At Thacker Orthodontics, we’ve seen oral health challenges of all shapes and sizes. One of the things that patients come in for regularly is pain or struggles to bite down properly. What many people don’t realize is just how important a healthy bite is to your overall health! The way that your jaw works and the way you chew and talk are all affected by your bite. You may not even know you need to adjust your bite, but that’s where we come in!
Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan are both experts in diagnosing bite challenges and finding solutions with orthodontic care. Let’s spend a little time discussing their top tips for how to know if you have an issue with your bite, and what to do about it!
What Causes Bite Problems?
Doctors and dentists agree that there are a few causes for bite issues. Some things, like genetics, facial structure, and injury, cannot be predicted or controlled. Other factors that we call
myofunctional habits are usually developed in infancy or childhood, and can sometimes impact how the jaw grows. These include certain feeding habits, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and thumb or pacifier sucking.
What causes bite problems is less important than taking care of it as early as possible. To mitigate other problems in the future it’s best to come into the orthodontist’s office for treatment!
What Do We Mean by Bite Problems?
There are a few different kinds of bites that can create problems for your oral health:
When there is not enough space along the jaw for all of your teeth, causing them to crowd together.
Misplaced Midline Bite
When the center of your upper teeth does not match the center of your lower teeth.
When the lower jaw is wider than the upper jaw.
When the upper teeth stick out farther than the lower teeth.
When the upper and lower teeth do not connect when you bite down.
When the lower teeth stick out past the upper teeth when you bite.
What Problems Can Bite Issues Cause?
Unfortunately, a misaligned bite can have a big impact on your overall health and quality of life. Depending on which symptoms manifest or how often, it can sometimes lead to real trouble Here are a few of the most common problems.
Jaw and Facial Pain
When there is added pressure or stress to the muscles of the jaw and face because of bite issues, this can lead to cramping and pain in those muscles. TMJ is one of the common types of pain, and those who have experienced it, you know that it’s no fun. Definitely discuss your pain with Dr. Jim or Dr. MaryEvan before it gets worse and makes normal life routines like eating and talking difficult.
Being able to speak clearly is something that many of us take for granted. But some people with misaligned bites struggle with lisps and other speech disorders well into adulthood.
Wearing Down Teeth
Teeth grinding, or clashing between the upper and lower rows of your teeth is not natural. If you find that your teeth often clash, then this can be a sign of an improper bite. In the long run, if you continue wearing down your teeth, you can end up with pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
If your bite is misaligned or your jaw is in pain, it can be difficult to chew as thoroughly as you need to for proper health. Chewing promotes saliva production which is an important part of breaking down food for digestion. And when you attempt to swallow too large chunks of your food, it can end up hurting your stomach, and digestion, or be a choking hazard.
Difficulty breathing can happen when your jaw impacts or narrows your nasal passages. When it’s harder to breathe through your nose, you may end up breathing more through your mouth by default. This can be harmful to your health as it promotes snoring, sleep apnea, and dry mouth. A dry mouth also tends to encourage bacteria growth and tooth decay.
Treatment for Jaw Problems
If you have experienced any or all of the issues that we have mentioned above, it’s definitely time to come into Thacker Orthodontics to find a treatment plan that will set your jaw and bite straight. Here are our most common recommendations:
Metal braces are often the first line of defense when it comes to a jaw problem. They might not be the most aesthetically pleasing option, but they are super effective at shifting teeth and even jaw bones when used alongside other devices. They pair well with rubber bands and palatal expanders, so you will soon be well on your way to better alignment!
If you just can’t handle the idea of a flashy metal grin for a few months or years, then clear braces might be the right fit for you. They are made from ceramic that is the same color as your natural teeth so all the wires and brackets will blend in seamlessly with your smile while still giving you the effective treatment you need.
Invisalign is one of our favorite treatments that we recommend to our patients, but it works better for cases that are only mild to medium complexity. If your bite issues are on the less extreme side, then Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan will be sure to suggest it as one of the easier and more convenient options!
Are You Ready for A Healthy Bite?
We are ready for you at Thacker Orthodontics! Our offices in Hillsboro and Cincinnati are open to new clients now and we want to give you the treatment solutions you need to have a happier and healthier smile. Don’t suffer from any more painful symptoms and get your treatment started soon. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation!