Most people visit their orthodontist when they want to fix their crooked or misaligned teeth. However, a trip to the orthodontist can also help fix bite problems, which can lead to trouble chewing food and also affect your speech.
How your orthodontist can help with bite problems
Bite problems, also known as malocclusions, occur when your upper and lower teeth are not properly aligned. If you have a perfect bite, your upper teeth will rest slightly in front of your lower teeth when your mouth is closed.
If you have a bite problem, the space between your upper and lower teeth will be significantly larger, and the bite problem can lead to other health problems. Bite problems can also be genetic. If your parents or grandparents have bite problems, your odds of having bite problems increase. You will need to visit your orthodontist to correct the problem.
What are the different types of bite problems?
This is when your upper teeth extend beyond your lower teeth when your mouth is closed. The distance between your upper teeth and lower teeth can range from three millimeters to 10 millimeters.
These bites occur when lower teeth extend past your upper teeth when your mouth is closed. Severe underbite can affect the appearance and shape of your face and affect your speech.
A crossbite happens when some of your upper teeth are sitting on the inside of your lower teeth or close to your tongue. They can also sit on the outside of the lower teeth, close to your cheek. People with crossbites have difficulty chewing food and are at increased risk of losing teeth.
Diagnosing bite problems
An orthodontist usually checks for signs of malocclusion during routine dental examinations and will then sit down with you to go over your treatment options. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends taking children to an orthodontist for a checkup by the time they are 7 years old. At this age, it is easier to diagnose and treat a misaligned bite than it is when the patient is an adult.
If you have a mild case of malocclusion, you likely will not need treatment. However, if your case is severe, your orthodontist will recommend any of the following treatment options:
- Braces to straighten the upper and lower teeth and align them
- Teeth removal if your bad bite is caused by crowding
- Dental crowns to reshape your teeth
- Wires and expanders to stabilize the bone in your jaw
- Surgery to reshape your jaw
Even though these treatment options will fix your bite, they can also lead to other dental problems. You might have some mild to moderate tooth pain or irritation after treatment. Your mouth needs time to adjust to the appliances, and it is not uncommon to have soreness. Certain devices will affect the way you eat and speak, but you will get used to them with time.
We can fix your bite problems
Malocclusion affects the way you eat and speak. It can be very painful in severe cases. If you think you have a bite problem, schedule an appointment with our office to speak with an orthodontist. At your first appointment, we can explain the treatment process and answer any questions.
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