When it comes to mouth misalignment, there are many possible reasons. Whether you inherited your crooked teeth from a distant relative or you simply relied on that pacifier for too long as a baby, you really shouldn’t ignore bite problems. Bite problems –– or misalignment –– makes it harder to clean your teeth and can increase the likelihood of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. That’s why it’s important to work with an orthodontist to correct your bite problem and properly align your teeth.
But what are the common types of bite problems, and how do you know if you have one? Read on to learn all about possible misalignment issues and find out when you should reach out to an orthodontist.
A crossbite is when the mouth is closed and some of the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth instead of on the outside. This type of malocclusion can be caused by the misalignment of teeth or bone and can affect a single tooth or group of teeth. If not corrected, the jaw can shift to one side, causing lopsided jaw growth, and the enamel may begin to wear down.
An underbite –– which is also known as an anterior crossbite –– occurs when the lower jaw sits in front of the upper jaw, causing a bulldog appearance of the face. An underbite can cause tooth wear and extra stress on the jaw joints.
There are two types of openbites: anterior and posterior. An anterior open bite occurs when the back molars meet, but the front teeth do not. This is often due to thumb-sucking and pacifier use past the age of 5. A posterior ope bite is just the opposite; the front teeth meet, but the molars do not. An open bite can cause speech and swallowing problems, so it’s a very important problem to address.
This malocclusion is when the upper front teeth go too far over the bottom teeth, covering them completely. The upper teeth can bite into the lower gum tissue, and the lower teeth can push into the roof of the mouth. This often causes the lower front teeth to bite on the gums behind the upper front teeth, causing damage to the gum tissue and underlying bone.
Spacing simply refers to too much space between the teeth. It can be a result of oversized jaws, missing or undersized teeth, or a combination of both. The spaces can quickly become breeding grounds for damaging bacteria and tooth decay –– food can easily get trapped in the spaces, causing dental cavities or gum disease.
Crowding of the teeth is the most common problem associated with the need for orthodontic treatment. Many factors contribute to dental crowding, but the most common reason for crowding is a discrepancy between the space available in each jaw and the size of the teeth. Crowding can lead to impacted teeth and an unaesthetic appearance.
Unfortunately, it’s very likely for these bite problems to correct themselves without treatment. In fact, untreated malocclusions tend to get worse with time. That’s why these bite problems are best treated while a child’s mouth is still developing, so contact your orthodontist if you suspect that your child has a bite problem.
Treatment options will depend on the severity of your tooth or bite misalignment. Some patients will only require a removable retainer, while others may need teeth removed if it’s an issue of overcrowding. In rare cases, surgery may be required to correct an extreme overbite or underbite. Usually, braces are needed to correct the problem. Your orthodontist will be able to suggest the best course of treatment.
Regardless of your bite problems, you deserve a healthy, pain-free smile. Our team of experts here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado makes it our mission to restore smiles. Contact us today to learn how we can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!