November is finally here, bringing with it changing seasons and a time of giving thanks for the things that make our lives better. Nine in 10 people in the U.S. have some type of malocclusion (overbites, underbites, crossbites, protruding teeth, etc.), and for these people, the malocclusion can impede their ability to chew and speak properly. Fortunately, there are orthodontic treatments that can change these conditions for a healthier, more appealing smile!
If your mouth suffers from crooked, crowded or even protruding teeth, it does not just affect your appearance. Poor alignment can make it harder to clean your teeth, allowing bacteria to build up into harmful plaque, premature wear and tear on your teeth, and even trouble chewing properly, leading to poor nutrition. Bite force pressure does not just affect your teeth either; your gums can pull away from your teeth, known as gum recession. Do you have one of these malocclusions?
Types of Malocclusions
Crooked Teeth: Your teeth can become crooked when they are crowded, misaligned and even gapped. This can make brushing and flossing harder than ever, leaving you more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.
Gapped Teeth: Teeth should have very little spacing between them. Lost teeth leave behind gaps that allow teeth to shift unless replaced with a dental restoration.
Crowded Teeth: If your teeth are crowded, this can lead to problems with adult teeth coming in correctly, and if they overlap, they can be hard to clean and can mess up your alignment and bite.
Protruding Teeth: Teeth that stick out instead of pointing down normally adversely affect the ability to speak clearly.
Overbite: Normal upper teeth often overlap a bit, which is fine. But if the overlap is severe, the overbite will need fixing.
Underbite: This happens when the front bottom teeth cover the upper row of teeth when you closed your mouth.
Open Bite: When you close your mouth and your upper teeth do not overlap your bottom row of teeth, this can leave you with a visible gap between the upper and lower rows of your incisors and canines.
Impacted Teeth: This happens when a tooth does not fully erupt or come through properly, and, if it is crooked, leads to its neighboring teeth becoming misaligned.
Why Fix Malocclusions
You might have trouble speaking clearly. Our teeth work with our tongue and lips to maintain proper airflow when we are speaking. For example, some sounds require having the tongue touch the teeth in a certain type of way. Malocclusions can lead to a lisp. Or you might experience jaw pain if your temporomandibular joints are damaged from TMJ disorder. This leads to bruxism while you sleep (clenching the jaw and grinding your teeth), trouble sleeping and even painful eating. Headaches and daytime fatigue also stem from TMJ issues.
Schedule a Consultation
A physical examination, using digital imaging or X-rays, along with looking at your symptoms will help us diagnose your malocclusions so proper treatment can be recommended. You may be able to wear clear aligners to fix certain types of malocclusions, but most often, traditional orthodontics, like braces, are highly effective for optimal results.
We welcome you to give us a call if you are experiencing malocclusions, speech issues or even trouble chewing. We are happy to provide a consultation and recommended treatment plan. Our goal is to help you get your oral health back on track, along with your smile’s appearance and self-confidence! Those are great goals to be thankful for!