Many people have some degree of malocclusion. Usually, it isn't serious enough to correct; however, in severe cases orthodontic care should be sought out.
Malocclusion is the misalignment of the teeth. It can also be the incorrect relation between the upper and lower teeth. Bite problems may cause trouble with chewing, talking and oral hygiene.
Here are a few different bite issues, and ways to correct them.
An underbite is the protruding of the lower jaw. Early detection is needed to correct underbites without surgical intervention. While the child is still growing, the jaw can be pushed back. There are different methods of correction for an underbite.
Expanders can be used to widen the upper jaw so the teeth can fit together better. Headgear can be used in conjunction with the expander in severe cases. The headgear attaches to the top jaw, and slowly brings it forward. This allows the top teeth to properly overlap the bottom.
Underbite correction for adults usually consists of surgery. The jaw is fractured, pushed back and wired shut until it heals.
Also known as a deep bite, overbites refers to the overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower. In many cases, the bottom teeth go unnoticed when the person bites down.
The Twin Block appliance, the Herbst appliance, and the MARA appliance can be used to pull the lower jaw forward. This holds the lower jaw in protrusive position.
Some orthodontists like to use this method when the child is growing. While these appliances are worn, the patient's lower jaw may mature into the correct position.
A crossbite includes one or two teeth that are rotated toward the cheek or tongue. It can be on one or both sides of the jaw, and cause severe stress. Crossbites are typically heredity in nature, due to delayed loss of baby teeth or from irregular eruption of permanent teeth.
This condition can cause severe wear and tear on the enamel of the molars, resulting in future poor wear patterns and even pain. Treatment of a crossbite includes braces and a jaw expander appliance.
An open bite is when the upper and lower teeth don't meet while biting down. Like the crossbite, the openbite can cause severe stress on the back teeth because the front teeth don't share the biting force, according to the Colgate website. Chewing is less efficient and eating can be a challenge.
Thumbsucking is one of the causes of openbite. The constant sucking on a foreign object inhibits the teeth's ability to erupt properly. Braces and rubber bands can help decrease the open space.
All of these bite problems pose a challenge with eating, speaking and oral hygiene. They may be painful to live with, but if treated early, it can be corrected. In adult cases, surgery can modify the jaw to the proper position.