Your bark may be worse than your bite, but your bite is a very important part of your oral health. In orthodontics, “bite” refers to the way upper and lower teeth come together. Your local Snellville orthodontist can identify a bad bite, called a “malocclusion,” which is when teeth meet improperly or do not meet at all. While each bite problem is unique, there are seven general types of bite problems that are common in children and adults.
Crossbite: When the upper teeth fit inside of the lower teeth
Can be caused by misalignment of teeth (including baby teeth) or a misalignment of the bone; can affect a single tooth or groups of teeth.
Possible consequences if not corrected: The jaw shifts to one side; lopsided jaw growth; wearing down of the outer layer of the tooth called the “enamel”.
Posterior crossbite: If the back teeth are affected, the upper teeth will sit to the inside of the bottom teeth.
Anterior crossbite: If the front teeth are in crossbite, the top teeth are behind the bottom teeth.
Underbite: The lower jaw sits in front of the upper jaw.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Face has a “bulldog” appearance; tooth wear; stress on jaw joints.
Anterior open bite: Occurs when the back teeth are together, and the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. This can result from excessive sucking, tongue thrusting or mouth breathing.
Posterior open bite: Occurs when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth do not.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Swallowing problems; tongue pushes through teeth when swallowing. Possible speech problems.
Deep bite: When the bite is closed, the upper front teeth cover the bottom teeth too much.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth can bite into lower gums; lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth. Possible gum disease, early enamel wear.
Crowding: lack of space for the teeth. This can be a result of big teeth or scarce space in the jaw or both. This may result in teeth that overlap, are rotated, or have a crooked/staggered appearance.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Hard to clean; possible cavities, especially in between the teeth; gum disease.
Spacing: Too much space between teeth. It can be a result of missing teeth, undersized teeth, oversized jaws, or a combination of these conditions.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Food gets stuck in open areas. Possible cavities, gum disease.
Protrusion: Front teeth that stick out (also called “buck” teeth). Teeth may appear sticking out because the upper jaw is too far forward, the lower jaw is too far back, the teeth grew in at an angle, or it could be a combination of these conditions. Sometimes people who have protrusive front teeth can also have a deep bite.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth are prone to accidental breaking; hard to comfortably close the mouth and lips, leading to dried out oral tissues followed by tooth decay, speech problems or a long, narrow face.
The fact of the matter is that if any of these common bite problems exist in a child’s mouth, they likely WILL NOT self-correct. Untreated problems tend to get worse over time. Quite often, the bite problems treated when the child is still growing have the best outcome, so make an appointment with us today if you or your child’s dentist has any of these concerns (BUT you do not need to wait until your dentist refers you).
Fun Fact: The goal of orthodontic treatment, such as braces or Invisalign, is to create a healthy bite. When teeth and jaws line up in the right way, the force created to bite, or chew food is evenly distributed. Bite correction and healthy bite is important for clear speech.
Parents – there’s no need to wait until your child has lost all of their baby teeth before you consult with an orthodontist. We offer a free initial consultation, low down-payment and affordable monthly payments. And for you adults – there is no better time than NOW to talk with Atlanta orthodontist, Dr. Meagan, about getting the smile you’ve always wanted and the confidence you deserve. Now is the time to Rise. Shine. Smile.
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