Let’s do an experiment! Go ahead and close your jaw, biting down gently and connecting the upper teeth with the lower teeth. Do you feel that your teeth line up perfectly? Do the top teeth all make solid contact with their corresponding bottom teeth? Does your jaw feel any tension while doing this? Are the upper teeth slightly out front of the lower teeth—meaning that your uppers should overtake your lowers all around somewhat (not too much) in order to be properly aligned.
If you feel you have an irregular bite, you are not alone. One in five people suffer from what is called “malocclusion,” —irregular contact between the upper and lower teeth. Some people will never need any repair done because the problem is so minor, but many others will want an evaluation and possible treatment by an orthodontist.
These are the Types and Forms of Malocclusion
Overbite: The most common type of malocclusion, an overbite is the excessive protrusion of the upper jaw where the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth beyond what’s normal. Around 70 percent of children develop an overbite to some extent. Long-term thumbsucking is one of its causes.
Underbite: An underbite is a misalignment of the teeth that occurs when the lower teeth and jaw protrude up and beyond the upper jaw. That means that when you close your mouth, the lower teeth and jaw will appear abnormally pronounced.
Open bite: An open bite is the term used when areas of the upper and lower teeth are unable to make physical contact with each other when the jaws are closed. In common cases, front teeth do not connect due to back teeth already meeting, making the mouth look “open.”
Crossbite: Normally, a person’s upper set of teeth are aligned a little outside the lower teeth at the front and back and at sides so that they meet optimally. Crossbite is an abnormal bite where one or more upper teeth are placed behind the lower teeth instead of outside.
Your orthodontist is the dental professional tasked with fixing bad bite misalignments. Treatments vary depending on severity, but generally, it involves braces and time to slowly adjust the teeth and jaw into proper contact and alignment.
If you have malocclusion and would like more information about treatment, call Dr. Ponce and our helpful team at Friendly Smiles Orthodontics. Phone: 520-326-1101, or come by our office in Tucson, Arizona.