Misaligned bites, like overbites and underbites, can have serious consequences for your overall oral health. A misaligned bite happens when the upper arch and the lower arch don’t meet properly. While most folks consider bite alignment to be a cosmetic issue, very good reasons exist for treating it as a potential complication for your overall physical wellbeing. In this article, we’ll discuss bite misalignment, and how a dentist can help you manage it and prevent more serious problems down the road.
Understanding Misaligned Bites – Is a Misaligned Bite Unhealthy?
Misaligned bites can happen to an entire arch or only a few teeth. If the teeth are aligned imperfectly when the jaw is closed, the patient is diagnosed with malocclusion, and the dentist will recommend treatment.
Effects of a Misaligned Bite
Suffice it to say, your teeth should be aligned properly, and your body was built to function ideally with perfectly aligned teeth. Misalignment isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it affects your overall oral health as well. Those with alignment problems in their teeth are more likely to:
- Grind their teeth at night – Teeth grinding can result in enamel wear, jaw pain, and chronic disorders like TMJ. It can also cause micro-cracks in teeth which will later cause toothaches.
- Have chronic disorders like TMJ – Conditions related to the temporal-mandibular jawbone can create pain throughout the neck, back, shoulders, and head. Chronic headaches are not uncommon.
- Gum disease – Those with bite alignment problems could find themselves at greater risk of gum disease. Misaligned or poorly-space teeth make it easier for food particles to get stuck in between. The food particles turn into plaque and tartar becoming the perfect environment for bacteria. Eventually, the bacteria damage the gums, teeth, and even the jawbone.
- Aesthetic issues – Overbites and underbites can be unsightly resulting in self-esteem issues for young people later in life.
Treating a Misaligned Bite
Different dentists have different approaches concerning the best time to treat a misaligned bite. Some dentists will want to tackle the problem when the child is very young (three years old) while others will want to wait until the child’s 6-year molars come in. Regardless, the treatment options will remain the same:
- Dental restoration – Indicated for mild cases of bite misalignment. The dentist will reshape the teeth to ensure they align properly.
- Dental appliances – Dental appliances are used in more severe bite alignment cases. Braces, headgear, and palatal expanders can help maneuver the teeth into their proper positions.
- Tooth removal – People with small heads often have teeth that come in on top of one another. In some cases, removing a tooth can help fix a bite alignment problem.
- Surgery – If the condition is left untreated throughout childhood, surgery may be the only effective solution.
Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist Today
If you’re concerned about your or your child’s bite alignment problems, call the Flagstaff dentists at Peak Family Dental Care today to learn more about how we can help.