You may not realize it, but how your teeth line up can have a direct impact on your oral and digestive health. If you ask your dentist, they’ll tell you severe irregularities in your bite (known as malocclusion, in industry jargon) can result in an inability of your teeth to perform vital functions.
Unfortunately, your bite is typically an inherited trait. If a bad bite runs in your family, you might be affected as well. However there are other physical factors that can contribute to misaligned teeth, such as:
- Frequent use of a pacifier or thumb sucking after age of three
- Injuries resulting in a misaligned jaw
- Abnormal or impacted teeth
Most people have some form of malocclusion, but it might not be debilitating enough to merit treatment. For severe cases, there are a number of orthodontic treatments available through your dentist that can correct most problems. Some of the most common procedures include traditional and Invisalign braces.
An overbite happens when your upper front teeth overlap your bottom front teeth. The degree of an overbite can vary considerably—from shallow to deep. Like any form of misalignment, it kind can lead to oral health problems and other issues such as:
- Discomfort when chewing
- Accelerated wearing of teeth
- Gum irritation
- Sore jaw
- Speech impediments
- Alteration of facial appearance
- Breathing problems
An underbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude past the upper front teeth. If you’ve ever seen an English bulldog, you get the idea. This condition is usually caused by:
- Undergrowth of the upper jaw
- Overgrowth of the lower jaw
- A combination of both
In particular, an underbite can lead to premature tooth wear and can cause pain in your jaw.
A crossbite happens when an upper tooth (or group of upper teeth) bites on the inside of the lower teeth, either on the front and/or sides. The main cause of this type of misalignment is a narrow upper jaw.
EARLY DETECTION AND TREATMENT IS BEST
As mentioned, if left untreated, malocclusion can cause pain and other difficulties. This is not a condition that will improve on its own. If anything, the symptoms typically worsen over time.
In many cases, this condition can be successfully treated with braces. In other instances, it might require:
- Tooth extraction to correct overcrowding
- Reshaping teeth
- Surgery to shorten or reshape the jawbone
To save yourself (or those in your family) years of discomfort, it’s advisable that you seek the advice of your Kelowna dentist. By getting a head start, you can correct issues in a manner that’s minimally invasive.
Whether you’re visiting us for cosmetic or general dentistry, we provide a comfortable experience with results that will last. Contact us to book an appointment today!