While regular brushing and flossing can help prevent cavities and gum disease, even children with the most adept dental hygiene habits may need to make a trip to the orthodontist for braces or aligners. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, there are approximately 4 million Americans currently wearing braces, 75% of whom are children…
Ask an Orthodontist: Do I Have a Bad Bite?
If you have ever considered visiting an orthodontist, it may be because you do not have a good bite. There are many issues that a bad bite can cause for you. For example, it can cause pain while chewing. It can also damage your teeth over time. It is important to understand the different types of bites there are.
Types of bad bites
A bad bite is when the upper teeth do not properly meet the lower teeth when the patient bites down. If a patient never had orthodontic treatment, the bite may simply be a result of how the teeth grew in. For other patients, a bad bite can be a result of not wearing a retainer often enough. Sometimes, grinding the teeth can cause a poor bite.
One type of bad bite is an overbite. This is where the patient’s upper front teeth protrude too far over the lower teeth. According to an orthodontist, a true overbite happens when the teeth protrude by 30% to 50%. The location of the lower jaw can contribute to an overbite. An orthodontist can usually fix this by bringing the lower jaw forward with appliances.
An underbite can be considered the opposite of an overbite. In an underbite, the lower teeth extend further than the upper teeth. From the side, a patient who has an underbite appears to have a protruding jaw. Thumb-sucking is one potential cause of an underbite.
A crossbite happens when the lower teeth appear to be slightly to the side of the upper teeth. Both jaw and tooth position can cause a crossbite. Sometimes, an orthodontist can use clear aligners or braces to fix a crossbite. However, in other cases, a patient may need jaw surgery.
An open bite is less common than the first three types of bites. In this type of bite, the lower and upper teeth point outward. When the patient’s mouth is closed, these teeth do not align. Often, tongue thrusting contributes to an open bite. This means that the tongue is pushing between the teeth and pushing them apart.
Symptoms of a poor bite
Not every type of bad bite will cause these symptoms. However, patients who notice any of these symptoms should visit an orthodontist for an evaluation. Sometimes, poorly aligned teeth can cause jaw pain. The jaw suffers from overuse as the patient tries to bite down while eating.
The jaw may also click or pop. Sometimes, a poor bite can cause speech problems because the jaw and teeth cannot properly form words. Misalignment can also cause the patient to bite the tongue or inner cheeks.
Visit an orthodontist today
The only way to tell if your bite is misaligned is to visit an orthodontist. An orthodontist can perform an oral examination and take X-rays. This can help the orthodontist determine the right treatment for you. Generally, braces can help treat a poor bite. However, sometimes, surgery may be needed.
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