Although it may not always be talked about, the way we bite plays a significant role in our orthodontic health. There are seven main categories of bite problems that our North York Orthodontist – Dr. Morrow often sees in patients of all ages. These issues can vary based on a variety of personal factors.
Types of Dental Bite Problems
The teeth play a crucial role in various aspects of our lives, including our facial structure, confidence in our smile, ability to eat, speak and chew, and overall oral health. However, bite problems can impact both the appearance and functionality of our teeth. These issues can cause discomfort and pain in the short term, and may also have long-term effects on our oral health.
Here are seven common bite problems that we often see in patients of all ages, along with the potential complications that may arise if they are not addressed:
1. Open Bite
An open bite is a condition in which the front upper and lower teeth slant outward and do not touch when the mouth is closed. It can be caused by factors such as thumb sucking, overuse of a pacifier or feeding bottle, TMJ disorders, or skeletal conditions. There are two subtypes of open bite:
- Anterior open bite: This occurs when the back teeth are together but the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. It can lead to mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, or excessive sucking.
- Posterior open bite: This happens when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth do not.
If left uncorrected, an open bite may result in speech problems and difficulty swallowing (as the tongue pushes through the teeth when swallowing).
Crossbite is a type of malocclusion (bad bite) that occurs when teeth grow too close to the cheeks or tongue. It is often caused by delayed tooth eruption, improper tooth eruption, or misaligned teeth (including baby teeth). Crossbites can affect a single tooth or multiple teeth.
If left uncorrected, crossbite may lead to lopsided jaw growth, jaw shifting to one side, and erosion of the tooth enamel (the outer layer of the tooth).
3. Deep Bite
A deep bite, also known as an overbite or closed bite, occurs when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth significantly when the mouth is closed. It can be caused by thumb sucking or excessive nail biting in children, and grinding or clenching of teeth in adults.
If left uncorrected, a deep bite can lead to upper teeth biting into lower gums and lower teeth biting into the roof of the mouth, resulting in early wear on the enamel and potentially causing gum disease.
An underbite is a condition in which the lower teeth extend further out than the upper teeth. It can cause discomfort and may result in an extended chin. Underbites can be caused by thumb sucking in children, overuse of a baby feeding bottle, and genetics.
If left uncorrected, underbite may lead to abnormal stress on the jaw joints, wear on the teeth, and a “bulldog” appearance to the face.
Spacing or gapped teeth problems refer to the presence of too much space between teeth. These issues may be caused by missing teeth, undersized teeth, oversized jaws, or a combination of these factors.
If left uncorrected, spacing or gapped teeth can allow food particles to become trapped in the open spaces, potentially leading to gum disease, cavities, and other serious dental issues.
Crowding is a type of misalignment where the teeth do not have enough room to emerge, resulting in crooked or rotated teeth. Crowding can be corrected through methods such as palatal expansion, tooth extraction, or braces.
If left uncorrected, crowding can make it difficult to clean the teeth properly, which may lead to cavities.
A protrusion, also known as “buck teeth,” is a common bite problem in both children and adults. It occurs when the upper jaw is positioned too far forward or the lower jaw is too far back, or when the teeth have erupted at an angle. Poor oral habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting, as well as severe crowding and genetics, can contribute to protrusion.
If left uncorrected, a protrusion may cause the upper teeth to be prone to accidental fracture, difficulty in comfortably closing the lips and mouth, dryness of oral tissues, and tooth decay. It may also result in speech problems and a long, narrow face.
Orthodontic Treatment at York Mills Orthodontics
Many children, teens, and adults have orthodontic conditions such as open bite, crossbite, teeth crowding, and others that can be treated. These bite problems can affect an individual’s oral and overall health and well-being as they grow and develop. It is generally better to address these issues as soon as possible, as age can also play a role in oral health.
At York Mills Orthodontics, our orthodontists can help find solutions to alleviate symptoms and potentially prevent complications that may arise later in life as a result of these conditions. We may recommend a two-phase approach to orthodontics, including early preventative treatment for children, which may shorten the treatment phase during their teenage years.
For first-time teenage patients, we work to establish a rapport and include them in the decision-making process. Treatment options may include braces, Invisalign Teen, or addressing concerns related to airway and sleep apnea. Adults may also choose to undergo orthodontic treatment for oral health and aesthetic reasons, and will have their own set of concerns.
Regardless of a patient’s age, we prioritize their needs and can develop a personalized orthodontic treatment plan for each individual.
Are you concerned that you or your child may have a bite problem or other orthodontic issues? York Mills Orthodontics is here to help. Contact us for a consultation, during which we can examine your teeth and suggest personalized treatment options. Let us help you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.