Malocclusion — also known as overbites and underbites — can be corrected with a number of different treatments that each offer unique advantages.
Overbites, underbites, and crossbites are all variations of a condition known as malocclusion— an improper alignment of the jaws. All three are common orthodontic issues, but when left untreated, they can lead to painful complications, speech impediments, and low self-esteem. Luckily, malocclusion can be easily corrected with today’s dental technology.
What Causes Malocclusion?
An evenly-aligned bite has the power to restore your confidence in your smile, but malocclusion is more than just a cosmetic concern. Most malocclusions originate at birth, but all three types of malocclusion can also result from traumatic accidents, dental decay, or excessive thumb sucking early in life.
Here’s what you need to know about overbites, underbites, and crossbites and the complications they bring:
- Overbites: When a person’s jaws are healthily aligned, the front teeth should protrude slightly in front of the bottom teeth. In cases of malocclusion, the top teeth will extend past the bottom teeth to a significant degree, including misalignment of the molars. Overbites can lead to speech impediments and difficulty chewing.
- Underbite: An underbite occurs when the bottom jaw protrudes past the top jaw. Underbites are especially prone to serious complications when left untreated, and they often lead to painful conditions including headaches, TMJ (jaw strain), and difficulty chewing.
- Crossbite: Crossbites make up the third category of malocclusion. Crossbites occur when the top jaw and the bottom jaw fail to line up horizontally — in other words, when one row of teeth closes onto the inner edge of the other row. Crossbites are less common than overbites and underbites. They can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and other issues.
What Treatments Are There for Malocclusion?
Health risks are associated with all three types of malocclusion. Even when malocclusion doesn’t come with serious symptoms, jaw misalignment can lead to serious self-esteem issues and take a toll on your mental health. Treatments usually require an orthodontist, or an orthopedic surgeon.
Malocclusion can be fixed at any point in a person’s life, usually with the help of braces or retainers to reposition the misaligned teeth. For adults who find metal braces cumbersome, Invisalign can be an ideal option for minor malocclusion. In serious cases of malocclusion, oral surgery may be required to reposition the bottom jaw.
The Importance of Dental Wellness
Overbites, underbites, and crossbites can lead to painful and frustrating complications. Fortunately, malocclusion can be fixed with the right treatment. For people who suffer from jaw misalignment, an appointment with the right orthodontic professional can make all the difference.
If you or your child suffers from a misaligned jaw, contact us at Espire for a lasting solution. At Espire, we offer comprehensive dental and orthodontic care with a patient focus in locations across the Denver Metro. Contact us today — your smile is too important to wait!