We’re all looking for the perfect smile to give us that boost of confidence but crafting the perfect healthy smile goes beyond just straightening teeth. Did you know that even when your smile appears healthy, you could have other oral and even general health issues related to your mouth and jaw alignment? The alignment, or bite, is how your upper and lower teeth fit together, and untreated problems here can lead to tooth and jaw pain, headaches, sleep apnea, and more.
Here at Ollins Orthodontics, we know straight teeth are easier to keep clean, they improve your bite and function, and they create an attractive smile that lasts a lifetime. We want your whole experience to be informative but practical so let’s take a look at some of the benefits of an aligned bite below.
A malocclusion is simply a misalignment of teeth, making things like eating and brushing tricky. If left untreated, this can cause immense pain and more issues like digestion and sleep issues later in life. But where did my misalignment come from? A malocclusion can be caused by genetics and congenital disabilities, injuries, childhood habits, such as thumb sucking, and inadequate or ineffective previous dentistry treatments. Mild misalignment is very common and often does not lead to other issues for most people. For some, though, it can be a complicated process to amend. The good news is that our doctors and their experienced team in Nutley can utilize many different individualized treatment plans to help align your bite just the way you need.
Different classifications for a misaligned bite are determined by the positioning of your upper and lower jaws and teeth and how both the upper and lower ones relate to each other.
This is the most common misalignment and occurs when there is overcrowding or spacing between the teeth, but the overall jaw positioning does not affect the ability to bite.
This occurs when there is severe overlapping of the upper teeth and jaw and is most commonly known as an overbite.
This occurs when the lower jaw is much larger than the upper jaw, causing you to see more of the lower teeth during a closed bite. This is also commonly called an underbite.
Depending on the severity of your bite issue to be resolved, there are numerous ways to address misalignment. To begin, our orthodontists will conduct an initial examination visually. They will ask questions about your oral health and background to better understand your unique situation. They will then take panoramic x-rays and intraoral scans to get a better view of your teeth, gums, roots, and jawbone. And they will also take mouth impressions to get a better idea of your bite. If the overcrowding is severe, extractions may be necessary for better results in your overall treatment. Your orthodontist will create a customized treatment plan based on your unique needs, considering all of this data and information.
Treating a Misaligned Bite
We know you’ll get the best smile and most enjoyable treatment experience if you get personalized and cutting-edge care. If our expert team determines treatment is necessary for your misaligned bite, you will have a few options depending on the severity and class of your misalignment. Some standard treatment options include the following.
Braces are the most commonly used treatment in aligning your teeth and jaws. This method uses metal brackets that are carefully applied to the outside faces of your teeth and connected by a strong but delicate wire. An orthodontist will slowly tighten this wire to make minor adjustments throughout your treatment process, bringing the teeth and jaw into optimal alignment as quickly and as painlessly as possible. In some instances, your orthodontist may use additional elastic bands to apply pressure for achieving better alignment. After your treatment process is over and your braces are removed, you will likely then begin wearing a retainer to ensure your new adjustments have time to become permanent below the surface and keep your new smile perfect, as well.
Upper Jaw Expander (Palate Expander)
Another option for treating particular alignment issues is the upper jaw expander or the palate expander. This method is most commonly used to treat an underbite, sometimes referred to as a crossbite, as well. During this treatment, a metal appliance is positioned on the roof of the mouth and attached to your back molar teeth. A screw joins them in the center, which is tightened slowly over time with a special key to apply tension to your upper jaw. During this treatment process, your upper jaw will widen, bringing your bite into alignment.
While this is not the most common option, jaw surgery may be necessary to correct your bite alignment in rare cases where the patient has trouble speaking, eating, or sleeping. To avoid the likelihood of needing jaw surgery later in life, Ollins Orthodontics recommends starting your child’s orthodontic relationship and treatment early as many alignment issues are easier to solve when your palate is softer, and the bones and tissues are already moving due to normal growth.
The Benefits of an Aligned Bite
Maybe straight teeth aren’t the only goal of orthodontics, and perhaps that’s a good thing. Having properly aligned teeth and jaws can mean so much for your health, and ensuring this alignment early can prevent excessive wear and strain on your jaws and muscles to help you avoid joint pain and disorders like TMJ later. Proper alignment makes brushing and flossing less tricky, reducing the risk of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease, like gingivitis. Speech problems and even esthetic facial symmetry can be remedied by treating the alignment of your teeth and jaws.
For your perfect smile AND aligned bite, Trust Ollins Orthodontics!
Our team is an essential part of your experience at Ollins Orthodontics. Our doctors will create a personalized treatment plan and provide unmatched care from your first appointment to last. Since orthodontics is our primary and only specialty, our skilled and caring team has the experience to give you the best in treatment, costs, and efficiency as you work to align your jaw and smile!
There’s never been a better time to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, and we are ready to help you get the results your smile deserves. Contact us today to schedule your FREE exam here at Ollins Orthodontics. There is no pressure or obligation to enter a treatment plan but great individualized information to help you decide what is right for your smile.