If you are struggling with a snoring problem, you probably want to achieve a greater understanding of why you snore, however there is no one definitive answer. Medical professionals have been debating the causes of snoring for many years as it appears that there are multiple reasons why people snore. Some of these include issues with the sinuses, being overweight, aging, use of alcohol or drugs, poor tone in the throat musles, enlarged tonsils or uvula, or possibly an excessive overbite.
What Is An Overbite?
An overbite is defined as the upper jaw protruding over the lower jaw. Overbites are one of the main reasons why braces are worn, especially among teenagers as they can move the teeth into the proper alignment over time. In fact there are two types of overbite:
A skeletal overbite is caused by the positioning of the jaw and underlying skeleton itself. In this type of overbite, the upper jaw (or maxilla) extends too far.
A dental overbite is when the jaw has the correct positioning, however the teeth themselves are out of their correct alignment.
Sometimes, an overbite may have both dental and skeletal causes.
When Is An Overbite Excessive?
Although lots of people are under the impression that having an overbite of any size is abnormal, in fact a slight overbite is completely normal and is, in fact, essential to be able to bite and chew food properly. So how big an overbite is actually considered to be excessive? An overbite is believed to be excessive when the upper incisors overlap the lower incisors by more than half of the tooth’s length i.e. around 2 to 3 mm of overlap. With this amount of overlap, orthodontic treatment is often considered necessary to correct the problem (which is known as malocclusion) and sometimes, even surgery is necessary. Without treatment, malocclusion can cause a number of problems including discomfort, issues with chewing and even tooth loss as well as snoring problems. Although treatment with braces or surgery will address many of the issues, neither directly addresses issues around snoring, however if the overbite is remedied, sometimes snoring will disappear by itself.
The Connection Between Snoring And An Overbite
When you suffer from an excessive overbite, your jaw will be pushed right back and may pinch the airways, causing an obstruction. When this happens, the air is forced past the reduced airway and this causes the tissues in the throat to vibrate against each other resulting in snoring. Usually, an overbite is not the main cause of snoring, as factors such as obesity, drinking alcohol before going to sleep or taking medicines that have a sedative effect are stronger contributers to the problem and therefore, these issues should be addressed first to see if they resolve the snoring problem. However, in certain cases, having an excessive overbite can actually also contribute to OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). This happens when the airway becomes obstructed due to the mouth’s position and results in the sleeper suffering from abnormally low breathing or pauses in their breathing during their sleep.
Should I Consider Overbite Surgery?
While you may think surgery is the ideal option if you suffer from an excessive overbite, it is not recommended except as a last resort since the recovery period can be very painful. Mandibular advancement and other orthognathic surgery involves the separation of the lower jaw and the movement of it forward by several millimeters. The jaw is then held together with screws and plates and this causes swelling and bruising as well as pain and difficulty when performing everyday tasks like blowing the nose or chewing. A better option is to try braces as these can straighten most overbite problems. Although it is a solution that takes a longer time, the process is considerably less painful and today there are numerous different types of braces to try including Invisalign which can correct an overbite and straighten crooked teeth at the same time.
How Can I Fix My Snoring Problem?
If you need to fix a snoring problem without resorting to surgery or braces, you may want to consider a mouthpiece or mandibular advancement device (or MAD). While this cannot resolve your excessive overbite, it can be effective in relieving snoring as it holds your lower jaw into the proper forward position, opening the airways resulting in better airflow and improved quality of sleep. MADs are one of the best options for fixing snoring on the market today, however if you want to fix your orthodontic issues you will need to look at a solution such as a retainer or brace as mouthpieces cannot resolve dental issues.
Customizable MADs are a good choice for people who have excessive overbites as the “boil and bite” technology allows the device to be molded to the shape of the user’s individual teeth. A boil and bite device is dropped into boiling water for a short period of time in order to soften the material. After being allowed to cool a little, the user places the device in their mouth, bites down and creates the impression of their teeth in the material which then hardens to form a bespoke device ideally fitted to the user. Alternatively, you could opt for a mouthpiece that has been fitted professionally by a dentist, and this could be a good choice for anyone with dental issues. A dental impression kit works by supplying the user with a mouth tray and clay sent by the manufacturer. The user bites into the clay and the kit is then sent off to the laboratory in order to produce a custom made device.
Your tongue may also be influencing your snoring and overbite. If your tongue protrudes through your front teeth during speech, swallowing or resting, you could benefit from using a Tongue Stabilizing Device or TSD. This device holds the tongue in position during the night and prevents snoring, however it cannot resolve an overbite.
You should discuss your snoring problem with your doctor and dentist before choosing a mouthpiece in order to determine the best option for you as there are many different varieties and brands of mouthpiece to choose from. You should also consider making some lifestyle changes at the same time including losing some excess weight, avoiding drinking alcohol before bed and sleeping on your side during the night.