At Ollins Orthodontics, we love how orthodontic interventions can solve so many problems for our patients. Of course, they can make crooked smiles straight, boosting confidence and health for your teeth, but did you know that orthodontics also solves some bigger issues with your jaw, bones, and bite? Our team of professionals are experts at evaluating and finding lasting solutions to bite and jaw problems that can lead to bigger issues later on.
Let’s learn a bit more about bite and jaw alignment and how orthodontics can help!
What Causes Bite Problems?
As children, many of us have what we call myofunctional habits like bottle feeding, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, and more. These small habits are often innocent coping skills for babies and toddlers, but they can sometimes become a problem when they influence how our facial and jaw muscles grow. There are also genetic and facial development impacts, as well as injuries that can influence how our bite functions.
This is one of the reasons why we recommend that children start coming to the orthodontist at a young age, around seven years old, to help evaluate these potential problems and start fixing them while their bones are still growing! It’s much easier to implement lasting treatments on children versus adults, but don’t worry if you have bite issues as an adult. There are still many treatment options available that our team can work on with you!
What Do We Mean by Bite Problems?
Here is our short list of common issues with bites:
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?
The problems that we list above can sometimes lead to more serious and even painful outcomes. Here are a few of the challenges that can come with bite issues:
Because chewing is such an important part of our digestive health, chewing problems can lead to many issues in the body. If your bite doesn’t allow you to properly chew food into small pieces, larger chunks can become a choking or digestive hazard. Chewing also stimulates saliva production which is important for breaking down foods for digestion as well. All in all, chewing is really important to help us digest our food properly, and without it, we can experience indigestion, bloating, constipation, gas, and more uncomfortable symptoms!
You might not think it, but jaw issues can impact how we breathe! If your nasal airways are restricted due to jaw function, then you may be forced to breathe more from your mouth. Mouth breathing can impact sleep with snoring and sleep apnea, as well as create a dry mouth that is uncomfortable and can increase the growth of bacteria that harm teeth, leading to tooth decay.
Jaw and Facial Pain
If you have ever experienced TMJ pain in your jaw, then you aren’t likely to forget it. Having frequent pain when you talk or eat can negatively impact your life and emotional well-being. Don’t neglect that kind of pain as it is a signal that there may be undue pressure or stress on your jaw muscles due to misalignment.
In some cases, having bite issues can lead to lisping and other speech impediments.
Wearing Down Teeth
Your teeth are made to perfectly fit into each other along the top and bottom rows of teeth. This makes biting and chewing possible. But when the teeth are misaligned, it can cause the teeth to clash unhealthful, eventually wearing down your teeth’ enamel and leading to problems like sensitivity, infection, tooth decay, and even tooth loss in the worst cases!
Treatment for Jaw Problems
Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Bruce Ollins don’t want to see any of the above outcomes happen for our patients! That’s why we recommend bringing in your child early for treatments, and not waiting if you are an adult who is having bite problems! We have several treatment options available that can help.
Metal braces have been around for a long time, offering excellent aligning treatment for patients over the years. Braces are the preferred option when dealing with jaw and bite alignment, as they have lots of force and power, and pair well with other adjusting devices like the palatal expanders that we will discuss later.
If the idea of adding a metallic smile to your appearance is worrying you, then clear braces are a great secondary option! These braces are made from a tooth-colored ceramic and blend in with your smile to make your braces less noticeable. They tend to work a little slower than metal braces, and they need to be cleaned diligently to prevent staining. If you are up for those care necessities, then these could be a great fit for you!
Sometimes what you need to help with your bite is to make more room! Palatal expanders work to create more space in the upper jaw for your teeth to fit more easily, and allow for a more natural bite. These metal devices are fitted into the roof of your mouth and are often paired with braces to help move things along.
We’re Ready to Craft Your Best Smile!
If you are in the Nutley area, then don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to get started on your own orthodontic treatment. Regardless of what kind of jaw or bite issues you may have, or if you just want straighter teeth for a dazzling smile, we are the team that can help get you there! Don’t hesitate to give us a call and set up a free consultation appointment!