A lot of things can go wrong with your oral health. Most people are familiar with cavities, infections, and crooked teeth, but malocclusion, or bad bite, isn’t something that gets discussed very often. This is unfortunate since issues with your bite can actually cause a number of oral health problems and lower your quality of life.
What Is Malocclusion?
Malocclusion is a fancy way of saying that something is wrong with your bite, or the way your teeth come together. When your bite is properly aligned, your upper teeth fit just slightly over your lower teeth and the points of each molar fit within the grooves of the opposite molar.
Bite misalignments can take several forms. One of the most common is the overbite, when your top teeth extend significantly past the lower teeth. Another bite misalignment we often treat is the underbite, in which the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth. Cross bites and open bites also sometimes occur.
Why Do Malocclusions Occur?
Most of the time, a bad bite is hereditary. Take a look at your parents and other relatives. Chances are good that you’ll recognize your dental concerns in their smiles.
Other reasons that a bad bite could occur include:
- Childhood bad habits such as extended bottle or pacifier use or thumb sucking
- Teeth that were lost too early or too late, which resulted in shifting and other changes
- Poorly fitting dental appliances and restorations
Why Are Malocclusions a Problem?
If your bite problem is only a small overbite, you may be just fine. But if your overbite is extensive or you have an underbite, crossbite, or open bite, you might be feeling the discomfort that can come with a malocclusion.
Some of the problems associated with a bad bite include:
- Erosion or excessive wear on teeth
- Chips or fractures
- Loose teeth
- Cavities and gum disease
- Frequent biting of the inside of the cheeks or tongue
- Aches and pains in the jaw
- A feeling of facial fatigue
- Headaches and ear pain
- Clenching or grinding (bruxism)
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
How Can We Fix a Bad Bite?
At Fort Worth Cosmetic & Family Dental, we are skilled at managing bite problems and we can recommend a treatment that is appropriate for you. The right treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your bite misalignment.
Sometimes, orthodontics will fix a bad bite, and we can discuss this option with you. In more severe cases, however, oral surgery may be needed to properly align the bite.
If you suspect that you might have a problem with your bite, call our Fort Worth dental office today at (817) 737-6601 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Ryan Knight or Dr Nikki Green.