For some people, going to the dentist is scary business and often times doesn't top their to-do list. However, going to the dentist and seeking out the expertise of a professional orthodontist is important to your overall health.

There are a number of reasons to visit an orthodontist, but most commonly, people find it necessary when they notice a misalignment of their teeth or a pronounced bite in any direction. These issues are not only uncomfortable and aesthetically displeasing, but they also can reduce the effectiveness of your teeth at chewing, which can lead to jaw pain, gingivitis, tooth decay and cavities.

There are a number of bad bites that can affect your mouth and teeth:

  • Crossbite: This type of misalignment is indicated when a person's top teeth rest either inside or outside of line with their bottom teeth. This can make it difficult to bite or chew, as molars are not working together. Additionally, it could cause significant issues with the development of the jaw as it grows.
  • Crowding: This occurs when there is too much tooth for the space that they are assigned. This could be the result of a narrow jaw or adult teeth that are significantly larger than baby teeth.
  • Open Bite – When your upper and lower teeth don't line up and meet when you bite down, this is called an open bite. This type of misalignment leaves an open space between top and bottom rows at the front of the mouth and can make it difficult to bite off food with your front teeth. This bite can also affect speech development. According to Colgate, "Because the front teeth don't share equally in the biting force, the back teeth may receive too much pressure. This makes chewing less efficient. It can lead to premature wear of the back teeth."
  • Overbite – A deep overbite occurs when the top teeth jut out significantly over the bottom teeth. In some cases, the incisors of the top row cut into the gum​ line of the bottom teeth, leaving the bottom teeth to cut into the roof of the mouth.
  • Spacing – Sometimes, adult teeth come in and are around the same size as the baby teeth, or they just don't come in at all. This can result in spacing issues between teeth. This is especially common if people have lost teeth and nearby teeth have shifted without their counterparts to keep them in line.
  • Underbite – The opposite of an overbite, this instance is indicated by the bottom teeth sticking out beyond the front teeth of the top jaw. This can mean problems with the jawbone's alignment and, in some cases, requires surgery.

The good news is that all of these issues are fixable as long as you get the appropriate treatment in time. Seeking out an orthodontist at the first sign of dental abnormality is key. With early diagnosis, professionals will be able to get you a solution for your discomfort.

For many of the issues above, most orthodontists will suggest braces or retainers to correct teeth alignment and slowly shift the jaw back into place. The administration of these treatments usually happens in two stages- the active and retention phases – and can take anywhere from months to years to repair. But with different materials for braces and retainers, its easy to treat dental problems in a discrete way that hardly anyone will notice.

For more information on clear braces for adults or kids, or to set up a consultation appointment, contact Upper Eastside Orthodontists.

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