Many of our Mission Viejo area patients assume that orthodontic treatment is only suitable for straightening teeth. While straighter teeth and a more attractive smile are benefits of orthodontic treatment, they aren’t the only reason you or your child should receive treatment.
Malocclusion or “bad bite” is a common reason to seek orthodontic treatment even when the teeth appear to be straight. In general, malocclusion occurs is an abnormal alignment between the top and bottom jaws, but the term is inclusive of several bite alignment issues. Proper orthodontic treatment will address malocclusion and other oral health issues, including:
- Overbite – the upper jaw overlaps the lower
- Underbite – the lower jaw overlaps the upper
- Crossbite – the upper teeth rest inside the lower teeth instead of outside when the bite is closed
- Crowded teeth – teeth are too close together
- Large spaces between teeth – gaps appear between teeth
- Tooth alignment – teeth may be rotated from center or protrude outward or inward leading to a crossbite
- Protrusion of front teeth – teeth that stick forward more than they should to align properly over the lower jaw
- Speech difficulties – many types of malocclusion can obstruct proper speech patterns
- Poor facial profile – jaw misalignment can deform the facial profile
Although the teeth may appear straight, issues with the bite still need to be corrected in order to avoid dental health issues later on. Orthodontics will improve the fit of teeth in the structure of the mouth for proper bite function. Leaving these bite issues uncorrected can lead to:
- Gum disease
- Difficulty chewing
- Muscle soreness
- Jaw joint discomfort
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Worn teeth
- Bone loss
Although the patient may not be symptomatic of these difficulties yet, a misaligned bite will generally cause the patient to begin exhibiting these complications within a few years. Early orthodontic treatment is the best way to avoid the development of these larger health issues.
Ensuring that each patient has a healthy bite is more important than correcting aesthetic concerns like straightening teeth. During the orthodontic evaluation, Dr. Makhoul examines the full health of the mouth and supporting structures to answer questions such as: Does the tongue protrude through the front teeth? Are the teeth and gums healthy? Does the patient have difficulty breathing or speaking?
A fully functioning bite – with an ideal meeting of the top and bottom teeth – will ensure that the patient is not pained by chewing and will not begin suffering from TMJ related headaches and muscle strain.
Would you like to discuss orthodontic treatment to correct bite issues? Please contact the office of E. M. Makhoul, DDS, online or call (949) 596-0296 to schedule your consultation.
Dr. Makhoul welcomes orthodontic patients from in and around Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, and other communities in the Orange County area.