According to research, only a few people are born with perfectly straight teeth. Although some opt to have their smile adjusted, others choose to leave it as it is. While a pretty smile is a compelling excuse to see an orthodontist, proper teeth alignment entails more than just straightening your teeth.
Many patients receive a referral for orthodontic treatment when their bite seems to be off from its correct orientation. However, this situation might become a little confusing, especially when you are already happy with the way your smile appears. So, how does a normal bite look like? Aside from the aesthetic benefits, what makes it such a relevant topic?
This article will discuss the best ways to describe a healthy smile from an orthodontist’s perspective and how having a misaligned bite affects your dental health.
What Are the Benefits of Teeth Alignment?
Even though many people view a misaligned bite as a cosmetic need, there are significant health reasons for correcting it. Proper teeth alignment will not only give you a beautiful smile but will also lower your chances of developing cavities.
Often called malocclusions, misaligned teeth are more challenging to clean with simple flossing and brushing techniques. The alignment causes your dental structure to form hard-to-reach spaces. Dental aids such as Fluoride will not penetrate these areas leading to a higher risk of tooth decay. It encourages the build-up of bacteria, dirt, and other debris, making the situation worse. Food contaminants can get stuck under or between the gums, causing chronic gum infections.
On the other hand, a misaligned bite also causes speech impediments and chewing difficulties. Though dentists may repair mild misalignments with veneers or crowns, the majority of malocclusions require orthodontic treatment.
What Dental Issues Require Orthodontic Treatment?
Essentially, there are no two identical smiles. Each person has a different dental structure, including its size and shape. However, it is crucial to be aware of how to examine your bite. By doing so, you can be sure to avoid unnecessary complications in your oral health.
To see if you have proper teeth alignment, a dentist will examine your bite under different perspectives:
Teeth crowding happens when your jaw doesn’t have enough room for other teeth to fit comfortably.
Teeth shifting or premature jaw development may be due to spaces and gaps present between teeth.
Misalignment between the lower and upper jaws.
When your upper teeth stick out over the lower teeth
If your lower teeth appear to be more prominent than the upper teeth, you may have an underbite.
Open bites happen when a specific area on your teeth does not contact its adjacent teeth.
How Are Malocclusions Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of improper teeth alignment typically happens through a routine dental exam. While your dentist carefully examines your teeth, imaging scans, including dental x-rays, are performed. If a clear sign of malocclusion is detected, the dentist further identifies its classification.
This type of malocclusion shows a typical bite that does not pose a severe misalignment. As the most common type of malocclusion, the upper molars overlap with your lower molars but show signs of crowding or gaps in between your teeth.
A class two malocclusion is a severe overbite where significant overlapping happens. This condition is also known as retrognathism.
During a class three malocclusion, there appears to be a severe underbite. A person with this condition seems to have their lower jaw protruding forward.
How to Correct Teeth Alignment?
Aligners or braces are some of the most common teeth straightening options. Depending on your budget and dental needs, choosing between the two have their advantages and disadvantages.
Also known as contemporary braces, this orthodontic treatment focuses on the alignment of your front teeth. It allows a much faster restoration as compared to full orthodontic braces. Modern braces may be the most straightforward remedy you need to fix your teeth alignment, especially for protruding, rotated, cramped, or slightly gapped front teeth.
On average, modern braces take about four to six months for a complete procedure. They are also less expensive than aligners and are an ideal option for relapsed orthodontic treatments. If you are looking for a cost-effective solution to correct your crossbites and align your front teeth, this treatment option is for you.
Are you uncomfortable with brackets and wires covering your smile? Perhaps a clear aligner is what you need. Clear aligners are custom-moulded trays uniquely made to restore your dental structure. It closely resembles a mouthguard and is less distinguishable than typical braces.
During your treatment, your dentist will require you to wear your aligners for twenty-two hours a day. It means you can only remove it when washing, brushing, flossing, and eating to get a significant improvement on your dental structure.
Unlike traditional braces, a patient could only wear their clear aligners for two weeks. Once it reaches its two-week period, it needs to be replaced and switched out for another tray. Replacement allows more room for your teeth to improve their alignment. However, modifying your braces from time to time is more expensive than contemporary braces.
How Can Misaligned Teeth Be Prevented?
Since several factors can cause a malocclusion, prevention can be quite a challenge. Aside from many environmental factors, most cases of misaligned bites are known to be hereditary.
On the other hand, early detection of misalignment can help minimise the length and seriousness of the treatment. Therefore, it is best to visit your dentist regularly to see if there any changes in the development of your teeth’ structure.
Hereditary Influence of Malocclusion.
(October 2019). Guide to Tooth Alignment for Adults.
Malocclusion of Teeth.
Staff, H. (October 2020). Malocclusion and Orthodontics.