As orthodontists, we use a funny word: malocclusion. It’s a fancy term for bite problems, and today at Glass Orthodontics, we want to tell you all about what types of bite issues orthodontic treatment can fix.
Types of Bite Problems
You’ve probably heard of an overbite or an underbite, but issues with bite can get a lot more specific than that! They can also extend to spacing issues of the teeth themselves. The way our jaws work means that there’s always a potential for them not to line up quite right—whether they grow that way on their own or are affected later by trauma.
Here are some of the primary bite issues Dr. Glass encounters and treats. We know it’s a long list—it may be helpful to look up images to identify the differences between them!
- Overbite (Deep Bite): An overbite occurs when the upper front teeth significantly overlap the lower front teeth vertically. These can lead to excessive wear on the lower front teeth and potential jaw and joint problems.
- Underbite: This is characterized by the lower front teeth protruding past the upper front teeth. This impacts facial aesthetics and may result in issues with chewing.
- Crossbite: Crossbites are when some of the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth when the jaws are closed. It can affect one or more teeth and may lead to uneven wear, gum recession, and jaw misalignment.
- Open Bite: This is where the upper and lower front teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed. It can cause speech issues, difficulty biting into certain foods, and concern with appearance.
- Crowding: This happens when there is insufficient jaw space for all of the teeth to align properly. It can be due to missing teeth, small teeth, or excessive jaw space.
- Crossbite (Anterior or Posterior): A crossbite can also occur in the back upper and lower molars (posterior) or front teeth (anterior).
- Midline Misalignment: Midline misalignment refers to a misalignment of the centerline of the upper and lower teeth. This can affect the symmetry of the smile.
- Diastema: This is characterized by gaps between the teeth, often seen prominently between the front upper teeth.
Consequences of Bite Problems
Before delving into corrective measures, let’s talk a bit about what happens when these issues aren’t addressed using braces or other orthodontic treatments.
- Tooth Wear and Damage: This might take a while to visibly manifest—but malocclusions cause uneven distribution of biting forces, causing excessive wear on certain teeth. They can result in premature wearing down of tooth enamel, chipping, or fractures.
- Jaw Pain and Discomfort: Misaligned jaws or improper bite can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, causing excessive discomfort, chronic jaw pain, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth.
- Difficulty Chewing and Speaking: Bite issues interfere with proper speech and chewing patterns, leading to digestive issues due to incorrectly processing food and causing speaking interference.
- Increased Risk of Gum Disease: Misaligned teeth can be hard to clean correctly, increasing the risk of plaque buildup and decay. Gum inflammation and periodontal disease may develop if not addressed.
- Breathing Problems: Crossbites and overbites can especially contribute to issues with breathing. They can cause jaws and airways to be obstructed, depending on their severity.
- Limited Treatment Options: In some cases, if bite problems aren’t treated for an extended period, available treatments can narrow significantly. This can mean a less direct route to alignment, involving more invasive procedures in addition to braces.
Correction of Bite Problems
Now that we know the major issues, we can talk about how braces are an incredible solution for a variety of them. The main objective of braces is to achieve alignment—whether it’s between teeth, jaws, or both.
- Correction of Overbite: Invisalign and braces will work to reposition the upper and lower teeth to create a more balanced bite.
- Correction of Underbite: Generally, this involves moving the lower teeth backward for alignment.
- Correction of Open Bite: Invisalign and braces can effectively close the gap between the upper and lower teeth, allowing them to come together properly when the mouth is closed.
- Correction of Spacing: Gaps between teeth are closed using the pressure of the wires, brackets or aligners. Traditional braces or Invisalign are an excellent solution for closing gaps over time.
- Jaw Correction: Aligner therapy or Braces can directly contribute to jaw alignment, enhancing facial symmetry and comfort for the patient.
Invisalign and braces are options for patients of all ages, but generally speaking, it’s good to fix these issues as soon as possible. For kids in particular, orthodontic treatment can be an important proactive measure. But we want to stress that it’s not too late—there are treatments for everyone!
A Clearer Picture
At Glass Orthodontics, we are fortunate to be able to serve four different communities in our state: Daphne (251-263-5584), Bay Minette (251-299-9113), Atmore (251-299-9395), and Brewton (251-263-5584). Please reach out if you are interested in braces—your first consultation will always be free.