There are a million different occasions where you smile, which puts a lot of importance on the condition of your teeth. When they’re crooked or misaligned, your smile can seem off, and you might be less likely to show it off in some social circumstances. No one should have to go through life like that.

A malocclusion is any type of alignment problem with your teeth, and though it can affect the appearance of your smile, it can also have long-term effects on your dental health and oral hygiene. Here are the six types that we treat here at Tribeca Dental Care.

1. Underbite

When your lower teeth extend past your uppers, you’ve got what’s known as an underbite. This condition can manifest in adults who engaged in certain childhood behaviors, such as thumb-sucking or the use of a pacifier. Genetics may also predispose some individuals to this type of malocclusion. Typically, you can see if you have it just by looking.

An underbite can be both minor or severe. Though many people believe it to be a cosmetic problem, it can actually affect the way you chew your food. Extreme underbites can even cause tremendous pain or speech difficulty if left unaddressed. If caught early on, there’s a much greater chance of correcting the problem before it becomes more serious.

If the underbite isn’t detected until the person has reached adulthood, there are still options to remedy it. With Invisalign, patients can typically see improvement in about a year of regular use. This discreet option can gradually realign your teeth to correct the problem without surgery.

2. Overbite

An overbite is the opposite of the underbite; it’s characterized by upper teeth that come out further than the lower ones. Similar to its counterpart, children who suck their thumbs or use pacifiers past the age of three increase their chances of developing a malocclusion like this. Consistently pressing the tongue against the front teeth is another risk factor, along with genetics.

While this orientation is normal, excessive overbite can cause you to feel self-conscious. If the issue is severe enough, it can create intense wear and tear on certain teeth, resulting in painful chewing and other eating difficulties. You may also sustain damage to your gums or experience trouble breathing.

Positioning your teeth properly is done with a long-term alignment process. You can use Invisalign to minimize the conspicuousness of braces; these are often molded to fit your teeth precisely, so they’re comfortable and easy to wear. Over time, regular use should help your teeth settle back into a healthier and more aesthetic arrangement.

3. Crossbite

A crossbite is remarkably similar to an underbite or overbite, but it is less common than both of them. When both your top and bottom palates are out of alignment, your teeth can crisscross when you bite down. Usually, this is a problem stemming from abnormal growth of adult teeth. Your mouth may be too small to accommodate the new teeth after the baby ones have fallen out, and your jaw has to adjust accordingly.

Since your teeth are so uneven in a crossbite, you can cause significant damage to the teeth the more you bite down. This may result in cracking or chipping, and you may even experience bleeding gums and other painful conditions.

Like other forms of misaligned teeth, a crossbite responds well to Invisalign. Though it may take longer to correct this problem than more minor under or overbites, you can see a positive outcome if you stick with it. Because you can remove the trays as you need to, it’s not difficult to keep up with treatment.

4. Crowded Teeth

There are some instances where the patient’s mouth is too small to fit all of his or her teeth. As a result, the teeth are forced to press against each other to fit. This is known as overcrowding, and it presents some unique challenges to other malocclusions.

Since the teeth may have to overlap, you end up with some tricky nooks and crannies to clean around. Flossing and brushing can become extraordinarily difficult, and plaque may build up around any areas that you miss. This can lead to problems like gum disease or tooth decay.

Regular wear of Invisalign trays can help move your teeth apart, so you no longer have those overlaps. Fixing crowded teeth not only makes it easier to keep up with dental hygiene, but it can also improve the look of your smile, giving you more confidence.

5. Gap Teeth

On the same wavelength as crowded teeth, your mouth may actually be too big for the number of teeth that you have. To fill the space, you may end up with small gaps between several of your teeth. The most common way this occurs is with the two front teeth.

With gaps, it is much, much easier to get food stuck between your teeth. Patients who aren’t super diligent with flossing and brushing may see more cavities as a result. Exposed gums can also become tender, which leads to pain and discomfort. Gaps are also extremely noticeable, so they can trigger low self-esteem in some patients.

You can still use Invisalign for best results with gap teeth. You’ll wear the specially fitted trays for a set period of time, and we can adjust during the duration as the need arises. The beauty of this option is that it can realign your teeth without anyone else realizing you’re wearing it.

6. Open Bite

Teeth that do not meet when you bite down create an open bite. This can happen in the back of your mouth or the front, and it’s referred to as posterior and anterior, respectively. Poor childhood habits can be the culprit again here.

An open bite can be a painful and frustrating condition to endure. You may discover that eating some foods is more challenging than it should be, and issues with speech can also occur. The biggest risk with open bites is the possibility of your gums absorbing your teeth. This can lead to permanent damage over time.

Like all previously discussed malocclusions, you can avoid surgery with this ailment as well. With some patience, Invisalign can do the job here too, so that you can achieve a healthier smile without dealing with invasive procedures or unappealing braces. This treatment is designed to adjust any misaligned teeth, so it can be just as effective with open bites.

Sound Familiar? Schedule an Appointment At Tribeca Dental Care Today!

If you suspect you may have any of these malocclusions, don’t wait any longer to reach out for help. At Tribeca Dental Care, we want to help you avoid long-term problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay, while resolving any challenges you may have with speaking, eating, or swallowing. With the right intervention, you can experience better dental health in the long run.

Contact our dental experts today to schedule an appointment and find out how our Invisalign treatments can help you get the smile you always imagined. You won’t be afraid to let people see your teeth when they’re aligned exactly as they should be.





Image Credit: g-stockstudio/Getty Images

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