Your bite is a very important part of your oral health. In orthodontics, “bite” refers to the way upper and lower teeth come together. A bad bite, called a “malocclusion,” happens when teeth meet improperly, or they don’t meet at all. Although malocclusions could be of dental and/or skeletal in origin; adult malocclusions originate from two sources: first, malocclusions that occur during the period of occlusal development, which may worsen with increasing age, and second, as a result of the ongoing, age-related deterioration of the permanent dentition. While each individual bite problem is unique, there are seven broad types of bite problems that are common in children and adults:
A crossbite is a type of malocclusion, or a misalignment of teeth, where upper teeth fit inside of lower teeth. This misalignment can involve the front teeth, back teeth, or both. Cross bite can also be caused by misalignment of the bone.
Possible consequences if not corrected: The jaw shifts to one side; lopsided jaw growth; wearing down of outer layer of the tooth called “enamel”.
Types of Crossbite:
A. Anterior crossbite: If the front teeth are in crossbite, one or more top teeth sit behind the bottom teeth. Not to be confused with an underbite, when all the top teeth, or jaw, are behind the bottom teeth
When teeth are lined up correctly, the upper teeth are naturally wider because they lay on the outside of the bottom teeth.
Your bite is a very important part of your oral health. In orthodontics, “bite” refers to the way upper and lower teeth come together. A bad bite, called a “malocclusion,” happens when teeth meet improperly, or they don’t meet at all. While each individual bite problem is unique, there are seven broad types of bite problems that are common in children and adults:
B. Posterior crossbite: If the back teeth are affected, upper teeth sit inside of bottom teeth.
What causes a crossbite?
A crossbite can occur from genetics, delayed loss of baby teeth or abnormal eruption of permanent teeth, even prolonged actions like thumb sucking or swallowing in an abnormal way can generate damaging pressure. Teeth can be pushed out of place; bone can be distorted.
Why does crossbite need to be fixed?
A crossbite may reveal an underlying jaw problem that is best addressed at a young age, while the face and jaws are still developing. Possible consequences if not corrected include:
- The jaw shifting to one side
- Lopsided jaw growth
- Wearing down of outer layer of the tooth called “enamel”
How does an orthodontist correct a crossbite?
Depending on the scope of the crossbite, treatment may involve the use of a palatal expander, a fixed or removable orthodontic appliance used to make the upper jaw wider. This would be used alongside an appliance designed to move the teeth, such as braces or clear aligners.
The lower jaw sits in front of the upper jaw.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Face has “bull dog” appearance; tooth wear; stress on jaw joints.
3. Open bite
Anterior open bite: Occurs when the back teeth are together, and the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. This can result from excessive sucking, tongue thrusting or mouth breathing.
Posterior open bite: Occurs when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth do not.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Swallowing problems; tongue pushes through teeth when swallowing. Possible speech problems.
4. Deep bite
When the bite is closed, the upper front teeth cover the bottom teeth too much.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth can bite into lower gums; lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth. Possible gum disease, early enamel wear.
Insufficient space for the teeth. This can be a result of big teeth or inadequate space in the jaw or both. This may result in teeth that overlap, are rotated, or take on a crooked/staggered appearance.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Hard to clean; possible cavities, especially in between the teeth; gum disease.
Too much space between teeth. It can result from missing teeth, undersized teeth, oversized jaws, or a combination of these conditions.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Food gets stuck in open areas. Possible cavities, gum disease.
Front teeth that stick out (“buck” teeth). Teeth may appear protrusive because the upper jaw is too far forward, the lower jaw is too far back, the teeth grew in at an angle, or a combination of these conditions. Sometimes people who have protrusive front teeth also have a deep bite.
Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth are prone to accidental breaking; hard to comfortably close the mouth and lips, leading to dried out oral tissues followed by tooth decay. Speech problems. Long, narrow face.
The fact is that if any of these common bite problems exist in a child’s mouth, they likely will not self-correct. Untreated problems tend to get worse with time. Many times, the bite problems are best treated while the child is still growing.
The goal of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite. When teeth and jaws line up in the right way, the force created to bite, or chew food is evenly distributed. A healthy bite is important for clear speech as well.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has one of the seven common bite problems call our office for a complimentary orthodontic consultation. Parents – there’s no need to wait until your child has lost all his/her baby teeth before you consult an orthodontist and adults – there’s no time like the present to talk to an orthodontist about getting the smile you’ve always wanted.