A person’s “bite” refers to how their upper teeth and lower teeth meet inside the mouth. A malocclusion or “bad bite” is when the upper teeth and lower teeth don’t come together properly. Malocclusions occur due to environmental or genetic situations, such as, facial development, injury or myofunctional habits.
There are many different types of bites, most of which can be fixed by orthodontic treatment with modern braces or Invisalign clear aligners. In some cases, tooth extraction and even jaw surgery may need to be supplemented to ensure a proper bite.
Below are the most common bite problems, the factors that can cause them and how Orthodontic Associates can treat each of these conditions to give you a smile you’ll love.
Common Bite Problems
An overbite is a when the upper front teeth overlap or cover part of the lower front teeth. This type of bite can wear down the front teeth, predominately the incisors (the two front teeth). Additionally, an overbite can cause damage to the gum tissue and often results in what is known as a “gummy” smile. Depending on the severity of the overbite (overbites that cause front teeth to mostly cover the lower teeth are called deep bites), most types of braces, including Invisalign clear aligners, will fix this issue.
Sometimes referred to as an anterior crossbite, an underbite can cause a “bulldog” appearance, where the lower jaw sits out in front of the upper jaw. This type of malocclusion causes stress on the jaw joints and if left untreated can cause tension headaches, jaw problems and even TMJ disorders. This type of bite problem is typically more difficult to treat and may require a person to wear braces for a longer amount of time compared to someone with a mild overbite. In addition to braces, a severe underbite may require that a person undergo jaw surgery to reshape either the lower or upper jaw to create a proper bite.
A crossbite can affect one tooth or multiple teeth, and is when the upper teeth fit inside of the lower teeth. This can be caused by misaligned teeth, bone or both. This type of bite can cause issues for people in terms of biting and chewing, and tend to worsen over time. For this reason, it is crucial that you take your child to seen an orthodontist by the time they are seven. Even if there are no signs of malocclusion, our orthodontists will be able to see if it may become an issue in the future. The quicker this problem can be dealt with, the better.
Similar to crossbites, early intervention is the best practice as open bites can cause potential swallowing and speech problems. There are two different types of open bites, anterior and posterior. An anterior open bite refers to when the upper and lower teeth do not overlap (or touch in some cases) when the back teeth are together. A posterior open bite is when the upper and lower teeth meet, but not the back teeth.
When there isn’t enough space in your mouth for teeth to come in properly, it causes crowding. Crowding is one of the most common problems that orthodontists take care of, and most of the time, can be corrected by braces or Invisalign treatment. Crowding can cause people to lose confidence in their smile, but the issues of crowding go beyond appearance. Crowding makes it harder to clean teeth and get in between teeth while cleaning, resulting in increased cavities and gum disease, such as gingivitis.
Spacing, the opposite of crowding, is another common malocclusion many people experience. Despite being the reverse of crowding, spacing, when not treated, can also lead to an influx of cavities and gum disease. This is because rather than not being able to clean between teeth like crowding, spacing allows for food particles and plaque to build up in these “wider” spaces, if not properly cared for. Similarly, the reason for spacing is due to an inconsistency of tooth size and jaw space.
When the dental midlines of a person’s mouth don’t meet up, this malocclusion can cause dental health to deteriorate as well as ongoing problems with the jaw. A dental midline issue is apparent when the top teeth don’t meet up with the bottom row of teeth. In many midline orthodontic cases, a person may need to have braces in addition to tooth extraction to correct the midline.
In a perfect world, everyone’s bite would come together seamlessly without the need for orthodontic intervention. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most of us and that’s where orthodontic treatment comes to the rescue! Orthodontic Associates invites you to explore orthodontic treatment with a free, initial consultation. We offer both in-person and virtual consultations. We look forward to hearing from you!