Your bite refers to the way that your lower and upper teeth fit together. To have a healthy bite, your upper teeth should fit just over your lower teeth. In addition, the cusps of your bottom molars should fit comfortably against the top molars.
If you have misaligned teeth, your bite may be off, which can cause a range of symptoms, such as jaw soreness, tooth pain, and unnecessary wear and tear on your teeth and gums. Even if you are not currently experiencing the side effects of a ‘bad bite,’ it is a good idea to have your bite accessed and possibly corrected to prevent future oral health problems.
Malocclusion and Your Oral Health
Malocclusion means that your teeth are not properly aligned. While there are many reasons why you could have misaligned teeth, the most common reasons are genetics. This can mean a difference in the size of your teeth or jaw, lost teeth, impacted teeth, extra teeth, birth defect, injury or mouth tumor. It can also be caused by dentistry issue such as poorly fitted crowns, or childhood habit like extended thumb sucking or pacifier use.
There are three main types of malocclusion which are determined by the positioning of the upper and lower jaws and teeth. These three types include:
- Class 1 Malocclusion: Your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth slightly.
- Class 2 Malocclusion: Your upper teeth and jaw heavily overlap the lower teeth and jaw. Otherwise known as an overbite.
- Class 3 Malocclusion: Your lower teeth and jaw heavily overlap the upper teeth and jaw. Otherwise known as an underbite.
Importance of Having a Normal Bite
Depending on the severity of your malocclusion, your daily life could be impacted. Some people with severe malocclusions have difficulty speaking or chewing and may experience some pain or discomfort while performing these activities. If your misalignment is caused by crowding in the mouth, you may have difficulty keeping your teeth clean, resulting in more frequent cavities and possible gum disease.
Having a normal bite is also important for other reasons. In serious cases of malocclusion, a person may experience teeth grinding, difficulty breathing, or an abnormal facial appearance. When the jaw and teeth are positioned in an abnormal way, it can also cause a person to develop a lisp. With a normal bite, the teeth are easier to clean, resulting in a reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease. There is also less strain on the jaws and muscles in the face.
Treating Malocclusion for Good Oral Health
Some people who have mild malocclusion may not need any treatment at all. However, in cases where a dental misalignment is more severe, your dentist may recommend treatment to correct your bite. There are several viable treatment options that can be used to create a normal bite.
The most common treatment for a bite misalignment is braces or clear aligners. Orthodontics are highly effective in aligning and straightening teeth, which can help a person achieve a normal bite. They can also be used to fix gaps and can improve your overall dental health.
If the cause of your misalignment is caused by overcrowding, your dentist may recommend the removal of certain teeth. This is usually done when a person is younger and before all of their adult teeth erupt. In some cases, bonding, reshaping, or capping of teeth can help correct a misalignment. In rare situations, surgery may be needed to shorten or reshape the jaw.
Correcting Your Bite At Bonham Dental Arts
While braces are a go-to treatment option when your bite is affecting your oral health, many teens and adults forgo traditional braces due to their appearance. If you want to avoid the look of metal braces, Invisalign may be your best option. At Bonham Dental Arts, we now offer “invisible” braces that can straighten teeth with comfort and precision. This clear alternative to metal braces is suitable for kids, teens, and adults. To learn more about Invisalign or for help achieving better dental health and wellness, reach out to the dental professionals at Bonham Dental Arts in Largo, FL today.