If you’ve looked in the mirror and felt like your teeth don’t fit quite right, or you have difficulty chewing food, you might have what dentists call a malocclusion.
In a normal bite, the upper teeth sit just forward of the lower ones, and the top molars rest gently on the bottom ones. A malocclusion occurs when your teeth don’t come together correctly.
Although a malocclusion may only be annoying or not look quite right, in more severe cases, it can make chewing difficult or even painful.
If you’re looking for a straight, healthy smile, you’ll want to understand the different types of malocclusions, how you can recognise them and how you can correct them to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.
If you have an underbite, you’ll notice that your upper teeth don’t sit just in front of the lower ones. Instead, because of your malocclusion, your lower teeth jut out farther than your top ones.
When this occurs, it usually also means that the molars—the larger, flatter teeth in the back of your mouth—aren’t coming together properly. Since you use your molars to actually chew and break up most of your food, this can cause uneven wear on the teeth and eventually cause significant damage to your bite.
If you suffer from an underbite, you can also develop soreness in your jaw, as well as various other problems. This is because your malocclusion causes you to move your jaw in odd and unnatural ways when you chew. Unfortunately, the longer the underbite remains untreated the worse the pain can become.
In many instances, Invisalign clear aligners can treat your underbite by gently repositioning your teeth over time. The discreet aligners not only provide the relief you need, they also build you a more beautiful smile!
The overbite is the opposite of the underbite, as you might have guessed! To discover if you have this type of malocclusion, look to see if when your teeth are clenched, your upper teeth almost completely cover the lowers ones.
Like an underbite, an overbite means your molars aren’t coming together properly, leading to wear and tear. Overbites also can cause pain and tenderness in your jaws and joints.
To make matters even more uncomfortable, many times the lower teeth will irritate your gums from the constant scraping. In the worst overbite cases, the lower teeth can actually bite into the top of the person’s mouth!
Thankfully, you can gently reposition your upper and lower teeth and do so without drawing attention to your orthodontic treatment when you choose Invisalign clear aligners.
Underbites and overbites occur when the entire jaw causes the teeth to move too far forward or back. A crossbite is when individual teeth don’t sit properly in relation to their neighbors.
An easy way to spot a crossbite is when you see some (but not all) of your upper teeth sitting behind lower teeth. Teeth can cross to the wrong side either in the front or on the sides.
As with the other malocclusions we’ve mentioned, the danger of a crossbite is its ability to cause wear on your teeth. With a crossbite, you can also develop gum disease and in some severe cases, even bone loss.
The best way to deal with this type of malocclusion isn’t to just ignore it. If you suffer from crossbites, you can often correct your problem with Invisalign clear aligners before your teeth suffer from further damage.
Open bites are exactly what they sound like: the upper and lower teeth—generally in the front—don’t come together at all. This leaves a gap, or opening, between the teeth.
As you might expect, this can present real problems. People suffering from open bites may have a hard time chewing or could even experience pain while eating. Some people acquire speech impediments from their open bite.
If left untreated, some patients may develop temporomandibular joint disorder (sometimes referred to as TMJ or TMD). This condition can cause popping or clicking in the jaw, pain in the jaw joint, or even leaving your jaws locked open or closed!
Depending on the severity of your open bite, a clear Invisalign aligner may be able to move the teeth back into their natural position.
With both crowded and gapped teeth, the root issue is that your teeth aren’t situated in their correct position. This leads to either gaps between teeth or not enough room for all the teeth.
Crowded teeth can be identified by the fact that some teeth will be pushed out of the way by neighboring teeth. They may be pushed backward or forward and sometimes twisted in place.
Both types of malocclusion can lead to more serious oral issues over time. Gapped teeth don’t adequately protect the gums, and the gaps can accumulate bits of food that make it easier to erode your teeth without sufficient oral hygiene.
Crowded teeth, because they are so tightly packed, are difficult to floss, which may lead to an increase in cavities or other decay.
Whether you suffer from gapped teeth or an overbite, you can correct your malocclusion and prevent future troubles with clear aligners that move your teeth into their correct positions.
If you want to fix your malocclusion discretely, one option is Invisalign clear aligners, an orthodontic treatment that’s been chosen by over 4 million people.
With Invisalign, you’ll correct your malocclusion with an orthodontic treatment that’s:
To determine whether Invisalign is the right treatment option for your malocclusion and to start your path to a beautiful and healthy smile, schedule your appointment with a MiSmile Invisalign provider today!