Achieving the perfect smile might be what orthodontics is primarily known for, but that’s not the only reason people look into orthodontic treatment these days. No one enjoys headaches, tooth or jaw pain, or sleep apnea, but it might require some time and attention once you learn that these ailments could be pointing to a misaligned bite.
Your bite is the alignment of how your upper and lower teeth fit together. Even if your smile appears healthy, you could have other oral issues related to your unique bite. When considering your oral health, make sure you weigh more than just how straight your teeth are to ensure you’re getting the whole picture.
Here at Sohn Orthodontics, we know straight teeth are easier to keep clean, they improve your bite and function, and they create an attractive smile that lasts a lifetime. We want your whole experience to be informative but practical so let’s look at some of the benefits of an aligned bite below.
A malocclusion is simply a misalignment of teeth, making things like eating and brushing tricky. If left untreated, this can cause immense pain and more issues like digestion and sleep problems later in life. But where did my misalignment come from? A malocclusion can be caused by genetics and congenital disabilities, injuries, childhood habits, such as thumb sucking, and even inadequate or ineffective previous dentistry treatments. Mild misalignment is very common and often does not lead to other issues for most people. For some, though, it can be a complicated process to amend. The good news is that Dr. Jacqueline Sohn and her experienced teams in Bridgeville can utilize many different individualized treatment plans to help align your bite just the way you need.
Different classifications for a misaligned bite are determined by the positioning of your upper and lower jaws and teeth and how both the upper and lower ones relate to each other.
This class is the most common misalignment and occurs when tooth crowding or spacing between the teeth, but the overall jaw positioning does not affect the bite.
This class occurs with severe overlapping of the upper teeth and jaw, most commonly known as an overbite.
This class occurs when the lower jaw is much larger than the upper jaw, causing you to see more of the lower teeth during a closed bite, commonly called an underbite.
Depending on the severity of your bite issue to be resolved, there are numerous ways to address misalignment. To begin, Dr. Sohn will conduct an initial examination visually. She will ask some questions about your oral health and background to understand your unique situation better. Then the doctor will take panoramic x-rays and intraoral photos to get a better view of your teeth, gums, roots, and jawbone. And she may also take mouth impressions or an intraoral scan to get a better idea of your bite. If the overcrowding is severe, extractions may be necessary for better results in your overall treatment. Your orthodontist will create a customized treatment plan based on your unique needs, considering all of this data and information.
Treating a Misaligned Bite
At Sohn Orthodontics, we take pride in making the process of aligning your bite as comfortable as possible. Successful treatment isn’t just about receiving professional and gentle care. Your doctor should have your best interests at heart, and that is what we strive for each and every day. If Dr. Sohn determines treatment is necessary for your misaligned bite, you will have a few options depending on the severity and class of your misalignment. Some standard treatment options include the following.
Braces are the most commonly used treatment in aligning your teeth and jaws. This method uses metal or clear brackets that are carefully applied to the outside faces of your teeth and connected by a strong but delicate wire. An orthodontist will slowly tighten this wire to make minor adjustments throughout your treatment process, bringing the teeth and jaw into optimal alignment as quickly and as painlessly as possible. In some instances, Dr. Sohn may use additional elastic bands to apply pressure for achieving better alignment. After your treatment process is over and your braces are removed, you will likely then begin wearing a retainer to ensure your new adjustments have time to become permanent below the surface and keep your new smile perfect, as well.
Upper Jaw Expander (Palate Expander)
Another option for treating particular alignment issues is the upper jaw expander or the palatal expander. This method is most commonly used to treat an underbite, sometimes referred to as a crossbite. During this treatment, a metal appliance is positioned on the roof of the mouth and attached to your back molar teeth. They are joined by a screw in the center, tightened slowly over time with a special key to apply tension to your upper jaw. During this treatment process, your upper jaw will widen, aligning your bite.
While this is not the most common option, jaw surgery may be necessary to correct your bite alignment in some rare cases where the patient has trouble speaking, eating, or sleeping. To avoid the likelihood of needing jaw surgery later in life, Sohn Orthodontics recommends starting your child’s orthodontic relationship and treatment early as many alignment issues are easier to solve when your palate is softer, and the bones and tissues are already moving due to normal growth.
The Benefits of an Aligned Bite
Maybe straight teeth aren’t the only goal of orthodontics, and perhaps that’s a good thing. Having properly aligned teeth and jaws can mean so much for your health, and ensuring this alignment early can prevent excessive wear and strain on your jaws and muscles to help you avoid joint pain and disorders like TMJ later. Proper alignment makes brushing and flossing less tricky, reducing the risk of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease, like gingivitis. Speech problems and even aesthetic facial symmetry can be remedied by treating the alignment of your teeth and jaws.
For your perfect smile AND aligned bite, Trust Sohn Orthodontics!
At Sohn Orthodontics, we treat our patients like we would treat our own families. That means our supportive Bridgeville team is passionate about working together to achieve your smile goals.
Dr. Sohn will create a personalized treatment plan just for your smile, and you’ll get an explanation for every single step. Since orthodontics is her primary and only specialty, Dr. Sohn and her expert team has the experience necessary to give you the best in treatment, costs, and efficiency as you work to align your jaw and smile!
Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and we’re here to give you the sparking confidence you’ve always wanted. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation here at Sohn Orthodontics. You’ll enjoy quick and easy appointments with flexibility and payment plans that work for you and your family’s budget.