In an ideal world we’d all be born with perfectly aligned teeth and dazzling smiles. The reality is that a vast majority of us have issues like underbites and overbites and crowded teeth.
Fortunately, over the past couple decades the orthodontics landscape has changed dramatically. Parents who once suffered with metal mouth and headgear in their youth are now raising children who seem to have a plethora of treatment options to straighten their teeth — even ones that are nearly visible.
In this blog, our own Dr. Pendleton offers a primer on common bite problems and how to address them.
Why proper teeth alignment is important
A great place to start this discussion is to explain why proper teeth alignment is important in the first place. Although it’s true that perfectly straight teeth are pleasing to the eye, having a proper bite is so much more than that.
An aligned bite allows you to chew your food properly while enhancing your ability to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Adversely, when you suffer from bite issues it may also contribute to breathing issues or conditions like snoring, sleep apnea, or even the ability to speak clearly.
Common bite problems
Job one for an orthodontist is to carefully assess the situation and determine the severity so that he can present treatment options to his patient.
One of the most common bite issues that faces most patients is space-related. For many patients the issue is crowding — there’s simply not enough space to allow all the teeth to erupt. Not only does crowding wreak havoc to a smile, but also causes problems keeping your teeth clean.
Gaps and spacing issues
Another common bite issue happens when there’s too much space or gaps between teeth. Sometimes this is simply a matter of the teeth being oddly sized or sometimes the jaw size is the issue or it’s a combination of both.
Underbite and overbite
Underbites and overbites are another category of issues that patients are faced with. As its name suggests an underbite is characterized by lower teeth that overlap your upper teeth and an overbite does just the opposite with the upper jaw and front teeth overlapping the lower front teeth.
Sometimes baby teeth or bone misalignment causes another type of bite issue known as a crossbite. Here one or more upper teeth actually fit inside lower teeth. A crossbite can contribute to a variety of issues like jaw pain or TMJ as well as cause excessive wear on teeth enamel.
Conversely, an open bite prevents the top and bottom teeth from meeting at all leaving them stuck in an open position. An open bite happens due to issues with teeth alignment, jaw position, or a little bit of both.
Braces and Invisalign® address most bite issues
The good news is regardless of the type of bite problem you have there are numerous treatment options to fix your issue and give you the smile of your dreams. Here at Pendleton Orthodontics, we provide patients of all ages with a broad spectrum of the highest level of orthodontic care.
We continue to offer our patients traditional braces because we know they have a proven track record for being highly effective for addressing simple, moderate, and in many instances, complex bite maladies. We augment traditional braces with customization options for patient style preferences using a variety of different materials.
If patients prefer a more discrete orthodontic treatment option we also offer the most recognized brand of clear aligners in the industry, Invisalign. Both traditional braces and Invisalign tackle a majority of bite issues. Which one we go with depends on the severity of the condition we’re fixing, patient preference, and the patient’s ultimate orthodontic goal.
Expanders to address narrow jaws
Sometimes young children have bad bites due to an anomaly in the size of the jaw. For example, we may recommend a rapid palatal expander or RPE if a child’s bite issue is due to a small upper jaw. A RPE works by slowly stretching the width of the upper jaw.
Surgical orthodontics for jaw structure issues
Similarly when the issue goes well beyond simply realigning teeth, surgical orthodontics called orthognathic surgery is used as part of the treatment plan. Orthognathic surgery corrects or realigns severe skeletal issues that affect the shape of the face or jaw alignment. Combining orthognathic surgery with traditional braces or Invisalign enhances the ability to speak and chew upon completion of orthodontic treatment.
If you have bite issues and want to know how to fix it, book a consultation with the team at Pendleton Orthodontics. Request an appointment online, call us at 512-598-9942 or text us at 325-240-5640. You are one step away from getting the smile you’ve always dreamed about. Contact us today.