That’s how we can speak clearly and chew effectively. If someone’s upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly, we call it a malocclusion or bad bite. Besides impeding the important functions of chewing and speaking, a malocclusion can lead to jaw problems, increase the risk of teeth breaking, and it can even impact the digestion process.
In some cases, malocclusions are the result of genetics. If a child inherits large teeth from Dad and small teeth from Mom, they’ll probably have some issues with crowding and alignment, including a bad bite. Some of the oral habits many children have in their developmental years can also impact the way their adult teeth fit together, like thumbsucking, lip sucking, tongue thrusting, nail-biting, teeth clenching, and mouth breathing.
That might seem like a lot of ways to end up with a bad bite, but these bad oral habits can be broken. Parents can help their kids develop a better bite in the long run by discouraging these habits as they grow — something that’s also important to do after orthodontic treatment so that their teeth end up back where they started!
In a healthy bite, the upper teeth should sit slightly past the lower teeth when the jaws are closed, with the points of the upper molars fitting into the grooves of the lower molars. Here are five of the most common ways a bite can deviate from the healthy norm:
Any of these bad bites can be corrected by modern orthodontic treatment, typically with much less of the bulky headgear we see in older movies. It’s also less common to need to resort to jaw surgery in modern orthodontics, although severe cases sometimes still require it. We tend to use much lower profile and more hassle-free treatment for malocclusions today, and we love that we can offer these kinds of solutions to our patients.
If you suspect you might have one of the types of malocclusions described above or some other form of orthodontic issue, don’t wait to schedule a consultation with us. We can take a look and give you an idea of the treatment process we would use to give you the properly aligned smile you deserve!