Have you had issues with your jaw over the years? Ever struggled with biting into food? Does your jaw lock or hurt when you chew or talk? These are signs that you may have an issue with your bite and could benefit from orthodontic intervention! Orthodontics isn’t just about making a pretty smile, it’s also about aligning your jaw so that your bite is healthy and comfortable for many years to come!
Let’s learn more together from Dr. Adam Miller’s expert advice!
What Causes Bite Problems?
First things first, it’s important to understand where bite issues come from. Some are completely unpredictable like genetics or injury to the face. Others are from what we call myofunctional habits like bottle feeding, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, or thumb sucking. These are often habits picked up in childhood that sometimes impact the shape of the teeth or jaw as you develop.
Regardless of how they come about, it’s important to understand which kinds of bite issues you may have, and how to treat them. It’s also helpful to start young and bring your child in for assessment starting around age seven. This can help Dr. Adam Miller catch any early problems and start treatment sooner to solve big issues before they even start! But it’s also possible for adults to get the treatment they need, so don’t hesitate to reach out to Orthodontic Associates to find out more.
What Do We Mean by Bite Problems?
Here are a few of the most common bite issues that our patients come in for:
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.
When the lower jaw is longer than the size and length of the upper jaw.
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.
What Problems Can Bite Issues Cause?
This is only the shortlist of potential problems, which is why we think it’s so important for bite issues to be treated as soon as possible! It’s always better to get started now to mitigate other, bigger problems later on.
Wearing Down Teeth
When your teeth clash with each other when you bite, it can wear down your tooth enamel. This can cause pain and sensitivity as the nerves in your teeth are slowly exposed, as well as open your teeth up to damage, decay, and infection. This can sometimes lead to tooth loss in the worst cases, so grinding and wearing on teeth is definitely something to take seriously.
Chewing is obviously a really important part of being alive–enjoying food is important for our physical as well as mental and emotional health! If your jaw problems make it difficult to chew food, it means poorer digestion, choking hazards, gas, bloating, and constipation in some cases.
Believe it or not, your bite alignment can sometimes impact your ability to breathe! A misaligned bite can narrow your nasal passages, leading to more mouth breathing which can impact sleep with snoring and sleep apnea. It also creates a dry mouth which can encourage bad bacteria to grow and cause tooth decay.
Jaw pain from stressed and pressured muscles in the jaw can be chronic and create problems with eating, drinking, talking, and more. This kind of pain is usually difficult to treat without interventions like orthodontics to create alignment, reduce chronic pain, and make it possible for patients to live a normal life. If you notice occasional jaw pain, it’s probably a good idea to get it checked out by an orthodontist sooner rather than later to prevent bigger problems from appearing later on.
Treatment for Jaw Problems
At Orthodontic Associates, we offer a few different effective treatment options!
Braces are the original orthodontic treatment and they are still commonly used today. They are super effective at treating jaw and bite problems and are often recommended by Dr. Adam Miller for patients who need jaw support.
If you need braces to treat your jaw issues but aren’t on board with a metallic grin, consider clear braces instead. They are still effective at shifting your smile and jaw while blending into your smile with tooth-colored ceramic wires and brackets.
For people that have mild to medium complex cases, you can use clear aligners to do the shifting work that you need. Invisalign retainers work as a series of retainers that you will wear for about a week or two at a time, and then switch to new retainers to continue your aligning process. These aren’t suitable for every patient with jaw problems, but they are effective for some, and are convenient and easy to use!
It’s Time For Your Smile Transformation!
You’ve been reading, researching, and preparing for orthodontics, now is the time to get started on your own smile transformation! Give one of our offices in New Port Richey, Bradenton, or St. Petersburg a call to set up a free consultation with Dr. Adam Miller to find out the best solution for your smile! We can’t wait to see you in our office soon!