There’s no doubt that crooked teeth affect your appearance, which is what brings many patients to Glow Orthodontics for treatment. We love making your smile beautiful, but we’re also thrilled to correct crooked teeth because a bad bite affects much more than your looks. A bad bite increases your risk of dental problems, gum disease, and even jaw disorders.
What it means to have a bad bite
Having a bad bite, called malocclusion in dental terms, means that your teeth don’t fit together properly when you bite down. There are many different types of bad bites and different dental reasons why your bite can be off, including:
Crowded teeth or too few teeth
Having crowded teeth means you have too many teeth to fit the size of your jaw. Inevitably, some teeth push others out of the way, creating crooked teeth and a bad bite. Some patients have the opposite problem: They’re born without the full number of teeth. As a result, they have spaces that allow teeth to move out of alignment.
When you bite down, your upper and lower teeth should fit together perfectly. This means your upper front teeth slightly cover your bottom front teeth, and your molars fit together like puzzle pieces. You have a crossbite when one or more upper teeth don’t close properly over your lower teeth.
Overbite and underbite
An overbite occurs when your upper teeth are too far forward in relation to your lower teeth. A small amount of overbite is normal, but when it’s too severe, it causes malocclusion. An underbite is the opposite, with your lower teeth are in front of your upper teeth.
You have an open bite when there’s an opening between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth bite together.
Reasons you may develop a bad bite
A bad bite can be an inherited trait that affects the growth and size of your jaw. For example, the upper and lower jaws may grow unevenly, so one is longer than the other. It’s also interesting to know that your tongue posture may lead to a bad bite. When the tongue persistently presses against teeth, it can make the teeth move out of position.
Beyond genetics, tooth loss and gum disease cause malocclusion. Problems that are well-known for causing a bad bite in children include thumb-sucking, using a pacifier, and mouth-breathing.
How a bad bite affects your oral health
Even if your bad bite seems like a small problem from the perspective of how it affects your appearance, it can still lead to dental problems. A misaligned bite causes stress in your mouth, leading to oral health issues such as:
Tooth decay and gum disease
Misaligned teeth often create tight spaces that easily collect food. These spaces are also hard to reach when you brush. Depending on the type of malocclusion, your brushing may miss teeth that face in a different direction from the other teeth. Protruding teeth may block your brush from reaching the nearby teeth. Even when you’re diligent about your oral hygiene, malocclusion increases your risk for cavities, plaque, and gum disease.
Abnormal wear-and-tear leading to tooth injury
When your teeth are properly aligned, the points of each molar should fit into the grooves of the opposite molar. This precise fit spreads pressure from chewing and biting equally over all the teeth, which minimizes stress on their enamel.
The muscles that control opening and closing your mouth are incredibly strong and are capable of generating a lot of pressure. When your chew, your molars exert the equivalent of 150 pounds of pressure. However, that’s normal, and your teeth are designed to withstand the pressure.
Problems arise when you have a bad bite because the pressure becomes uneven. Some teeth undergo little pressure, while others must stand up to significantly more stress every time you bite down. Over time, this leads to extreme wear-and-tear on the affected teeth.
Uneven pressure frequently causes loose teeth and chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. Like a domino effect, one change causes another. Damaged teeth may lead to cavities and infections inside the tooth root.
The stress also affects your jaw bones and their supporting ligaments and muscles, leading to problems like chronic headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and jaw problems such as temporomandibular joint disorder.
The team at Glow Orthodontics specializes in treating bad bites in children and adults using one of several options, from oral appliances and headgear to traditional braces and Invisalign®. Some adults are good candidates for accelerated orthodontics, which can help your teeth move 50% faster compared to braces and aligners. To learn more about your options, call the office, or book an appointment online.