overjet invisalign correction
Oral Surgeon Performing Dental Surgery


For very severe overjets, surgery may be necessary to achieve the best results in closing the overjet gap. Oral surgeons work closely with orthodontists to create the most effective treatment plan.

If your case requires oral surgery, your orthodontist will explain to you the treatment plan and refer you to an oral surgeon for care. Surgical cases are very complex, so seek an expert orthodontist and ask for a referral for a top oral surgeon.

For cases requiring oral surgery, there are 3 phases of care:

  • Presurgical (done by an orthodontist to prepare for surgery)
  • Surgical (done by an oral surgeon)
  • Post-surgical done by an orthodontist to finish the case.

How Surgery Impacts an Overjet Patient



Retainers are used to keep your teeth in place after your overjet has been corrected. Retainers will be provided to you after braces or Invisalign treatment (either a metal and plastic retainer or clear aligner retainers).

Retainers are a necessary part of your orthodontic treatment: be sure to wear your retainers as instructed by your provider: they will prevent your overjet from coming back, and keep your beautiful smile in place for lasting health and confidence.

Overjet cases requiring oral surgery can take up to 2 years to properly correct, followed by retainers. It is extremely important to choose an experienced, licensed orthodontic provider who can properly treat your case, and refer you to an expert oral surgeon. In-office supervision by an experienced orthodontist is key to properly correcting an excessive overjet.

Overjets: Before & After Orthodontic Treatment

Mark, 18 Years Old, Overjet Correction with Invisalign, 18 Months Treatment

Mark, 18 Years Old, Overjet Correction with Invisalign, 18 Months Treatment, Before and After

Jugdeep, 23 Years Old with Excessive Overjet and Overbite, 18 Month Invisalign Treatment

Jugdeep, 23 Years Old with Excessive Overjet and Overbite, Before Invisalign Treatment
Jugdeep, 23 Years Old with Excessive Overjet and Overbite, After Invisalign Treatment

Overjet FAQs