A normal “bite” typically position the upper teeth just slightly forward of the lower teeth. Not many people have a perfect bite, or occlusion.
A “bad bite” otherwise known as malocclusion, is a misalignment or incorrect relation between your top and bottom jaw. When your teeth do not come together properly, your ability to chew and speak normally is impacted. As a result, your teeth may experience wear or grinding.
What causes a bad bite?
There are many reasons why people’s teeth come into their mouths in a less than ideal arrangement. Patients often ask how they can correct their crooked, overlapping, or twisted teeth. Some people’s jaws develop too small for their incoming teeth, which crowds the teeth together and causes them to shift. In other cases, a person’s jaws don’t develop uniformly, resulting in upper and lower jaws that are disproportionate in size. This can occur either as an overbite, when there is excessive protrusion of the upper jaw, or an underbite, when the lower jaw protrudes forward causing the lower jaw and teeth to extend out beyond the upper teeth.
Most often crowded and crooked teeth, overbites, and underbites are inherited traits. However, there is growing evidence to support that factors such as childhood breathing/sleep disorders affect the size and position of your developing jaws. Childhood habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use beyond the age of three, and prolonged use of a bottle can, and usually does lead to misaligned tooth development. Other causes of misaligned bites are early loss of baby or adult teeth; improper fit of dental crowns or fillings, periodontal disease (gum disease); traumatic injury to the head or mouth or tumors of the mouth or jaw.
Types of Malocclusions (Bad Bites)
Malocclusion (Class l)
In a class I malocclusion, the molars line up properly but the front teeth do not. This type of bite can cause cause jaw and muscle pain, uneven tooth wear and cracking.
Malocclusion (Class ll)
In a class ll malocclusion (overbite), the front teeth are protruded forward, causing the molars to sit forward as well. As a result, it can cause difficulty with eating and uneven tooth wear.
Malocclusion (Class lll)
In a class lll malocclusion, the lower jaw is positioned forward. This bad bite is also known as an underbite, and can cause difficulty with eating and speaking and uneven tooth wear.
Malocclusion Treatment Options
During your comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Lepore and his team will take digital photos and dental x-rays where he will perform an examination and determine what bite you have.
- Orthodontics – Traditional Braces
- Orthodontics – Clear Aligner Therapy
- Early orthodontic intervention in children called Growth Modification
- Palatal Expander
- Lingual Frenectomy
- Restorative dentistry such as crowns to reshape the teeth
- Removal of teeth to correct overcrowding
- Jaw surgery to reposition your upper and lower jaws.
Left untreated, having teeth in incorrect positions may lead to tooth decay because the teeth are harder to clean.
Schedule an evaluation today
If you’re unhappy with your smile due to the position of your teeth, or if your ability to chew and speak properly is being affected by a bad bite, give Dr. Lepore a call for an evaluation. We will be able to determine the next course of action to position your jaw and teeth into proper alignment.