Orthodontics is an advanced branch of dentistry that focuses on the positioning of teeth and jaws. The benefits of properly aligned teeth and jaws include prettier smiles, healthy teeth and confidence. Many confuse the roles of a dentist and orthodontist. To make it clear, if you have the following dental problems, you need orthodontic treatment.
When the lower front teeth overlap over the upper front teeth, it is referred to as underbite. Causes of underbite includes a dental condition where the lower jaw grows longer than the upper jaw and causes an extended chin. If left untreated it can lead to other symptoms like headaches, jaw and joint pain, difficulty in chewing, wearing of enamel as well as tooth decay.
When the upper front teeth overlap the lower teeth, you have a condition called an overbite. Some extent of overbite is healthy. When the overbite is too little or too much, it requires orthodontic treatment. Overbite can lead to unhealthy teeth wearing, low self-confidence and even jaw pain.
For normal bites, upper teeth come down slightly in front of lower teeth. Sometimes teeth in the upper or lower arch lean outwards or inwards so that they misalign with teeth of the other arch. This can happen if jaws are in an abnormal position or when teeth deviate from their position. Crossbites can cause teeth grinding, cosmetic issues and receding gum lines.
When you close your mouth, upper and lower teeth should make contact. If the front teeth fail to make contact, it is called an open bite. Habits like tongue thrusting, thumb sucking and use of pacifiers at an early age can cause this condition.
The midlines of upper and lower front teeth usually align. If any midline deviates, it is a misplaced midline. It makes smiles look asymmetrical.
Crowding and spacing
If all the teeth cannot fit the jaw or permanent teeth grow before removal of milk teeth, crowding occurs. This leads to difficulty in cleaning which can cause tooth decay, gum disease and difficulty in chewing. Spacing is the opposite, it leaves spaces in the gum. Small or missing teeth may leave spaces between them. This can cause gum and cosmetic problems.
Upon detection of any of the above conditions, consult an orthodontist without delay for immediate treatment. It will increase the chances of successful treatment and prevent any other health problems that could arise when these issues become worse.