Braces are the most common way to treat all sorts of problems with misaligned and crooked teeth, including overbites, underbites, crossbites and crowded teeth. Straightened teeth are much easier to clean and care for, helping reduce cavities and costly dental work. And, permanently fixing these issues improves overall oral health.
Getting braces can also help realign jaws that are out of position and treat some speech impediments. When jaws are misaligned, they can also cause breathing problems such as snoring. Proper diagnosis and treatment planning by an orthodontist will lessen the future risks associated with poor oral health.
If your upper front teeth protrude out and come down too far over the lower teeth, that’s an overbite. Overbites can lead to premature wear on your teeth if not treated properly. In some severe overbites, lower teeth can bite into the roof of your mouth.
An underbite is the opposite of an overbite. In this case, your lower front teeth are too far in front of your upper teeth. Like overbites, underbites also cause abnormal tooth wear.
Sometimes there just isn’t enough space between existing teeth for new teeth to slide into their proper spots. This is called crowding, and can be treated by expanding the space where the new tooth needs to be. Other situations occur where there is too much space between teeth. These gaps may be caused by missing teeth or having teeth of varying sizes.
Crossbites are very common in children. A crossbite occurs when the patient puts his or her teeth together and the upper teeth are on the inside of the lower teeth. This can occur in the front or back of the mouth. If it occurs in the back of the mouth it is called a posterior crossbite, and in the front of the mouth it is an anterior crossbite. Having a crossbite can not only lead to poor chewing, but also premature tooth wear and jaws that grow out of alignment.
An openbite occurs when teeth do not meet while biting down, and is commonly caused by habits such as thumb and finger sucking. An openbite affects proper chewing and can cause significant tooth wear if not corrected.