Common Orthodontic Problems
The main reason why most children and adults seek orthodontic care is due to a problem with their mouth or teeth. This can range from slight discomfort to severe pain. We’ve compiled a list of common orthodontic problems that are a clear indicator that it’s time to seek care.
When to See an Orthodontist
If you recognize any of these common orthodontic problems in your child or yourself, it might be time to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist.
Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth
Children normally begin losing their baby teeth around ages 5-7. This is why we recommend that children see an orthodontist by age 7. If a problem exists, or if one is developing, your orthodontist will be able to advise you on whether treatment is recommended, when it should begin, what form treatment will take, and estimate its length.
Although there are ranges of normal variation, losing baby teeth too early or too late can create problems with the permanent ones that should replace them. An orthodontist is an expert in recognizing and treating adverse variations. Catching the issue in its early stages may help prevent your child from experiencing more serious orthodontic problems down the line.
Difficulty Chewing or Biting
It is not normal to experience a high level of discomfort while chewing or biting. If you or your child are experiencing pain while eating, you should schedule an appointment with your orthodontist immediately. Pain while chewing or biting can be an indicator of various orthodontic problems including gum disease, tooth decay, dry mouth, tooth loss, oral cancer, etc.
Your orthodontist will evaluate your teeth and mouth to find the source of the problem and recommend proper treatment. Please do not ignore the issue and hope that it will resolve itself on its own. If not treated right away, many of the orthodontic problems listed above may cause irreversible damage to your oral health.
Crowded, Misplaced or Blocked-Out Teeth
This orthodontic problem is usually easily recognizable and is one of the most common reasons why people seek out an orthodontist. Although crowded, crooked teeth are usually obvious, many patients are not aware of unerupted teeth that may not be able to push through their gums without help.
Orthodontists are experts in recognizing, accounting for and correcting the positions of the teeth. There are various treatment options that can help with this such as braces, aligners, expanders, etc. Your orthodontist will be able to recommend a custom treatment plan to help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of.
Biting The Cheek or Roof of The Mouth
If you find yourself accidentally biting your cheek while talking, eating or being active, this may be an indication of jaw misalignment or a posterior crossbite (where the upper and lower jaw widths are not coordinated). This is something that you can be born with or develop over time. Biting the roof of the mouth almost always indicates that the lower jaw is too short relative to the upper.
An orthodontist is able to recognize misalignments that could lead to cheek biting. They can provide you with a custom treatment option to address this and other orthodontic problems.
Protruding teeth is when your teeth stick out further than is aesthetically pleasing and can occur in both arches or just the top. Teeth protrusion is often developed due to tongue-thrusting, periodontal disease, missing/damaged teeth or genetics.
Additionally, the position of the lips is closely associated with the position of the underlying teeth. If the teeth are too protrusive, the lips may be pushed forward or even forced apart. You should not need to consciously use your facial muscles to close your lips over your teeth.
If addressed at a young age, it’s easier to treat with orthodontic appliances such as braces or aligners. As an adult it can be a bit trickier, but is still treatable with appropriate care.
Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all is usually a result of an open bite, underbite, overbite, cross bite, or overcrowding of teeth. This can also be referred to as malocclusion. Leaving misaligned teeth untreated may lead to other dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, abnormal wearing of tooth enamel and difficulty chewing.
Your orthodontist will be able to recognize, diagnose and treat misaligned teeth. Some of the most common treatments for this orthodontic issue are braces, aligners or expanders.
Facial Imbalance or Asymmetry
Facial imbalances or asymmetry is usually a direct result of underlying orthodontic problems. The appearance of the lips, chin, and other facial features are affected by the teeth and jaws. Some facial imbalances can be corrected with orthodontic appliances while others require surgery.
Orthodontists are experts in evaluating the relationship between the teeth, jaws, and the face. They are able to recognize current or potential facial imbalances and recommend a custom treatment plan to fit your needs.