7 Common Bite Problems in Adults and Children

May 31st, 2019

In orthodontics, “bite” refers to the way upper and lower teeth come together. A bad bite is called a “malocclusion." Malocclusion happens when teeth meet improperly, or they don’t meet at all. While each individual bite problem is unique, there are seven broad types of bite problems that are common in children and adults.

1. Crossbite:

When upper teeth fit inside of lower teeth. A crossbite can be caused by misalignment of teeth (including baby teeth) or a misalignment of the bone. A crossbite can affect a single tooth or groups of teeth.

Possible consequences if not corrected: The jaw shifts to one side; lopsided jaw growth; wearing down of outer layer of the tooth called “enamel”.

Posterior crossbite: If the back teeth are affected, upper teeth are to the inside of bottom teeth.

common bite problems: posterior crossbite

Anterior crossbite: If the front teeth are in crossbite, the top teeth are behind the bottom teeth.

common bite problems: anterior crossbite

 

2. Underbite

The lower jaw sits in front of the upper jaw.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Face has a “bull dog” appearance; tooth wear; stress on jaw joints.

common bite problems: underbite

 

 

 

 

3. Open bite

Anterior open bite: Occurs when the back teeth are together, and the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. This can result from excessive sucking, tongue thrusting or mouth breathing.

Posterior open bite: Occurs when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth do not.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Swallowing problems; tongue pushes through teeth when swallowing. Possible speech problems.

common bite problems - open bite

 

 

 

 

 

4. Deep bite

When the bite is closed, the upper front teeth cover the bottom teeth too much.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth can bite into lower gums; lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth. Possible gum disease, early enamel wear.

common bite problems: deep bite

 

5. Crowding

Insufficient space for the teeth. This can be a result of big teeth or inadequate space in the jaw or both. This may result in teeth that overlap, are rotated, or take on a crooked/staggered appearance.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Hard to clean; possible cavities, especially in between the teeth; gum disease.

common bite problems: crowding

 

6. Spacing

Too much space between teeth. It can result from missing teeth, undersized teeth, oversized jaws, or a combination of these conditions.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Food gets stuck in open areas. Possible cavities, gum disease.

common bite problems: spacing

 

 

 

 

 

7. Protrusion

Front teeth that stick out (“buck” teeth). Teeth may appear protrusive because the upper jaw is too far forward, the lower jaw is too far back, the teeth grew in at an angle, or a combination of these conditions. Sometimes people who have protrusive front teeth also have a deep bite.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth are prone to accidental breaking; hard to comfortably close the mouth and lips, leading to dried out oral tissues followed by tooth decay. Speech problems. Long, narrow face.

common bite problems: protrusion

 

 

 

 

 

The fact is that if any of these common bite problems exist in a child’s mouth, they likely will not self-correct. Untreated problems tend to get worse with time. Many times, the bite problems are best treated while the child is still growing, so make an appointment with an orthodontist today.  You don’t need to wait until your dentist refers you.

The goal of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite. When teeth and jaws line up in the right way, the force created to bite, or chew food is evenly distributed. A healthy bite is important for clear speech.

Here at Bright Orthodontics in Katy, Texas we can treat all these different kinds of bites. Call to schedule your complimentary exam today and come get your bite checked out.

All this information is also found on the American Association of Orthodontics.

TMD Problems and How You Can Prevent Them

May 28th, 2019

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) describe a set of conditions that involve trouble with your jaw and face muscles. They result from a problem in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinge that connects the temporal bones, in your skull in front of each ear, to your jaw. The joint enables you to talk, yawn, and chew by letting your mouth move.

TMD can be very painful and interfere with functions such as eating and speaking. This what to watch for and how to try to prevent TMD.

Risk Factors for TMD

You are at higher risk for TMD if you are a women than if you are male. The disorder is most common among adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Other risk factors for TMJ disorders include the following.

  • Arthritis in the area, making movement more difficult
  • Excessive tooth grinding, because it increases stress on the joint
  • General stress, which can lead you to clench your teeth and strain facial muscles

Symptoms of TMD

Symptoms of TMD can last for just a short while, or for several years. Seeing Dr. David Bright is important if your symptoms make it impossible for you to eat regularly or if you have unbearable pain or discomfort. The following symptoms can occur on both or one side of your face.

  • Aching or very tired facial muscles
  • Jaws that are fixed open or shut without you being able to unlock them
  • Grating or popping sounds when you chew or close or open your mouth
  • Pain in the entire area, including the mouth, jaw, neck, or shoulders, that comes on when you chew or yawn

Preventing TMD

You can try to prevent TMD by focusing on reducing risk factors. If you grind your teeth at night, ask Dr. David Bright about wearing a mouthguard. If you are overly stressed, look into ways to better manage your stress and relax your muscles. Another strategy for trying to prevent the development of TMD is to avoid chewing gum, since that puts stress on your jaw.

If you have questions about TMD, don’t hesitate to contact our Katy, Texas office.

The Top 3 Best Drinks For Your Teeth

May 24th, 2019

MANY OF THE THINGS we drink are actually pretty bad for our teeth, especially soda, fruit juice, and coffee. What options does that leave for the dental health conscious to quench their thirst? Fortunately, there are a few drinks that are much less likely to cause stains or contribute to enamel erosion and decay, which makes them much better for our teeth!
tea

1. Milk

Milk is an important source of calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth and bones. A certain amount of enamel re-mineralization is possible if your body has the right building blocks available, so getting plenty of calcium is a great way to stock up on those building blocks to keep your teeth strong. If you are lactose intolerant, you don’t have to miss out on this either, because calcium-fortified soy milk is another great option.

One thing to be aware of, however, is that milk does have natural sugars in it, which is why it’s a bad idea to leave a child with a bottle of milk over a long period of time. The longer the sugars in milk are left on the teeth, the more they feed oral bacteria, contributing to tooth decay. This is how a condition commonly known as “bottle rot” can happen for babies and toddlers.

2. Green And Herbal Tea

While black tea, much like coffee and red wine, is prone to leaving stains on teeth, green tea and herbal teas do not carry this drawback. In fact, like milk, they actually have dental health benefits. Tea contains compounds called polyphenols, which help fight bacteria. Just make sure not to load your tea with sugar or even honey, as that would cancel out the benefits of the polyphenols. If you can enjoy it plain, that’s great, but you can also use sugar-free sweeteners.

3. Water

It might seem boring to include water on a list of mouth-healthy drinks, but it is absolutely essential to our overall health that we stay well hydrated — and specifically to our oral health! If we aren’t drinking enough water, we may not have enough fluid to produce saliva, which is the mouth’s first line of defense against acids and bacteria. The act of drinking water itself will also flush out remnants of food and sugary or acidic drinks, helping to keep our teeth clean until the next time we can brush.

What We Drink Is Only Part Of The Equation

Cutting back on some of the less healthy drinks in favor of drinking more water, milk, and green or herbal tea can make a big difference in our oral health, but it isn’t a substitute for other oral health habits. Make sure you’re also keeping up with your twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and dental appointments every six months!

We’re here to help you keep those teeth happy and healthy!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Memorial Day: Parades, remembrance, and the unofficial start of summer!

May 21st, 2019

“The purpose of all war is peace.” - Saint Augustine

Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.

Our team at Bright Orthdontics wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.

On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.

While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.

It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.

So whether you’re in the Katy, Texas area or beyond, Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Dr. David Bright!

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