Overlapping teeth are a kind of malocclusion or misalignment of your teeth. This condition can lead to oral health difficulties. Some people have only one overlapping tooth, such as one that is crooked. Others may have a row of teeth that overlap.

In this article, we will run you through everything you need to know about overlapping teeth and their treatment methods.

Known Causes of Overlapping Teeth

There are various causes of overlapping teeth, including the following:

Genetics or Heredity

Overlapping teeth can be a genetic condition handed down through your family. According to the University of Florida Health, this is the most prevalent cause of crooked teeth.

The size of a person’s jaw or teeth may be influenced by genetics. Too little or too much room in your jaw or teeth might prevent your teeth from growing properly, causing them to overlap.

Childhood Habits Such as Thumb-Sucking or Using a Pacifier

For most newborns, sucking their thumb for comfort isn’t a problem until they’re older. According to the American Dental Association (AAD), when a child’s permanent teeth have formed, thumb-sucking can create difficulties with their dental alignment. It may also alter the mouth’s roof and interfere with the healthy development of the mouth and jaw.

The need for a pacifier for an extended period might also alter a child’s teeth and jaw, albeit it is not as harmful as thumb-sucking. A kid should be weaned off their pacifier by the age of three to avoid problems with their teeth aligning, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

Other Known Causes

Other than genetic and early childhood factors, overlapping teeth may also be caused by the following:

  • Not having enough space in the jawbone to allow the teeth to grow properly
  • Receiving an injury to the jaw
  • Having a cleft lip or cleft palate
  • Teeth that aren’t able to break through the gums
  • Having extra teeth
  • Abnormally shaped teeth
  • Having jaw or mouth tumors
  • Wearing crowns and filling that don’t fit properly

Issues That Result from Overlapping Teeth

Various issues result from overlapping teeth, such as:

  • Your meals may be difficult to bite or chew
  • Having problems with your bite, such as an overbite, underbite, open bite, or a crossbite
  • Increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and infections
  • Physical pain, headaches, and jaw pain

Fixing Overlapping Teeth

With the guidance of a dental professional, you will be able to make the best decision for your case.

Here are a few of the most popular solutions for correcting overlapping teeth:

  • Wearing Braces: Traditional braces with metal brackets, wires, and elastic bands are the first line of defense against overlapping teeth.

You may wear braces for 1 to 3 years to reshape the jaw and allow the teeth to move into the correct position. This is ideal for children and teenagers.

There are also clear aligners like Invisalign that you must wear 20 to 22 hours daily. 

  • Wearing Veneers: While these do not change the position of the teeth or jaw, these improve the appearance of teeth for mild cases of misalignment.
  • Extracting the Teeth: If your teeth overlap significantly, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you have one or more teeth extracted. In some instances, they may recommend that you have surgery to reshape your jaw.


Overlapping teeth may make your meals hard to chew and may be unsightly. However, there are various treatment options to help resolve this problem.

Are you looking for a dentist in Chattanooga? Shallowford Family Dental has years of trusted experience in dentistry. Give us a call to learn more!

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