Misaligned teeth are very common for people of all ages. Some may not even think it’s a problem because it’s just the natural structure of their teeth. However, teeth misalignment is a condition that is called malocclusion. Malocclusion occurs when the teeth don’t properly align when the jaw is closed. Malocclusion can be a result of crooked teeth or bite problems such as an overbite or underbite.
Why do People Have Misaligned Teeth?
Sometimes malocclusion is hereditary and occurs because of someone’s facial structure. Other who have malocclusion might have it because of:
- Thumb sucking habits
- Thrusting of the tongue
- An accident that misaligned the jaw
- Impacted teeth
- A cleft lip
- Gum diseases
- Breathing through the mouth
- Extended pacifier or bottle use
- Oral tumors
Effects of Malocclusion
Misaligned teeth can have some serious consequences. If misaligned teeth are nor properly treated by a Utah dentist, it can eventually lead to:
- Difficulties when cleaning the teeth
- Cavities and gum disease
- Difficulty chewing food
- Too much pressure on the teeth that can lead to broken teeth
- A lisp when speaking
Types of Teeth Misalignment
To better understand how your Utah family dentist treats your misaligned teeth, it’s important to know what type of misaligned teeth you have. There are five different types of misaligned teeth and the treatment varies for each one.
When you have an overbite, your upper jaw and teeth overlap your lower teeth and directly touch the gums. You can notice an overbite in the front teeth. Overbites are innate and many people have them before they get braces, invisalign, or other dental or orthodontic treatment.
An underbite is the opposite of an overbite. The lower front teeth overlap the upper front teeth when the jaw is closed. An underbite is also innate and very common.
3. Open Bite
An open bite is when there is a large gap with the front teeth when the jaw is closed. The upper front teeth don’t touch or overlap. Thumb sucking is the biggest culprit of an open bite. That’s why it’s important to encourage your children to drop their thumb-sucking habit by age three at the latest.
Crossbites occur when the jaw does not align properly sideways, and causes the upper molars to bite inside the lower molars when the jaw is shut. Crossbite is an innate issue that occurs based on the structure of someone’s jaw.
5. Crowded Teeth
Our mouths are often not big enough to accommodate all of our teeth. It’s like hosting a party for 200 people in a one-bedroom apartment. In the mouth, this causes crooked teeth because there is not enough room for each tooth to stand nice and straight. This isn’t necessarily caused by an external factor, some people just have less room in their mouth than others.
Once your dentist or orthodontist identifies which type of teeth misalignment you suffer from, they can come up with a customized treatment plan for you.
Without dental treatment, misaligned teeth will remain that way. Here are common treatments for misaligned teeth:
1. Metal Braces
Metal braces have been around for centuries and they get the job done beautifully. They contain small metal brackets that attach to your teeth with adhesive, and your dentist places a wire across the brackets to put pressure on the teeth, ultimately straightening them into the optimal position. Braces are great for all types of misalignment.
Invisalign is an alternative to braces, and uses custom clear trays to gradually straighten the teeth. Many people choose invisalign because you can remove them to eat or brush your teeth and they aren’t noticeable like braces. Those with only minor misalignment issues are good candidates for Invisalign. Those with major issues would be better off with traditional braces.
3. Porcelain Veneers
Veneers are great for those who have only minor misalignment issues in a couple front teeth. Dentists make porcelain veneers to attach to the surface of the teeth and enhance the look of the teeth.
4. Dental Implants
With dental implants, dentists create a new set of teeth to replace your crooked, broken or missing teeth. The process can be lengthy and the patient will first get a titanium rod before the teeth are attached.
5. Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces function just like metal braces except instead of a metal bracket, the bracket is ceramic or clear for a less noticeable look. Some dentists even use tooth-color wires for an extra discrete look.
Misaligned teeth are not only cosmetic concerns, they can cause many other dental problems as well. We can help you identify what type of misaligned teeth you have and the best treatment options for you. Not only will it help your overall health, but you’ll get a beautiful smile in the process. If that sounds like a good plan to you, give us a call!