What Caused Your Misaligned Bite?

Posted on 02/25/2016 by Dr. Lovrovich
A young boy happy with his new braces fixing his misaligned bite!

A misaligned bite, or malocclusion, can cause a variety of problems with your dental health and the appearance of your smile. While it may be easy to tell if you have a bite problem, identifying the cause could be trickier. However, determining the cause of your misaligned bite could be an important first step in working with your orthodontist to develop an effective treatment method.

Hereditary Factors Are the Main Cause of a Misaligned Bite

Genetics and hereditary factors are the primary causes associated with a bite problem, and unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that you can do about these issues. However, when they do arise, there are plenty of great orthodontic treatment options available to help correct them. Your orthodontist can help you to determine the right course of action depending on the pre-existing condition that you have experienced:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth. If your mouth doesn’t have enough room for your wisdom teeth to grow in appropriately, they could become impacted. This could cause the rest of the teeth to shift into inappropriate places, or they could grow in at an angle.
  • Malformed jaw. If your jaw is malformed or an abnormal size, you may experience an underbite or an overbite. For example, if the upper jaw is larger than the lower jaw, you could develop an overbite.
  • Teeth that are shaped abnormally. In some cases, the teeth could be too small or large for your jaw. If your teeth are too large, overcrowding may develop, while smaller teeth could cause gaps and spacing issues. When there are excessive gaps or crowding within your mouth, your jaws may not line up properly, resulting in a misaligned bite.
  • Teeth that don’t fall out. In situations where the baby teeth don’t fall out before the adult teeth begin to erupt, you may also experience crowding and shifting of the rest of your teeth. A crossbite will develop if your adult teeth begin to grow in behind the baby teeth.

Other Factors Can Result in a Misaligned Bite

Just because genetic issues are the primary cause of a misaligned bite doesn’t mean that they are the only factors. There are a variety of environmental factors that could cause a misaligned bite, and unlike hereditary issues, many of these are preventable:

  • Periodontal disease. Gum disease can cause the gums to move away from the teeth. The end result can be teeth that separate and become loose.
  • Bad oral habits. Biting your nails, tongue thrusting, sucking your thumb, and prolonged pacifier use as children can all lead to a misaligned bite.
  • Tooth loss. Missing teeth can cause inappropriate spacing between the teeth, and the end result can be teeth that shift into the surrounding places. When the baby teeth fall out too early or too late, malocclusions can result within the adult teeth.
  • Problems with restorations. If you have fillings, dental crowns, or other dental restoration that don’t fit correctly, your jaw may have issues with closing properly.
  • Mouth breathing. If you breathe through your mouth, you likely position your tongue at the top of your mouth. This can result in the teeth being pushed sideways or forwards.

Many bite problems develop early on in life, but sometimes they don’t become noticeable until the adult teeth come in. While you should ensure that your child has an early orthodontic evaluation, you should also keep orthodontic treatment options on the table for yourself as an adult. Just because you are older doesn’t mean that you have missed out on your opportunity to straighten your teeth and improve your smile.

If you are in need of an orthodontic evaluation to see how your smile could be improved, be sure to contact our office.

4540 Sand Point Way NE, Suite 140
Seattle WA 98105-3941

Tel: (206) 525-7000
Fax: (206) 525-0479

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