Proper alignment in our teeth and jawbones is more important than you might think. Not only is good alignment key in allowing us to have a symmetrical look for the perfect smile, but it also prevents people from developing speech and eating impediments as well as a whole plethora of orthodontic and hygiene issues.
Keep reading to learn more about what misalignment means for us and how we can fix it.
What Is Malocclusion?
According to the glossary of orthodontic terms that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) published, malocclusion is a term used to refer to teeth that don’t fit together as they should. This usually happens when your lower or upper teeth have an angle to them, but it could also be a result of your lower or upper jaw bone not aligning properly.
Many may think that the worst consequences of malocclusions are an asymmetrical and crooked smile, but in reality, malocclusions can be the reason for speech and eating impediments and self-esteem issues. Additionally, they make the orthodontic patient prone to other dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and more.
Unless you go through some type of orthodontic treatment to straighten and reposition the misaligned teeth, the malocclusion will only persist or worsen, depending on the patient’s age. Fixing misalignments allows patients to clean every side of every tooth, making it possible to avoid bacteria and plaque accumulation that would then lead to infections and decay.
While you can’t avoid malocclusions if they spring from your natural dental structure growth, you can stop them from worsening.
Interceptive treatment allows orthodontists to correct misalignments in very young patients as well as guide their dental growth. With this treatment, once a patient grows older, they will either not go through any more treatment at all or will have to go through a shorter version compared to what they would have had to go through if they never went earlier on.
What Are the Different Types of Malocclusion?
Malocclusions come in many shapes and angles. Many types of malocclusions have the possibility to affect the physical health of the patient severely. Depending on which types of malocclusions form, a patient will suffer from different issues.
It’s important to remember that a patient normally has more than one type of malocclusion affecting their smile. Fortunately for everyone, technology has advanced to the point where a patient can choose from multiple options for orthodontic appliances.
You can rest assured knowing that your Forth Worth orthodontist can and will give you the closest result possible to the perfect smile you wish for.
Crowding, as the name implies, refers to situations where your teeth don’t have enough space to erupt as they should. As a consequence, they start twisting and moving around. Sometimes patients will have teeth overlapping each other, while in others, teeth are directly above the rest as they weren’t able to grow to the same level as the others.
This is a very common type of malocclusion that your orthodontist can fix relatively easily with the use of orthodontic appliances.
Overbite refers to your upper teeth overlapping your lower teeth more than they should in a vertical manner. Meaning that your upper front teeth will cover more of the lower teeth than they should.
While a small overlap between your upper and lower teeth is ideal, an excessive amount could lead to facial pain, speech impediments, poor oral hygiene due to a lack of access to some spaces, tooth loss, headaches, and more.
Severe or excessive overjet is a very similar type of “bad bite” to an overbite. The upper teeth protrude more than they should compared to the lower row of teeth, but they do it on a horizontal level. Here your front teeth angle towards your lips to the point where they don’t touch the lower front teeth at all.
This type of malocclusion can originate from bad dental habits as a child that stayed present after four years. If you notice that your child is still thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting after the age limit, we recommend you take them to your pediatric dentist.
An underbite is literally the opposite of the last two types of malocclusions. Here, lower teeth are the ones to protrude in front of the upper row. There are two reasons for this to happen, either your teeth just don’t align together, or one of your jaw bones didn’t develop enough and now presents a misalignment with the other.
Whichever the case may be, it is clear that this is a slightly more difficult condition to correct compared to the others. While orthodontic treatment and appliances for adults, teens, and babies are still an option, those who have permanent teeth could end up needing jaw surgery to completely get rid of the problem.
Crossbite occurs when one or many bottom teeth protrude over the top teeth while the rest remain covered by them. There are two types of crossbites, anterior crossbites, and posterior crossbites.
Anterior crossbites refer to the bottom front teeth sticking out over their upper row counterpart. For the rest of the mouth, however, the situation is the opposite. Like with underbites, you can treat it with an orthodontic device, but surgery is sometimes needed.
Posterior crossbites refer to the lower premolars and molars being further out than the upper row, covering them in various capacities. This can happen on one or both sides of the mouth. Just as before, the remaining lower teeth are slightly behind the upper teeth.
An open bite is exactly what it sounds like. It is a very uncommon type of malocclusion where both the upper and lower teeth are angling outwards and doesn’t touch. This type of malocclusion can happen in different sectors of the mouth, and a patient can have more than one open space at a time.
Gaps between teeth
Once again, pretty self-explanatory. This type of malocclusion refers to situations where patients have too much free space between teeth. The gaps can range from very notable to almost invisible, so depending on your specific case, you can decide whether to go through orthodontic treatment or not.
If you do decide on the treatment route, you must know that orthodontic appliances are not your only option. You can use dental bonding and veneers to fix the lack of uniformity on your teeth as a much faster solution.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)?
First, there is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). The TMJ is a very special joint that connects your lower jaw with the rest of your skull and controls its movements, allowing you to chew and talk.
Experts refer to issues regarding the function of the (TMJ) as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or TMD). Generally speaking, TMDs imply some type of irritation or inflammation of the TMJ.
Why Does My Jaw Pop When I Chew?
A very plausible reason as to why your jaw pops when you chew is that it is a symptom of TMD. If your jaw is constantly popping when eating, speaking, or yawning, you might want to check for other TMD symptoms such as jaw pain, neck pain, headaches, and pain in your ears.
However, there are many other reasons for jaw-popping. The true cause could be because of constant grinding, bad dental habits like biting fingernails, an increase in stress and anxiety, an injury in that area, and more. Regardless, if your jaw pops when eating or talking, you should visit your nearest Fort Worth dentist for a professional checkup.
Keep Your Teeth Straight and Your Smile Healthy
If your jaw is constantly popping, or you suffer to keep your mouth clean and healthy, contact us so we can schedule an appointment with you to figure out your situation and get you started on the right treatment as soon as possible.