Crossbites, Overbites, & Underbites Explained

Your bite, meaning how your teeth come together, is crucial to your oral health and to give you the smile of your dreams. A malocclusion occurs when your teeth meet improperly or not at all, and there are three main types of malocclusions: overbites, underbites, and crossbites. All three require a diagnosis and treatment by a trained Gainesville orthodontist.

If you have a bite problem, Dr. Mullally, our Gainesville orthodontist, can help. Contact Studio32 Orthodontics today to find out more about orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign® and to schedule an orthodontic consultation.

What Is An Overbite?

An overbite is a condition that occurs when a patient's top front teeth extend beyond their bottom front teeth, but having upper teeth that extend slightly over the lower teeth doesn't mean you have an overbite. For a bite to be considered an overbite, the upper teeth must overlap the bottom teeth by roughly 4–10 millimeters. These can be caused by teeth coming in awkwardly, genetics, thumb sucking, ,strong>gum disease, or injury. An overbite is never too late to fix.

What Is An Underbite?

Also called a Class III bite, an underbite is the opposite of an overbite, meaning the lower teeth extend beyond the upper. This can cause several serious oral health issues, including Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. Underbites can also be caused by childhood behaviors or genetics. We recommend treating severe underbites immediately to help prevent issues from appearing down the road.

What Is A Crossbite?

While many people believe that there are only two forms of malocclusion, a crossbite is a third, less known malocclusion that occurs when the top teeth are positioned too close to the cheek or tongue. This type of malocclusion typically occurs during childhood, and they cannot correct themselves naturally over time. Due to this, crossbites need to be diagnosed and treated by a trained professional.

Overbite & Underbite Treatments

Removable Retainer

For those malocclusions that are less severe, a removable retainer is a good solution. This type of solution hooks around the back of the patient's teeth to hold itself in place. If this is the solution you choose, it is important to ensure that you wear the retainer every day in order to ensure it is effective.


Braces are one of the most common ways to treat malocclusions, especially for children or teenagers. With braces, a taut wire connects tiny brackets that apply pressure to your teeth, aligning them over the span of 1–3 years. We recommend checking with your insurance provider to ensure that braces are covered under your plan, as it will often cover braces for children but not for adults.


With some malocclusions, a popular option is aligners, such as Invisalign®, which are clear and removable, saving you time and possible embarrassment. This treatment option can take several months to years, depending on the severity of the malocclusion. These aligners can help you to achieve the smile of your dreams.