Is your bite worse than your bark?

Your dental bite is so important, not only for the health of your mouth but also for other medical conditions.  

Your bite is the way the upper and lower teeth meet.  If they don’t meet well, this is known as a malocclusion.  In the case of both children and adults, there are different types of bite problem.

The Crossbite 

When you close your mouth fully, your upper teeth fit inside of your lower teeth, forcing your lower jaw forwards.  If not corrected, the jaw will grow lopsided and teeth enamel will be worn away.

Underbite

The lower teeth fit inside of your upper teeth, and if not corrected, will create a bulldog appearance, along with worn teeth and stress on the joints of the jaw. 

Open Bite – Anterior

When the back teeth are together, and the upper and lower teeth do not overlap.  This arises from excessive sucking or mouth breathing.

Open Bite – Posterior

This happens when the front teeth meet but the back teeth do not.

In either case, if these bites are not corrected, problems with swallowing and speech may occur.

Deep Bite

The upper front teeth cover the lower teeth too much.  This means that the upper teeth can bite into the lower gums and the lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth.  There is the possibility of gum disease and early wear to the enamel.

Crowding

There is not enough space for the teeth, arising from inadequate space in the jaw or simply big teeth.  Teeth which overlap rotate or look crooked.

Teeth are hard to clean and cavities are more likely – as is gum disease.

Spacing

This might be because teeth are missing or undersized, the jaws are too big, or a combination of the two.

Consequences are cavities and gum disease.  

Protrusion

Front teeth stick out and the upper jaw is too far forward or the lower jaw too far back.  The teeth may have grown at an angle.  The condition may be a combination of these.  

Upper teeth in such cases have a propensity to break, it is difficult to close the mouth and lips – leading to dried out oral tissue, speech problems, a long, narrow face and tooth decay.

In Conclusion

In a child, these problems will not self correct as the child grows.  Untreated, the problems may become more pronounced.   Whether the problems with bite have been spotted in a child or an adult, it is never too soon to consult a dentist.  Initial consultations are usually free, and you have everything to gain from receiving professional, expert advice. 

There are answers to frequently asked questions here.

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