Common Bite Problems (and how to fix them)
Orthodontic treatment is a specialized area of dentistry that aims to correct malocclusions, or bite problems. These bite problems occur when the teeth and jaws are not properly aligned, leading to a range of issues that can affect a person’s oral health and overall quality of life. In this essay, we will discuss some of the most common bite problems and how orthodontic treatment can help.
An overbite, also known as a deep bite, is a condition where the upper teeth protrude too far forward over the lower teeth. This can be caused by genetics, thumb sucking, or excessive pacifier use during childhood. In severe cases, an overbite can cause issues such as speech impediments, difficulty biting and chewing, and jaw pain.
Orthodontic treatment for an overbite typically involves braces or clear aligners to gradually move the teeth into their proper position. In some cases, orthodontic appliances such as headgear or elastics may also be used to help correct the bite.
An underbite is the opposite of an overbite, where the lower teeth protrude forward past the upper teeth. This can be caused by genetics, thumb sucking, or tongue thrusting. An underbite can cause issues such as difficulty speaking, eating, and biting, as well as jaw pain and headaches.
Orthodontic treatment for an underbite may involve braces or clear aligners, as well as orthodontic appliances such as headgear or elastics. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying skeletal issues causing the underbite.
A crossbite occurs when some of the upper teeth are positioned inside the lower teeth when biting down. This can cause issues such as uneven wear on the teeth, gum disease, and jaw pain. Orthodontic treatment for a crossbite may involve braces or clear aligners, as well as orthodontic appliances such as palatal expanders to widen the upper jaw and create more space for the teeth.
An open bite is a condition where the upper and lower teeth do not meet when biting down, leaving a gap between the two sets of teeth. This can be caused by thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or prolonged pacifier use. An open bite can cause issues such as difficulty biting and chewing, speech impediments, and jaw pain.
Orthodontic treatment for an open bite may involve braces or clear aligners, as well as orthodontic appliances such as a bite plate or tongue crib to help stop harmful oral habits.
Crowding occurs when there is not enough space in the jaw to accommodate all of the teeth, causing them to overlap and become crooked. This can be caused by genetics, early loss of baby teeth, or poor dental hygiene. Crowding can cause issues such as difficulty cleaning the teeth, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Orthodontic treatment for crowding may involve braces or clear aligners to gradually shift the teeth into the proper position. In some cases, teeth may need to be extracted to create more space in the jaw.
Spacing is the opposite of crowding, where there is too much space between the teeth. This can be caused by genetics or early loss of baby teeth. Spacing can cause issues such as difficulty biting and chewing, speech impediments, and low self-esteem.
Orthodontic treatment for spacing may involve braces or clear aligners to gradually move the teeth closer together. In some cases, orthodontic appliances such as a space maintainer may also be used to prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting and filling in the gaps.
Orthodontic treatment can help correct a range of bite problems and improve a person’s oral health and overall quality of life.
Treatment Options An orthodontist is a dental specialist who is trained to diagnose and treat problems related to the alignment of teeth and jaws. When it comes to fixing bite problems, an orthodontist will first conduct a thorough examination of the patient's teeth, jaw, and facial structure to determine the nature and extent of the problem.
Depending on the specific issue, Dr. Bloom may use one or more of the following treatment methods to correct a patient's bite:
Braces: Traditional braces are a common treatment option for bite problems. Braces consist of brackets that are attached to each tooth and connected by wires. The orthodontist will adjust the tension of the wires over time to gradually shift the teeth into the proper position. Braces are often used to correct overbite, underbite, crossbite, and other bite issues.
Palatal expanders: A palatal expander is a device that is used to widen the upper jaw. This can be an effective treatment for crossbite, which occurs when the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth when the jaws are closed.
Elastics (rubber bands): Elastics are used in conjunction with braces or Invisalign to move all the teeth simultaneously until they are lined up correctly.
Clear aligners: Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are a popular alternative to traditional braces. They work in a similar way, gradually shifting the teeth into the proper position, but are made of clear plastic and are nearly invisible when worn.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct more severe bite problems that cannot be fixed with orthodontic appliances alone. This may include procedures such as jaw surgery to reposition the upper or lower jaw, or tooth extraction to create more space in the mouth.
Orthodontic treatment typically lasts several months to several years, depending on the severity of the bite problem and the treatment method used. During this time, patients will need to visit their orthodontist regularly for adjustments and check-ups to ensure that the treatment is progressing as planned.
It is important to note that orthodontic treatment is not just about improving the appearance of the teeth, but also about improving the function of the bite. By correcting bite problems, orthodontic treatment can help to alleviate a range of issues, including difficulty chewing, speech problems, and jaw pain.
If you are experiencing bite problems, it is important to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bloom to determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. With the right treatment, an orthodontist can help to improve your bite, alleviate discomfort, and improve your overall oral health and quality of life.