A healthy bite is important at any age! Malocclusion, or an improper bite, can lead to gum disease and create abnormal amounts of stress on the teeth and jaws, causing uneven wear of the teeth, pain and pressure. Unfortunately, teeth don’t straighten out on their own and malocclusion will get worse over time, adversely affecting your overall health. That’s where your orthodontist comes in. An orthodontist like Dr. Patel can evaluate your bite and let you know if you can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Schedule your free consultation online or by calling us at (918) 749-8817 (Tulsa) or (918) 342-1240 (Claremore) or keep reading to find out about the most common orthodontic problems.
Commonly the result of thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, an open bite is when you can actually stick your tongue between your teeth while biting down. An open bite isn’t solely a cosmetic problem, it can also cause issues with chewing.
Spacing is when there’s too much room between the teeth. This can occur if teeth are missing or too small or the dental arch is wide. The most common complaint from patients with spacing is about the cosmetic appearance.
An overbite, or deep bite, is when the front teeth are too far in front of the bottom teeth. An excessive overbite leads to the wearing down of the teeth and may even cause the bottom teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.
In the case of an underbite, the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw, which causes the bottom teeth to sit in front of the top teeth. It’s best to diagnose the problem early.
Crowding is the opposite of spacing and is caused when there just isn’t enough room in the mouth for all of the teeth. It worsens over the years as one tooth pushes over the other, leading to overlapping teeth. Crowded teeth are harder to clean than straight ones, which can increase the risk of cavities and gum disease. Crowding can often be treated by expansion and then braces or Invisalign to avoid extractions.
When the upper front teeth stick out too far forward or the lower teeth don’t extend enough, it’s called protrusion. Because of the abnormal contact between the top and bottom front teeth, it may lead to injury of the bottom teeth. It can be due to uneven jaw growth and creates a poor bite. Protrusion can also be caused by thumb and finger sucking.
In a perfectly aligned face, you could draw a straight line from the bridge of the nose to the middle of the bottom teeth. If that’s not the case, and the bottom teeth and top teeth aren’t aligned, then your midlines are off. The midlines may be off if either the teeth have drifted or the lower jaw has shifted to one side, leading to an improper bite.
With a crossbite, the back upper teeth sit on the inside of the back lower teeth. A crossbite causes tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth.