You might know it as an overbite, an underbite, a crossbite, or maybe just as crowded teeth. It’s what we call malocclusion of the teeth.
Malocclusion is a misalignment problem that can affect the way you smile but, more importantly, could lead to serious oral health complications. Crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. A bite problem can interfere with how you chew and speak, can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, and can lead to problems with the jaws (such as temporomandibular joint disorders).
At Leiker Orthodontics in Woodlands, TX, we know what to look for and we know how to fix it. Call us today at 832-510-6678 to begin the treatment you need.
What Causes A Malocclusion?
Bad bites are usually inherited conditions but there are some things that could change the shape and structure of your jaw. These include:
- cleft palate
- use of a pacifier after the age of three
- thumb sucking
- tumors in the mouth or jaw
- abnormally shaped teeth
- impacted teeth
- Improperly fitting dental fillings, crowns, or braces
- mouth breathing (perhaps caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils)
Kinds Of Malocclusion
Your teeth should fit easily within your mouth without any crowding or spacing issues and none of your teeth should be rotated or twisted. The teeth in your upper jaw should slightly overlap the teeth of your lower jaw.
Here are some types of malocclusion:
- Upper protrusion (overbite). The upper front teeth push outward. You may have heard this referred to as “buck teeth.” A small lower jaw may be the cause. Pacifier use or thumb-sucking can also create this condition by pushing the teeth outward, sometimes causing the roof of the mouth to change shape.
- Spacing or crowding problems. If there is too much or too little room for your teeth, it can cause spacing or crowding issues which can prevent permanent teeth from coming in properly or at all.
- Overbite. With an overbite, the upper front teeth reach too far down over the lower front teeth. In extreme cases, the lower teeth might cut into your upper gums.
- Underbite. An underbite happens when the lower front teeth are farther forward than the upper front teeth.
- Open bite. An open bite happens when the upper and lower front teeth don’t overlap. Your molars may fit together but the front teeth don’t and this creates an opening straight into the mouth.
- Crossbite. A crossbite is when the upper teeth fit into the wrong side of the lower teeth.
- Rotation. This is when a tooth is turned from its normal position.
- Transposition. Transposition occurs when teeth grow in one another’s place.
Dr. Brad Leiker can determine if you suffer from a malocclusion during a dental exam. If you are having any of these problems, you should call our office at 852-510-6678 to schedule an appointment:
- You have a change in the appearance of your face
- You frequently bite your inner cheeks or tongue
- You find that chewing or biting is uncomfortable
- You have a lisp or some other speech problems
- You breathe through your mouth rather than your nose
Dr. Leiker can treat your malocclusion in many ways. He has completed several continuing education courses that help him bring his patients relief from malocclusion symptoms. After a thorough exam at our office in The Woodlands or Conroe, he will develop a treatment plan for you that might include:
- A palatal expander. If you have crowded teeth, this expander creates more room along your jaw for your teeth.
- A trans-palatal expander. This device is hooked into your mouth around your upper molars. It’s used to adjust the the width of your mouth arch and/or the position of your molars.
- Forsus springs. These are used to correct an overbite. You wear them for an average of 6-8 months for the best results.
- Roth Technique. If your bad bite has led to a TMJ disorder or teeth grinding, Dr. Leiker can use the Roth Technique to bring your jaw back into proper alignment. The Roth Technique evaluates the “true” position of the lower jaw to make sure that biting forces are properly distributed throughout the mouth.
Bite problems or malocclusions are not just a cosmetic issue. They can cause a number of oral health complications. Call our office today at to schedule an appointment and we can evaluate you. You can also use our online form.