Biting into the bigger issue for orthodontics!
A lot of people think the only issue to fix with orthodontic treatment is the straightness of their teeth. However, this is only one component. Even people who have straight teeth might still need orthodontic treatment. Along with crowding and spacing, orthodontic treatment like braces and Invisalign are also necessary to help correct bite issues. It is important to ensure the top and bottom jaws line up correctly. There are different types of bite issues which include an overbite, underbite, open bite, and crossbite.
An overbite is when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth causing malocclusion. This is called a Class II bite. It is not just a cosmetic issue but can lead to medical problems in adulthood. Overbites are very common and are present in 70% of children, according to the American Dental Association. Overbites can be hereditary or caused by jawbones that are misaligned, or jawbones that do not develop or grow evenly. Overbites are best corrected earlier in life. It is easier to correct while a child is still growing to correct jaw growth and position (around age 11-13 years old).
An underbite is when the lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth. This is called a Class III bite. This occurs typically when the lower jaw grows more than the upper jaw.
An open bite is when there is a gap between the front teeth, so they do not touch. Open bites can be caused by thumb or pacifier sucking, tongue thrusting, or influenced by genetics.
A crossbite is when the upper teeth fit inside of the lower teeth. This misalignment can affect a single tooth or groups of teeth, involving the front teeth (anterior crossbite), back teeth (posterior), or both. The most common way of treating a crossbite is the use of a palatal expander, which is best done around age 7 years old.
Bite issues can lead to enamel wear, tooth chipping or fracturing, and gum or bone loss over time if not corrected. The tension from misaligned teeth can also lead to jaw pain and even headaches. The teeth are not in an ideal position, and it is important to have the bite corrected. All of these bite issues can be fixed with braces and Invisalign.
As an adult, it is more difficult to correct bite issues completely. It is possible to get improvement, but sometimes to fully correct the bite in adults, or in more severe cases, jaw surgery is necessary since it is a jaw and skeletal issue. Even as a child, if cases are more severe, jaw surgery is the only option to fully correct the bite.
It is necessary to see an orthodontist to evaluate your bite to ensure it is in a healthy, stable position. If you are unsure of your bite and whether braces or Invisalign would work for you, book a free consultation today at VCO Orthodontics in Arlington so we can check out your bite!