Does Invisalign work for crowded teeth? Will braces fix an underbite? These are the questions we get asked a lot as a Rancho Bernardo orthodontist. While every patient is unique, and you could even have a combination of problems, we’re sharing the most common issues we address with treatment at Dr. Melanie Orthodontics.
When the top teeth sit too far in front of the bottom teeth, it’s called an overbite, sometimes referred to as overjet if we’re getting fancy. If you’re closing your teeth together as you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking, well, I have an overbite. That’s true. Most people do have some degree of an overbite. However, when the space between the upper and lower teeth is too large, it can cause problems, including jaw discomfort and excessive wear of the teeth. It also makes your top front teeth more susceptible to injury.
You’re said to have an underbite if the bottom teeth sit in front of the top teeth. Underbites are often caused by the upper and lower jaw growing at different rates. It can make it hard to chew and speak clearly and may also lead to uneven wear of the teeth. Because an underbite is skeletal in nature, it’s super helpful if it’s diagnosed and treated early before you’re done growing.
Crowding is when there isn’t enough room in the jaw to fit all of the teeth. In an effort to squeeze in, the teeth will overlap, shift forward or back, or even twist. Crowding can happen if the baby teeth fall out too early or there’s an imbalance in the tooth-to-jaw-size ratio. Since crowded teeth are harder to brush and floss, your risk of tooth decay and gum disease is increased.
Spacing is the opposite of crowding and is when you have gaps between two or more teeth. It’s often the result of teeth that are too narrow for the size of the jaw, missing teeth or oral habits, like prolonged thumb sucking. Yes, spacing is a cosmetic concern and can make you feel self-conscious but it can also have a negative impact on the health of your gums.
When some of the top teeth sit inside some of the bottom teeth when your jaws are closed together, it’s referred to as a crossbite. Depending on the teeth involved, a crossbite can be an anterior crossbite or a posterior crossbite. So, what causes a crossbite? Well, it can occur due to genetics, trauma, the early loss of primary teeth or certain oral habits. Since it’s not uncommon for patients to compensate by shifting their jaw to one side, it can lead to permanent changes in their facial structure if it’s not addressed.
An open bite is when your upper and lower teeth don’t meet at all when you close your mouth. It can make it hard to bite into food and to chew. An open bite is usually caused by genetics or oral habits like tongue thrusting, prolonged pacifier use or thumb sucking.
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