Your “bite” is how your teeth line up when you close your mouth. If your bite isn’t correct, it can cause all kinds of problems, such as jaw issues and speech problems.
Fortunately, an improper bite — also called a malocclusion — can be corrected with orthodontics. In this blog, the providers at Dental Art of South Bay explain more about the importance of having a properly aligned bite and how orthodontics can help.
The causes of an improper bite
If you have a malocclusion, it means that your upper and bottom jaws don’t line up correctly. For the proper position, your upper jaw should slightly overlap with your bottom jaw, allowing the pointed ridges of your upper molars to fit into the grooves of your lower molars.
There are many possible causes of a malocclusion. The most common cause is hereditary. If a parent has a misaligned bite, a child has a higher chance of having one, too. Other causes of a malocclusion include the following:
- Cleft lip and palate
- Using a pacifier after age 3
- Thumb sucking in early childhood
- Prolonged use of baby bottles
- Injuries that cause jaw misalignments
- Tumors in the jaw
- Dental care that changes the bite, such as crowns or dental fillings
The negative effects of an improper bite
If your bite isn’t aligned properly, it can have many negative effects of your health and your lifestyle. Some of the effects you may experience as a result of a malocclusion include the following:
- Changes in your facial appearance
- Biting your cheeks or tongue
- Speech problems, which may make it difficult for others to understand you
- Jaw pain
- Breathing through your mouth instead of your nose
How orthodontics can help
Malocclusions are categorized according to their severity. Mild malocclusions are in Class 1, which generally is not severe enough to cause any significant problems. However, Class 2 or Class 3 malocclusions usually need orthodontic treatment.
Some of the orthodontic treatments you may need to correct a malocclusion can include braces and retainers or other dental appliances. You may also need bonding or reshaping of your teeth, and in the most severe cases, you may need tooth removal or surgery to reshape your jaw.
Having a misaligned bite can cause a lot of pain, but orthodontic care to correct it can dramatically improve the health and condition of your mouth. If you suspect that your jaw might not be aligned correctly, we can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Dental Art of South Bay today.