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What you should know about bite misalignment

Malocclusion, more colloquially known as bite misalignment, can result in difficulties beyond a crooked smile. It can cause speech and chewing difficulties, increase the risk of dental decay and even result in jaw strain that causes headaches and other discomfort.

Bite misalignment is a condition that we see often in our Calgary dental clinic and there are several orthodontic treatments available. If you think you or your child has a malocclusion, here’s what you should know.


Types
There are a number of different ways in which teeth may be misaligned. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Crowding and spacing difficulties. Either not enough or too much space between teeth. Crowding can result in an impacted tooth (one that can’t break through the gum normally). 
  • Open bite. The front teeth don’t overlap the bottom teeth, resulting in an opening into the mouth. 
  • Crossbite. Similar to an underbite, except the complete row of bottom teeth (not just the front teeth) extend over the upper teeth. 
  • Overjet. The upper front teeth don’t just overextend past the bottom teeth, they push out perpendicular to them. 
  • Overbite. An excessive overlay of the top teeth over the bottom teeth. In extreme cases, the bottom teeth may touch the palate. 
  • Underbite. The bite is reversed so that the front bottom teeth are pushed beyond the front top teeth.

Symptoms
Often, malocclusion is asymptomatic, but it can sometimes result in:

  • Lisps and other speech difficulties
  • Discomfort when chewing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Frequent biting of the tongue or cheeks
  • Altered facial appearance

Causes

In the vast majority of cases, malocclusion is hereditary. In some instances a congenital disorder like cleft lip and palate is involved. However, injury and early childhood behaviours (thumb sucking, pacifier use, prolonged bottle feeding, etc.) may also result in a misaligned bite.

Treatments
Orthodontics of one kind or another are typically required to correct malocclusion. The correct solution for you or your child may involve one or more of the following:

  • Braces 
  • Invisalign
  • Retainers and other types of dental devices that can help straighten teeth
  • Reshaping, boding or capping of teeth
  • Extraction of one or more teeth
  • Surgery to reshape the jawbone (rare)

Orthodontics in Calgary

The first step in correcting a misaligned bite is to visit a qualified dentist that provides orthodontic treatment. At Skyview Ranch Dental Clinic we offer orthodontics for both children and adults. No matter the age of the patient, the caring dentists, hygienists and staff at our dental clinic will ensure the visit is a relaxed one.Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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