Your teeth are important to your health and well-being. That’s a fact.
But if your teeth aren’t aligned properly, they can’t perform the functions they’re designed for.
Why is alignment important?
- Misalignment could mean that an underbite, overbite, or crowded teeth are making it hard for you to chew your food properly.
- Misalignment may mean that you need to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.
- Misalignment may result in speech problems or could alter the appearance of your face.
Occlusion is the term used to refer to your tooth alignment. Your teeth should fit easily within your mouth without crowding. It is sometimes called your “bite.”
Malocclusion is the term for the misalignment of your teeth; the imperfect positioning of your teeth when your jaw is closed. Malocclusion is an alignment problem but it can also lead to serious oral health complications.
Alignment of your upper teeth is needed to prevent you from biting your lips and cheeks. Alignment of the lower teeth is needed to protect your tongue from being bitten.
Most malocclusions are inherited making prevention difficult.
However, there are some habits or conditions that may change the structure and shape of the jaw, such as:
- Injury to the jaw
- Cleft lip or palate
- Prolonged bottle feeding
- Pacifier use after the age of three
- Thumb sucking into early childhood
- Abnormally shaped or missing teeth
Most mild malocclusions do not require treatment. Severe malocclusions should be treated to prevent progression to TMJ (Temporomandibular Jaw) disorders.
Malocclusions can be treated with oral surgery in combination with orthodontic treatments.
Teeth may be removed to correct overcrowding, the jaw may be reshaped or shortened. Patients may be fitted with braces to aid in achieving their perfect “bite.”
Remember: Early detection is key in determining the type of and length of treatment – the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome.
Do you have questions about your “bite’? We can help!
Call to book a consultation appointment with Dr. Wassenaar, today: 250-398-8411.