Your bite, or occlusion, is the way that your top and bottom teeth align when you open and close your mouth. While most patients are concerned with straightening their teeth, dentists and orthodontists prioritize bite correction– and for good reason!
A misaligned bite, or malocclusion, may cause the following problems:
- Not being able to chew food properly or fully
- Speech impediments
- Worn teeth caused by additional pressure in odd areas
- Jaw problems
- Dental decay
- Gum disease
- Low self-esteem
Wondering if you have a bad bite? Contact our friendly and knowledgeable dental team today for a consultation. We can help you achieve a healthy beautiful smile with personalized dental care.
Continue reading to learn more about malocclusion and bite correction.
What is malocclusion?
Malocclusion, or a bad bite, is when the upper and lower teeth do not align properly when the mouth is closed. This may occur if you have crowded or crooked teeth or if your upper and lower jaws are misaligned. Dentists and orthodontists often treat malocclusion with braces and other orthodontic appliances. In severe cases, malocclusion may require surgery.
There are three classes of malocclusion:
- Class 1 is when the upper teeth improperly overlap the lower teeth. This can look like the upper teeth leaning towards the tongue, the lower teeth angled toward the tongue, or the upper teeth being crowded.
- Class 2 malocclusion involves the upper teeth significantly jetting out over the lower teeth. It can look like the upper teeth leaning toward the lips or the upper central incisors leaning toward the tongue.
- Class 3 is an underbite, where the lower teeth stick out over the upper teeth. This can look like teeth forming an abnormally-shaped arch, the lower front teeth angling toward the tongue, and an abnormal upper arch or teeth that are angled toward the tongue.
Whatever class of malocclusion or bad bite you have, bite correction is imperative to helping you achieve better oral and overall health.
Bad Bite Causes
A bad bite is often caused by genetics. Genes play a huge role in how our mouths and jaw develop, including the structure of the enamel, which oral health problems you are more vulnerable to, and your bite. However, even without the presence of a “malocclusion gene,” certain habits or conditions can lead to a bad bite.
Causes of malocclusion, or a bad bite, include:
- Chronic thumb-sucking that lasts past the age of five
- Prolonged bottle feeding or use of a pacifier
- Injuries that affect the jaws
- Odd-shaped teeth
- Teeth being too large for your jaw
- Losing a permanent tooth
- Impacted teeth
- Poor oral hygiene
- Cleft lip and palate
- Mouth or jaw tumors
- Mouth breathing
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Tongue thrusting
- Teeth grinding
An overbite or underbite is often an obvious sign of malocclusion. However, some bad bites are less apparent.
Other symptoms of a bad bite include:
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Speech impediments, such as a lisp
- Breathing through your mouth while awake or asleep
- Not being able to bite into food correctly
- Frequently biting tongue or inner cheeks
- Changes in facial appearance
Bite correction can ease or diminish these symptoms to improve your quality of life.
Do you need bite correction?
Answer these questions to determine if bite correction could improve your oral, overall, and mental health:
- Do you have straight teeth?
- Do you have gaps between two or more teeth?
- When you bite down, do the teeth meet properly?
- Does your tongue rest on the roof of your mouth or stick out of your front teeth?
- Do you often experience jaw pain or jaw clicking?
- Have you lost all of your baby teeth?
- Are your teeth and gums healthy?
- Do you experience trouble breathing, chewing, and/or speaking?
- Do you have headaches often?
The answers to these questions can help you determine if bite correction is necessary for your smile. However, the best way to know if bite correction is necessary is to visit a trusted and experienced dentist near you.
Bite Correction Treatment Options
When you are ready to experience the benefits of perfectly aligned teeth and jaws, here are the bite correction treatment options that may be available to you:
- Traditional braces
- Clear aligners
- Tooth extraction
- Tooth replacement
- Headgear braces
- Upper jaw expanders
- Jaw surgery
Schedule an Initial Consultation Today
Correcting a bad bite can be life-changing. To begin this process, schedule an initial consultation with our gentle and trusted dental team today!