Bite problems are extremely common as it is quite rare for people to have naturally straight and perfect teeth. All bite problems require orthodontic treatment and the treatment varies depending on the type of bite problem you have. Given below are the most common bite problems.
An overbite is a very common bite problem and more than 50% of children exhibit either mild or severe cases of an overbite. When the upper teeth cover the lower teeth partially or completely, it is said to be an overbite which is a type of malocclusion.
Majority of overbites are characterised by partial covering of the lower teeth and this can be easily treated with braces. In milder cases, invisalign aligners can be used to fix an overbite. Severe cases might require tooth extraction or surgery.
Although underbites are not as common as overbites, they still affect many people and can create many problems if not treated at the earliest. In an underbite, your lower teeth extend beyond your upper teeth. This results in a protruding chin and is often accompanied by pain or discomfort. Many underbite problems are inherited but some of them can be caused by bad childhood habits like thumb sucking.
In children, most underbites are treated by jaw expanders, chin caps and reverse face masks. Braces can be used for correcting mild underbites. For adults and children who have severe underbites, surgery might be the only option.
Crossbite is another form of malocclusion in which the upper teeth fit inside or between the lower teeth. There are two types of crossbites,
- Anterior crossbite – In this condition, the upper front teeth are behind the lower front teeth.
- Posterior crossbite – In this condition, the upper back teeth sit behind the lower back teeth.
Moderate cases of crossbites can be fixed by aligners or braces. Some people treat anterior crossbites using dental crowns but braces are a longer term solution than dental crowns. Palate expanders are used for severe cases.
When the teeth grow in such a way that they overlap each other and become twisted or angled due to lack of space, the condition is called crowding. Crowded teeth can be difficult to clean and this can lead to accumulation of bacteria in the gaps which are difficult to access. This can also increase the occurrence of cavities and other gum diseases.
Braces are the most common treatment for crowded teeth. Mild cases can be treated by retainers but braces will give better results. Clear aligners are also used to fix moderate cases of crowding. Some adults fix their crowded teeth with the help of veneers.
Spacing is characterized by gaps and spaces between the teeth. In younger children these gaps might be fixed once their permanent teeth settle in. However in many people the gaps remain and this can make them feel conscious about their teeth. These gaps can make your gums more susceptible to diseases. Spacing can be caused by childhood habits like thumb sucking or it might be genetic.
Braces and invisible aligners are commonly used to fix spacing. Dental bonding is a faster and cheaper alternative which uses tooth colored resin to help fill in your teeth. Veneers and dental crowns are also used to fix spacing.
6. Dental Midline Shift
When the upper teeth don’t meet up with the lower teeth properly, the dental midlines don’t match accurately. This can result in an asymmetrical look which can be minor or prominent depending upon the midline shift. It can lead to grinding and other jaw related issues if not treated.
Braces can be used to fix minor to moderate midline shifts. They might be accompanied with tooth extraction to create space for other teeth. Hyrax expanders are also used to expand the jaw and correct the midline shift. In severe cases, surgery might be required.
Most bite problems don’t require surgical procedures. Braces can correct a lot of bite problems but in severe cases, surgery might be the only fix. Make sure you discuss all the possible treatment methods with your orthodontist for your specific bite issue.