If you are experiencing tooth or jaw pain, headaches, sleep apnea, or similar issues, you may be surprised to learn that these ailments could be pointing to a misaligned bite. Your bite is the alignment of your upper and lower teeth. 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 Brady 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 effective 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 issues 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 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. Patrick Brady and his experienced team in Winnetka can utilize many different individualized treatment plans to help align your bite just the way you need.
There are different classifications for a misaligned bite determined by the positioning of your upper and lower jaws and teeth and how both the upper and lower relate to each other.
This is the most common misalignment and occurs when there is overcrowding or spacing between the teeth, but the overall jaw positioning does not affect the ability to bite.
This occurs when there is severe overlapping of the upper teeth and jaw and is most commonly known as an overbite.
This 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. This is also 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. Brady will conduct an initial examination visually. He will ask some questions about your oral health and background to understand your unique situation better. Dr. Brady will then take panoramic x-rays and intraoral scans to get a better view of your teeth, gums, roots, and jawbone. And he will also take mouth impressions 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
We know you’ll get the best smile and most enjoyable treatment experience if you get personalized and cutting-edge care. If Dr. Brady 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 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, additional elastic bands may be used to apply pressure for achieving better alignment. After your treatment process and removal of your braces, 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 palate 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 the 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 is having trouble speaking, eating, or sleeping. To avoid the likelihood of needing jaw surgery later in life, Brady Orthodontics recommends starting your child’s orthodontic relationship and treatment early. 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 maybe that’s a good thing. Having properly aligned teeth and jaws can mean so much for your health, and ensuring this early alignment 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 esthetic facial symmetry can be remedied by treating the alignment of your teeth and jaws.
For your perfect smile AND aligned bite, Trust Brady Orthodontics!
When it comes to expert orthodontic treatment in a modern and comfortable environment, you can’t do better than Brady Orthodontics in Winnetka. Dr. Brady will create a personalized treatment plan and provide unmatched care from your first appointment to last. Since orthodontics is his primary and only specialty, Dr. Brady and his expert team have the experience necessary to give you the best in treatment, costs, and efficiency as you work to align your jaw and smile!
There’s never been a better time to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, and we are ready to help you get the results your smile deserves. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation here at Brady Orthodontics. There is no pressure or obligation to enter a treatment plan but great individualized information to help you decide what is right for your smile.