If you’re not already familiar, using the word “bite” refers to how your upper and lower teeth come together. Your bite can either be good and normal or it can be bad and misaligned. The job of our Grand Rapids orthodontist, Dr. Miller, is to help you achieve a functional bite that is comfortable and healthy long-term.
Here are 4 common bite diagnoses and how we can help fix them with orthodontic treatment.
Unless a professional like Dr. Miller examines your smile, how are you to know you have a misaligned bite? Well, there are several symptoms that an individual can have that may point to an issue with how the upper and lower teeth meet.
Oftentimes, malocclusion (improper bite) is genetic. If crooked or crowded teeth run in your family, odds are you may experience them as well. This doesn’t mean you can’t change that, however. If you’re unsatisfied with your smile or you wish to give your child a better bite, we offer a range of services such as metal braces, ceramic braces, Invisalign® clear aligners, and more.
When your teeth fail to properly line up once you close your mouth, you likely have a crossbite. There are two major types of crossbites which can be labeled as either posterior or anterior. Both may occur due to prolonged pacifier use, thumb sucking, tongue thrust while swallowing, missing teeth, premature baby tooth loss, or other.
A posterior crossbite refers to the upper back teeth sitting inside of the bottom teeth. This will make your teeth look tilted in toward your tongue instead of squared up straight. On the other hand, an anterior crossbite involves one or multiple of your upper teeth resting behind your lower front teeth.
Though sometimes confused with an underbite, anterior crossbites don’t involve all of your upper teeth behind your bottom teeth. Early treatment is important with crossbites which means Dr. Miller will recommend Phase 1 orthodontics for your child if one is detected. This isn’t to say adults can’t also have crossbites treated which they can.
Protruding upper front teeth that extend beyond your lower front teeth is known as an overbite. Overbites often cause the appearance of “buck teeth” which stick out and can cause feelings of self-consciousness. Like other misaligned bites, overbites can be hereditary and run in the family or be caused by outside behaviors.
Minor overbites have a low risk of leading to any additional health issues though the longer the overbite is left uncorrected, the greater chance of it causing:
If Dr. Miller catches an overbite when your child is still young, we may move forward with Phase 1 treatment and implement a palatal expander, custom retainer, or tooth extraction to make room for incoming teeth.
The opposite of an overbite is an underbite. Underbites occur when the lower jaw sits in front of the upper jaw. They can range from mild to severe and may not even be noticeable to other people. When they’re ignored, however, you risk worn front teeth, chewing problems and jaw pain.
Dr. Miller has years of experience treating both adults and children with underbites. Because the jaw is still growing when patients are younger, it’s always best to correct the issue early on in life. If you have an underbite as an adult and want to improve your oral health, please feel free to get in touch with our Grand Rapids orthodontics office.
If your or your child’s front upper and lower teeth don’t come together at all when the mouth is shut, signs may point to an anterior open bite. In general, an open bite prevents the teeth from being aligned properly once the jaws are closed.
Skeletal problems (influenced by genetics), thumbsucking, pacifier use, and tongue thrusting can all contribute to an open bite. Depending on the patient’s exact situation and age, Dr. Miller may recommend Phase 1 orthodontic treatment followed by the addition of metal braces, ceramic braces, or a similar method.
Our orthodontist in Grand Rapids, MI, is highly trained in correcting misaligned bites like the 4 mentioned above. From traditional metal braces to newer methods like Invisalign and LightForce custom clear braces, we have what it takes to give you or your child a dream smile. Call Miller Orthodontics today at (616) 942-9320 to request an appointment.