Most people generally think of getting straight teeth when they think of orthodontics, but there’s a lot more to orthodontic treatment than just appearance. Getting braces or clear aligners can help all aspects of your teeth, including the way you bite down. To get a better understanding of how this works, it helps to understand how each type of bite affects your smile.
What a Healthy Bite Looks Like
First, let’s go over what happens when your bite is healthy. Ideally, the upper jaw should be decently bigger than the lower jaw. This allows the top teeth to casually rest on top of the lower teeth. A healthy bite should also have the upper jaw positioned slightly forward, with the front teeth neatly fitting over the bottom teeth, showing some of the lower teeth while relaxed. Each of the molars should also be at the same level so they all are subject to an even amount of pressure while biting down.
Underbites Are Common
An underbite is a common problem for many people. It happens when the lower jaw is positioned too far forward relative to the upper jaw. Often, people with underbites struggle to bite down comfortably because their front teeth are coming in contact when they shouldn’t be. In severe cases, the lower jaw can even sit in front of the upper jaw. Not only does this cause insecurity in many people, but it can also lead to discomfort, difficulties chewing and swallowing, and speech impediments. The contact between the front teeth of the upper and lower jaws can also wear down teeth.
Overbites May Result in Buck Teeth
As you might be able to guess, an overbite is the opposite of an underbite. It happens when the upper jaw rests too far forward, often causing the top front teeth to cover the lower front teeth entirely or giving the person buck teeth. This positioning of the jaw can cause excessive pressure when biting down, leading to tooth decay, headaches, and sometimes sleep apnea. This bite problem is also associated with eating and speaking difficulties.
This bite problem has to do with the positioning of the molars. As mentioned before, the upper jaw should be bigger than the lower jaw. A crossbite happens when the upper jaw either fits all the way over the lower jaw or when the lower jaw fits over the upper jaw. This problem can cause severe difficulties with eating due to not being able to apply the right amount of pressure on food. Crossbites also lead to tooth decay, speech problems, and headaches. People with crossbites often have irregularly shaped faces even while not smiling.
How to Treat Bite Problems
When you get orthodontic treatment, you can correct underbite and overbite issues by getting interarch bands. These bands pull your jaw into correct alignment as your teeth are straightened. For issues like crossbites, kids can often get early orthodontic treatment to correct their jaw shape, which makes later treatment easier. Other times, surgical intervention may be necessary.
To learn more about how to treat your bite problems and to see if orthodontic treatment could be right for you, contact Crescent Orthodontic Specialists today!