Did you know there is a direct correlation between your bite and your overall health? When your teeth and jaws are not properly-aligned, it may affect your breathing, speech, and, in extreme cases, even affect the appearance of your face. As a result of malocclusion, also commonly referred to as “bad bite,” your teeth may become crooked, worn or protruded over time. Most people experience some degree of malocclusion, but it is generally not severe enough to require corrective measures. If your malocclusion is serious enough, however, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct the issue.
Malocclusion may also be referred to as an underbite, crossbite or overbite. So, what, exactly, is the difference between the three?
· Crossbites, which can involve a single tooth or a group of teeth, occur when your upper and lower jaws are both misaligned, and usually causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth. Crossbites can happen on both the front and/or the sides of the mouth, and are known to cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.
· Overbites, also known as “overjet,” occurs when your upper teeth overlap considerably with the lower teeth. Overbites can lead to gum issues or irritation and even wear on the lower teeth, and are known to cause painful jaw and joint problems. Overbites can usually be traced to genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth.
· Underbites, which occur when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth, are caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. Underbites can also be caused by missing upper teeth, which can prevent the normal function of front teeth (molars). This in turn leads to tooth wear and pain in your joints and jaw.
Fortunately, we are able to treat bite problems. If you suspect you or your child has a bite misalignment, we encourage you to be examined at our office as early as possible. By starting early, you can make sure you or your child avoid years of pain and self-consciousness.