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Do You Need Braces if You Have an Overbite?

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Do You Need Braces if You Have an Overbite?

In his over 20 years as an orthodontist, Dr. Patel has seen his fair share of excessive overbite teeth. After all, excessive overbite, also called a “deep bite,” is one of the most common kinds of malocclusion, or misalignment of teeth. Thankfully, Dr. Patel and the team at The Brace Place can fix an overbite so you get the functional, confident smile you deserve.

 

If you’re concerned about an overbite in your child, we suggest bringing them in to see us for an initial visit by age seven. The American Association of Orthodontist (AAO) suggests this is a great time for a first orthodontic appointment… and we agree! Why? Because by age seven, a child has some of their adult teeth already and their jaw shape is pretty much set. A skilled orthodontist like Dr. Patel can spot potential issues — like an excessive overbite — that might need treatment. 

 

What is An Overbite?

Before we answer the question in the title of this post, “Do you need braces if you have an overbite?” let’s cover the basics. “What is an overbite? What does an overbite look like? Do I have an overbite?” you might be wondering. Well, an overbite is when your top row of teeth vertically overlaps your bottom teeth when your back teeth are closed. You could also think of it as your top row of teeth sticking out farther than your bottom teeth.

 

Now, we should mention that not all overbites are considered issues that need fixing. In fact, it’s normal to have a slight overbite. But when the amount of overbite is too large, it’s problematic and you might need orthodontic correction. 

 

What is considered an excessively large overbite? Of course, the best way to know for sure is to have an experienced orthodontic specialist like Dr. Patel take a look. But a few at-home indicators that you have an excessive overbite are:

 

If your bottom teeth bite into the roof your mouth – Called a deep bite or impinging bite, your top teeth might overlap your bottom ones entirely, causing your bottom teeth to hit the roof of your mouth when your jaw is closed.

 

You have the appearance of a receding chin or undefine lower jaw – An excessive overbite can affect your facial appearance, especially if your excessive overbite is because of your jaw or skeletal structure, like a small lower jaw.

 

Your teeth look like they’re not straight or aligned – When individual teeth (versus the entire jaw) aren’t in their proper position, what can result is a dental overbite. Shifting those misaligned teeth can correct your overbite, as well as other issues like crowding, gapping, or twisted teeth.

 

Illustrations of teeth with overbite and buck teeth

Overbite vs. Overjet

Understandably, an excessive overbite can be confused with overjet. After all, the overall look of these two issues is similar at first glance. And many patients with an overbite also have overjet teeth.

 

However, an overbite is the vertical overlap of your top teeth sitting outside your bottom teeth. While overjet is the horizontal distance between upper front teeth and lower teeth — how much only the top front teeth flare out from the teeth below them. That’s why overjet is also called “buck teeth.”

 

 

What Causes Overbite Teeth?

There are several causes of overbite teeth. These include:

 

Genetics: The most common cause of overbite is genetics. The size and shape of your jaw is usually inherited and can sometimes cause problems with the growth or development of your jaw or teeth. In this case, an overbite can happen because the lower jaw is too small. 

 

Misaligned Teeth: As we mentioned earlier, you can have a dental overbite when the issue stems from misaligned teeth instead of your jaw. An overbite can happen when teeth aren’t aligned or they’re crowding because your jaw is too small. Sometimes these teeth issues happen from growth issues like an early loss of baby teeth.

 

Missing Lower Teeth: When back lower teeth are missing because of injury or decay, this can cause the same problems as having a small lower jaw.

 

Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth: Bruxism, the technical name for a persistent habit of grinding or clenching teeth, can result in really strong biting muscles. This might sound harmless but can cause your bite to deepen.

 

Aging: It’s natural for a bite to deepen as you age. This can mean that even a mild overbite that hasn’t bothered you for years can worsen and begin to cause functional or aesthetic problems. And if you had orthodontic treatment in the past but didn’t wear your retainer, sometimes the excessive overbite you used to have can reappear when you’re older. 

 

 

What Happens if You Don’t Get Overbite Correction?

It’s pretty clear that if you have an excessive overbite and don’t fix it, you could run into some oral complications. And it’s not only the way your smile and overall facial appearance look but the functionality of your teeth, too. Your teeth, jaws, and temporomandibular joints (TMJ) can all be impacted.

 

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

An excessive overbite canincrase your risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. On the flip side, one of the greatest long-term benefits of a normal bite and straight teeth is that maintaining good oral health is much easier. Brushing and flossing are more effective, lessening your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. 

 

We should also mention that if your overbite causes your lower teeth to touch the gums behind the front teeth when you close your mouth, you can get gum recession, which can weaken teeth.

 

Excessive Wear on Your Tooth Enamel

Over time, an overbite can contribute to excessive wear on your tooth enamel, the thin yet protective coating on your teeth that helps protect against cavities. You might also experience uneven wear because of how your upper and lower teeth come together when you bite or chew. Uneven wear on your tooth enamel not only puts you at more risk of cavities but can change the appearance of your teeth

 

Breathing Issues from an Overbite

It might surprise you to learn that in some cases of severe overbite, your airway can be restricted, contributing to obstructive sleep apnea. And people with skeletal overbites are more likely to snore and mouth breath when they sleep.

 

Impaired Chewing and Bite Functioning

Even a moderate excessive overbite can impact how well you chew your food. For a start, think about foods like pizza, sandwiches, or apples that you bite and tear into with your front teeth. Top and bottom teeth that aren’t stacked on top of each other well make it harder to bite into certain foods. 

 

Speaking and Pronunciation Problems

Malloclusions of any kind can cause speech problems like lisping. Overbites in particular can interfere with pronouncing “s,” “z,” “sh,” and “zh,” or “d, “l,” and “t” correctly.

 

Jaw Pain and TMJ Disorder

Overbite teeth that aren’t corrected can also cause considerable facial pain or discomfort. A bite that isn’t aligned can put extra stress on the TMJ and chewing muscles that connect the lower jaw to the upper jaw on either side of your face. We’ve had many patients come to The Brace Place concerned about jaw pain, headaches, and even earaches, which come from misaligned bites or severe overbites. 

 

Decrease in Self-Esteem

Adding to the functional issues mentioned above, having an overbite can affect your smile and how your face looks. For many of our patients, facial disharmony can negatively affect their confidence. We’ve found that treating an overbite for cosmetic reasons is often just as rewarding for our patients as the functional benefits.

 

 

How To Fix an Overbite

All that said, let’s turn to how to fix an overbite and circle back to the question: Do you need braces to fix an overbite? It’s different for every patient, since the kind of overbite and severity are unique for every person. We also consider our patient’s age — kids with a deep bite can benefit from Phase 1 early interceptive orthodontics and Phase 2 orthodontics later on in their teen years. Adult patients can dive right into typical orthodontic treatment.

 

When you come to visit us at our Tulsa or Claremore, OK orthodontist office, Dr. Patel will provide a thorough examination and an accurate diagnosis of your malocclusion. He’ll also explain your best, personalized options for getting a smile you’ll love and that works for your lifestyle. 

 

So, do braces or Invisalign® fix an overbite? We can confidently say, yes, braces provide great results for an overbite! We might add orthodontic rubber bands, which provide the leverage needed to bring the upper and lower arches together, aligning your overbite. At The Brace Place, we offer modern metal braces and ceramic braces that will efficiently transform your smile. 

 

If you’re not keen on braces but are interested in Invisalign, you’ll be pleased to know that these clear aligners can fix an overbite in Dr. Patel’s experienced hands.

 

In rare cases where braces or Invisalign aren’t a match for the severity of your overbite, we might suggest overbite surgery. Or we might conclude that fixing your overbite requires a combination of braces or Invisalign and surgery.

 

Whatever your specific overbite needs, we’re tech-savvy at The Brace Place, using the latest orthodontic technology to address our patients’ needs successfully. We also want our patients to experience efficient and comfortable treatment. 

 

 

Overbite Correction With The Brace Place

Now that you’ve learned all about overbites and can answer, “What is an overbite?” Dr. Patel is ready to help. At The Brace Place, we can address your overbite and help you achieve a beautiful smile you’re proud of. 

Contact us today and get started on a new smile with your friendly, expert orthodontic team in Tulsa and Claremore, OK.

how to get your braces off faster

How to Get Your Braces Off Faster

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The payoff for wearing braces is a beautiful straight smile for the rest of your life. But we at the Brace Place understand that sometimes the waiting can feel like ages and wonder how to get your braces off faster. Some of our patients to know how to get their braces off faster so they are ready for high school graduation — prom, photos, cap, and gown… all those moments would be that much more perfect with a new smile. Other patients just feel impatient with the process and want fast braces while still achieving the straight teeth they’ve always wanted.

So how long do braces last?

In any case, what is life with braces like? One of the first things many of our Tulsa and Claremore patients ask us is, “How long do braces take?”

For braces to work properly and shift teeth gradually (and comfortably) into alignment, they typically take about 18 months. So whether it’s a milestone event you’re aiming for or you just want to be braces-free as soon as possible, here are some tips from Dr. Anand Patel for how to get braces off sooner than later.

Follow Food Guidelines

Diet Do’s and Don’ts With Braces

It goes without saying that wearing braces requires a slight change in what you can and can’t eat. Regardless of whether you have modern metal braces or clear ceramic braces, you want to avoid foods that can damage or even break your braces. Braces that are less than 100% functional can delay your treatment. During the time your braces are out of commission, the pause in treatment might set back your teeth movements and extend your treatment time. 

For these reasons, braces-wearers who want to expedite their treatment and have faster braces should stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods that can damage braces such as:

  • Bagels and pizza crust
  • Chips
  • Hard taco shells
  • Nuts
  • Chewing gum
  • Licorice
  • Jerky
  • Hard candies
  • Popcorn
  • Caramel
  • Anything you have to bite into, like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob

This might seem like a long list, but there’s plenty of foods considered safe for braces, and sticking with braces-friendly foods will ensure you’re taking good care of your oral health and your braces at the same time. You can eat soft foods like yogurt, pasta and rice, eggs, tofu, soup, and soft fruits to name a few.

Food Preparation With Braces

You can also cut up your food into smaller pieces if you’re really missing those raw vegetables and fruits, those hearty, crusty bread, or chewy meat dishes. Try softening vegetables by steaming or roasting them or blending fruit into sippable smoothies.

oral hygiene for braces

Keep your mouth healthy

Good oral hygiene is your best bet against tooth decay and gum disease. A healthy mouth can help keep your orthodontic treatment on track, or in some cases, result in faster braces. Clean, healthy gums are more likely to allow teeth to move faster. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day — in the morning and before bed — and after every meal. Don’t forget to floss first before brushing!

Now, we should mention that proper brushing and flossing with braces does take a bit longer, but you’ll most likely agree that a few extra minutes in diligent oral care every day is worth the extra time and effort. When your braces come off, you won’t just have a straight smile but a fresh and healthy one, too!

When you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, say, if you’re eating out and don’t have your toothbrush handy, we suggest at least a few thorough swishes of water to help remove food debris and sugar. Rinsing your mouth with water will also help your mouth go back to a pH level that’s less hospitable to the bad bacteria that can turn into plaque.

Wear your elastics

The elastics that Dr. Patel will give you are a must to get braces off faster. Be sure to follow the instructions you’re given for wearing them — these elastics play a big role in aligning your teeth. Only take them out when eating and make it a habit to check you’ve got them in before you turn in for the night. 

So elastics are in… but what’s out? If you’re prone to chewing on the end of pens or pencils, or you’re a nailbiter, now would be the time to quit. Chewing on these could damage your braces. As we mentioned earlier, that’s not something you want when your goal is to get braces off faster.

Go to all your appointments!

Now, you might think your braces treatment is coming along nicely and you can skip a check-up or two to the Brace Place. However, only an orthodontist can properly assess your progress. If Dr. Patel hasn’t seen your teeth at the prescribed times, this might extend your orthodontic treatment. You could be wearing those metal braces or clear braces for a little while longer instead of the faster braces you were hoping for.

We can’t forget to mention that seeing your dentist twice a year is also important. As mentioned previously, your oral health does affect your braces treatment, and who doesn’t want both a healthy and beautiful smile?

Be gentle on your teeth

Your teeth and gums are working really hard during the straightening process. In essence, your braces are stretching ligaments on one side of the teeth roots which results in compressed ligaments on the other side. This stretched ligaments/compressed ligaments scenario signals osteoblasts to create bone tissue in the space created on the stretched side, while osteoclasts go about breaking down tissue on the compressed side. So it’s recommended you take it easy on your mouth and teeth. 

Try to break any habits that put extra stress or pressure on your teeth like teeth grinding or clenching your jaw. Use over-the-counter pain relief if you’re feeling discomfort — especially after an adjustment. And if you play sports, be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from accidents that could prevent you from your goal to get braces off faster.

It’s safe to say that there’s no shortcut with braces. But following these tips for how to get braces off faster can help towards revealing your brand new smile quicker. If you have more questions about getting braces off faster or are still asking yourself, “How long do braces last?” Dr. Patel and the team at The Brace Place are happy to help. Contact us at our Tulsa or Claremore offices, or book a virtual appointment.

What-is-an-orthodontic-expander

What is an Orthodontic Expander & When is it Necessary?

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When your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist recommends an orthodontic expander for your elementary school-aged child, you might have a few questions before moving forward with it. “What exactly is an orthodontic expander?” You might ask. “What does it do?” and “When do they need it?”

Before we get into the answers, let’s take a step back. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) suggests seven years-old is a great time to take your child for an initial orthodontic visit. By age seven, children typically have some of their adult teeth and their bite is beginning to take shape. At this point, a certified orthodontist like Dr. Patel can see any potential orthodontic issues and assess if your child will benefit from early orthodontic treatment like an expander.

So What is an Orthodontic Expander?

An orthodontic expander is an appliance that gradually widens your child’s jaw and palate, allowing room for their adult teeth to grow in normally or to correct jaw misalignment. Every orthodontic expander is custom-made to fit a child’s natural palate. 

At The Brace Place, we typically suggest a palatal expander in early orthodontic treatment when your child’s upper jaw needs widening. Depending on your child’s orthodontic issues, your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist, Dr. Patel, will suggest either a removable or fixed expander that is made up of two halves connected by a tiny screw in the middle.

How Does a Palatal Expander Work?

A palatal expander applies gradual pressure to widen the space in your child’s mouth over a 3-12 month period. It’s attached to the upper jaw against the palate and held in place with wires around the molars. Here, we’ll explain how it works:

Orthodontic Palatal Expander

Often, parents’ first question is how to tighten an expander. You simply use a special key to turn the small screw in the center of the palatal expander every day. Activating the screw pushes the palatal expander outward incrementally, less than one millimeter a day. Did you know that the right and left sides of a child’s upper jaw develop as two halves? These two bones — called maxillary bones — don’t fuse together until around or after puberty. So a palatal expander is essentially widening the two sides independently.

Once your orthodontist sees that your child’s jaw has widened the correct amount, the ortho expander will stay in for a few months more so that new bone can develop in the gap and stabilize the expansion.

When Is An Orthodontic Expander Needed?

Dr. Patel might suggest a palatal expander if your child has severe crowding, a crossbite or impacted teeth that look as if they’ll worsen as your child develops.

Crowding: If your child’s teeth are crowding even before all their adult teeth have erupted, widening their jaw with an expander might lessen the need for tooth extractions or braces later on. Crowding also affects how well your child can brush and floss their teeth.

Crossbite: A crossbite is when upper teeth misalign, sitting inside lower teeth because the upper jaw is too narrow. A palatal expander widens your child’s jaw, stacking the top and bottom teeth correctly.

Impacted Teeth: Sometimes an adult tooth hasn’t come in yet because its spot is blocked by other teeth. Widening the upper jaw can open up space for the impacted tooth to erupt on its own into its designated spot. 

Orthodontic Expander Pros and Cons:

We know that early orthodontic treatment like an ortho expander can be a big decision. We can also agree that we’re more used to seeing teens going through orthodontic care than younger children. But rest assured, at The Brace Place we follow the AAO’s suggestion of delaying treatment when issues are mild and only suggest early orthodontic treatment when absolutely necessary. Here are some pros and cons of orthodontic expander treatment to think about:

Pros:

  • Shortens the time your child will need braces later on
  • Lessens the need for tooth removals
  • Creates room for emerging adult teeth
  • Straighter teeth and aligned jaws means more effective brushing and flossing
  • A more aesthetically pleasing smile and improves confidence
  • Improves your child’s breathing
  • Improves chewing and eating

Cons:

  • It takes some time for your child to get used to eating with the expander
  • It can initially affect how your child speaks 
  • Children aren’t always keen on the extra cleaning needed for their expander
  • An expander can cause some tenderness when adjusted, though this goes away quickly

Ways You Can Help Your Child Get Used To Their Expander

Understandably, an orthodontic expander can feel like an overwhelming experience for a child. We at The Brace Place want to share a few suggestions for how you can make the transition more comfortable:

Offer some expander-friendly foods: Make the first few days of expander-wearing more fun and easy when it comes to foods. Soft foods like yogurt, smoothies, soup, or mashed potatoes will help, versus foods that need a lot of chewing.

Be ready to soothe discomfort: Because they’re not used to their expander, your child might feel pressure or discomfort on their teeth or palate at the beginning. Sometimes children also feel pressure in their nose or mouth when the orthodontic expander is placed or activated. Over-the-counter pain relief helps. Cold treats can make your child feel more comfortable and lift their mood.

Help your child with their oral hygiene: Has your child been brushing and flossing on their own these past few years? Now is a good time to get involved again. Show your child how to clean their teeth and expander and help them get used to the extra care and time it takes.

Keep us in-the-loop: Though problems with orthodontic expanders are rare, please contact us at our Tulsa or Claremore office if you have any concerns or questions about your child’s expander. If you see a gap growing in your child’s top front teeth, don’t be alarmed, this is normal and is a sign that your child’s palate is expanding. This can then be corrected with braces in the teen years.

Your Child’s Smile is Our Priority

At The Brace Place, we believe every child deserves a chance at a healthy, confident smile. If an orthodontic expander is recommended for your child, Dr. Patel has 20 years of orthodontic experience helping children successfully navigate early orthodontic treatment. Contact us today to book your free, initial early orthodontic consultation at our Tulsa or Claremore offices.