One of the things we love most about working in orthodontics is how helpful our work is to people’s real lives. Orthodontics help to create beautiful, straight smiles that are cosmetically appealing, but they also solve important problems like jaw and alignment issues that can cause serious issues.
If you are interested in keeping your teeth healthy for life, then you should reach out to New England Orthodontic Specialists for treatment! We are experts at crafting aligned smiles and that includes jaw alignment! Jaw and bite problems are one of the biggest contributors to pain and oral health issues, so it’s not something you should ignore. Let’s spend a little time learning about how important your bite is to your health, and what orthodontics can do to help!
What Causes Bite Problems?
Bite problems can occur for a few reasons, including what we call myofunctional habits. These habits look like bottle feeding, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and thumb sucking. Typically developing in childhood, these habits can sometimes impact the way and shape that our bones grow. Other factors include genetics, facial development, and injury to the bones of the face.
What Do We Mean by Bite Problems?
There are several kinds of bite problems. Most of them can be categorized into these groups:
When the upper teeth stick out farther than the lower teeth.
When the upper and lower teeth do not connect when you bite down.
When the lower teeth stick out past the upper teeth when you bite.
When the lower jaw is longer than the size and length of the upper jaw.
When there is not enough space along the jaw for all of your teeth, causing them to crowd together.
Misplaced Midline Bite
When the center of your upper teeth does not match the center of your lower teeth.
What Problems Can Bite Issues Cause?
Whether you know if you have any of the bite issues listed above or not, you may recognize a few symptoms of bite problems like these:
Chewing is a super important component of our digestive system, and when your bite is off it can make chewing more difficult. Chewing breaks food into small, digestible pieces, and it encourages more saliva production which also helps food to digest. Not being able to chew well can lead to bigger particles of food getting stuck in the throat or stomach, leading to choking hazards and indigestion, constipation, bloating, gas, and more.
Incorrect jaw structure can sometimes mean narrowed nasal passage, making it difficult to breathe through your nose. Constantly breathing through your mouth can lead to problems like snoring, sleep apnea, and dry mouth.
Jaw and Facial Pain
One of the more uncomfortable symptoms of a misaligned bite is pain from the TMJ and facial muscles. When these muscles are overly stressed and pressured due to a bite problem, it can lead to painful jaw disorders. Sometimes when untreated, the pain can speak into the neck and shoulders as well.
Jaw problems can sometimes lead to issues with speaking and communication, like lisps and other speech disorders.
Wearing Down Teeth
When teeth grind against each other because of a bite misalignment, it can lead to the wearing down of your tooth enamel. When the enamel is worn thin there can be sensitivity and pain, tooth decay, infection, and even tooth loss!
Treatment for Jaw Problems
To prevent most of the issues that we mentioned above, there are some standard orthodontic interventions that may help. Dr. Diana and Dr. Neil will be able to evaluate your special case and recommend the best treatment option to help shift your teeth and jaw into better shape.
A few of the common treatments that we recommend are:
Metal braces are the original form of orthodontic treatment, and they are often still the most effective when it comes to solving tricky oral health problems! Braces have a lot of power to shift teeth and bones into alignment and pair well with other devices to make the process even easier.
If Dr. Diana or Dr. Neil recommends braces to help solve your jaw or bite issues, but you are concerned about the appearance of a flashy metal smile, then you should consider clear braces! These braces are made from a tooth-colored ceramic that blends in with your smile, reducing the appearance while still working effectively to align your bite. Note that because ceramic is less hard than metal, they tend to take a little longer to finish treatment, so talk about the timeline and options when you come into the office!
A palatal expander is a metal device placed on the roof of your mouth that will slowly expand the space between your upper jaw. This can be helpful to create alignment for your teeth and better bite for your jaws depending on your issue! These expanders are usually worn along with braces and sometimes rubber bands for optimal shifting abilities!
It’s Time for A Healthy Bite
There’s no reason to put off getting the treatment you need to have a healthy smile and bite! Get in touch with one of our New England Orthodontic Specialists‘ offices in Beverly, Topsfield, South Hamilton, or Salem to set up a free assessment appointment and get started on your treatment!