Do You Need Orthodontic Work? Why Malocclusions Should Be Fixed

If your teeth seem slightly out of place, you may want to ask a dentist if you need orthodontic treatment. Flawed teeth positions when the jaws are at rest are known as malocclusions. If a malocclusion is incredibly slight, some dentists may say that you do not need orthodontic work unless you want to improve aesthetics.

However, some malocclusions can worsen over time, and so it may benefit you to intervene with orthodontic work. Take a look at some different malocclusion types and why they warrant treatment.

Gaps and Crowding

If you have any gaps from missing teeth, you may favor one side for chewing. This can be bad over time since you may put extra wear and tear on a few teeth. Instead of implants, you could opt for braces to pull teeth into alignment and fill in the gaps.

Instead of gaps, some people have little room in their mouth for all of their teeth. Having your wisdom teeth removed can help this issue. An orthodontist could also extract a couple of teeth to make room for the rest. However, many orthodontists use palatial expanders to make more room for crowded teeth. Crowded teeth often require orthodontic treatment because they can develop decay more easily. It's hard to floss and brush crowded teeth since the enamel is overlapping and creating difficult-to-reach nooks and crannies.

Overbites and Underbites

Overbites occur when the upper front teeth stick to out and over the bottom front teeth. Overbites tend to worsen over if a person has a tongue thrusting condition. Tongue thrusting means that you swallow while pushing your tongue between your anterior incisors. Overbites not only give you a "buck toothed" appearance, they can place undue pressure on your back teeth. As your front teeth separate, the back teeth end up taking the brunt of your chewing force. An orthodontist can help people with fixed appliances to reduce tongue thrust and braces to correct the bite.

As you can guess, underbites occur when the front teeth stick to far back and cause a patient's lower jaw to protrude. Underbites can also place more pressure on the back teeth since the front teeth do not meet. Underbites also cause TMJ issues, since the patient may try to push their lower jaw back when eating. Braces and/or oral surgery can prevent this problem and lessen strain on jaw joints.

Lateral Misalignments

Sometimes a person has an upper jaw and lower jaw that do not match when closed. This causes teeth to either be too close to the cheeks or tongue. These lateral misalignments can also cause your two front teeth to not align with your philtrum. Like the previous malocclusions, this issue can cause excess wear and tear on other teeth. In severe cases, you could damage your cheek and tongue tissues as you bite down. Orthodontic appliances, like bumpers and braces with bands, can help fix these issues.

If any of these malocclusions sound familiar, it's in your best interest to talk with your dentist about your treatment options.