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By now you are likely aware that keeping your teeth and gums free from tooth decay and gum disease should top your list of oral health priorities when it comes to maintaining your healthy smile. But did you know that malocclusion is another common dental issue that often needs to be addressed? Essentially, occlusion is how your upper and lower teeth fit together when you bite down or chew.

A normal bite means the teeth meet evenly, but if your teeth and jaw alignment is off and you have a bad bite or malocclusion, your mismatched bite can create severe dental problems. Fortunately, orthodontics may solve your bite pattern issues. Our team is happy to assist you with your bite pattern problems. We can help you understand your own situation so you know which treatment is the best solution for you.

Here is a list of common bite patterns:

Overbite: Overbites happen when the upper teeth stick out farther than your lower teeth.

Open bite: Open bites occur when the top and bottom teeth do not connect when you bite down.

Underbite: Underbites are when the lower front teeth stick out past the upper teeth in your jaw.

Crossbite: Crossbites happen when one or more teeth is too far toward your cheek (a buccal crossbite) or your tongue (a lingual crossbite), so the corresponding teeth in the opposing arch do not align with them correctly.

Overcrowded teeth: This arises when there is not enough space for your teeth, which can cause them to crowd together.

Misplaced midline bite: Misplaced midline bites happen when the center of your upper front teeth doesn’t match with the center of your lower teeth or with the center of your face.

If you have any of the above bite patterns, remember, the sooner you have it treated, the greater your chances of avoiding oral problems later in life. Timely orthodontic treatment for malocclusion can effectively restore a proper bite pattern to help you avoid the following problems:

  • Tooth sensitivity, chipped, cracked teeth
  • Crowded or shifting teeth
  • Uneven wear and tear on your teeth
  • Headaches, jaw pain, clicking, popping and jaw deterioration
  • Periodontal disease including gum recession and bone loss around teeth
  • Problems with your speech
  • Problems with your chewing
  • Reduced self-confidence from the appearance of your smile

So how can your occlusal problems be fixed? There are a variety of treatments, including orthodontics, or replacing missing teeth with dental implants or bridges, or fixing bad teeth with dental fillings or crowns.
 The jaw and jaw muscles can be stabilized with the help of bite splint therapy, and you can protect your teeth with the help of a dental mouth guard.

Here at Life Dental & Orthodontics, we specialize in fixing malocclusion **without** pulling your teeth “backward” in your face (also called “retraction”). Our “airway-friendly” approach ensures that the size of your dental arches is not reduced, so your tongue’s “space” is not made smaller (which could potentially cause or worsen Obstructive Sleep Apnea). To fix overcrowding, you may need to widen one or both arches so that all your teeth fit. You might need a space maintainer to keep your teeth from shifting if one is missing or hasn’t yet come in. After you complete your time in orthodontics, you will simply wear a retainer (removable, permanent, or combination) to keep your teeth stabilized in their new position.

Do you have a unique bite pattern you need to correct? Do you have teeth that are too crowded or overlapped, or do you suffer from frequent headaches? If so, our skilled team is ready to help! We can treat your misaligned bite pattern through the use of a customized orthodontic treatment that will respect your airway. If you have questions about your teeth and alignment issues, please call us today to schedule your appointment. We are ready to help you create your healthiest, aligned, airway-friendly smile!