Children frequently experience mockery, especially throughout the difficult adolescent years.
But overjet must be corrected during early childhood for physiological reasons as well.
Research studies have confirmed that if overjet is not fixed, 75 percent of children with an overjet of 6 millimeters or more will experience fractures in their front teeth by age 12.
Since these teeth protrude so far forward, they have a greater chance of injury - or even tooth loss - if the child is hit in the face, explain some orthodontics experts.
Overjet can result in improper use of the front teeth and untimely wear.
It can also be an indicator that the back molars aren't meeting properly - or that the jaw is not growing into the right position.
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists says all children should visit an orthodontist by age 7; many problems are corrected more easily if they're discovered early.
Adult front teeth are erupting around this time, so orthodontists can watch out for overjet and figure out the optimal moment for treatment.
Overjet can be caused by tooth crowding, thumb sucking, small lower jaws, or lower jaws that are too far back.
It is categorized as a class II malocclusion (or tooth misalignment).
People frequently believe that overjet and overbite are the same condition, but they are actually quite different.
An overjet is the horizontal distance between the upper and lower front teeth; overbite is the term used for a vertical space between the lower and upper front teeth.
If thumb sucking is responsible for the overjet, it can ameliorated by stopping the habit.
A special appliance to prevent thumb sucking can be inserted in the child's mouth by the orthodontist.
If crowding is responsible for the overjet, braces can be used to move teeth into their proper position.
Some orthodontists uses growth plates or functional appliances, such as the Twin Block, that shift the lower jaw forward to close up the gap.
Often treatment is most effective if it begins before a child's adolescent growth spurt.
This allows the child's facial growth to direct the jaw's development.