An improper bite doesn't look good. That is the usual reason that people seek treatment from an orthodontist. In addition, an improper bite causes difficulty in chewing. In people with crowded teeth, it can lead to more cavities or gum disease. Treatment of an irregular bite can improve your overall oral health and stabilize your bite.
Incorrect bites are grouped into categories. Common bite problems include:
- Deep overbite — This occurs when the upper front teeth overlap too far over the lower teeth. In some cases, the biting edges of the upper teeth touch the lower front gum tissue and the lower front teeth may bite into the roof of the mouth.
- Underbite— A crossbite of the front teeth is commonly referred to as an underbite if the lower teeth are ahead of the upper teeth. This may also be a sign that the jaws are not in the correct position. Sometimes surgery is needed.
- Open bite — If your upper and lower front teeth don't meet when you bite down, this is called an open bite. This may make it impossible to bite off food with the front teeth. It also can affect speech. 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.
- Spacing problems — Some people have missing teeth or unusually small teeth in a normal sized jaw. This can result in large spaces between the teeth. People who have lost one or multiple teeth may have uneven spacing because adjacent teeth may drift into the unoccupied areas. Braces can be used to shift the position of these teeth so the missing tooth or teeth can be replaced.
You can choose braces (brackets) made of metal, ceramic or sapphire. However, orthodontic treatment is most often done using stainless steel brackets. Ceramic or sapphire brackets often are chosen for the sake of appearance.
Braces work by applying continuous pressure to move teeth in a specific direction. Braces are usually worn for about one to three years, depending on how severe your problem is. As treatment progresses, teeth change position. Your orthodontist will adjust the braces as needed.
You should strictly follow your orthodontist's advice because he or she knows your treatment best.
How Successful Will It Be
Success depends on a partnership between the skills of the orthodontist, and the enthusiasm and help of patient and parents. It is important to attend regularly and carry out any instructions given by the orthodontist.
The success of the treatment also depends on the commitment of the patient. For children's orthodontic treatment it is very important that the patient is as keen as the parent.
How do I care for my brace and teeth?
It is important to continue to have your teeth checked by your dentist while having orthodontic treatment. You also need to take extra care of your teeth and mouth:
- Clean your teeth carefully every day, including between your teeth where you can. Appliances are delicate and you need to make sure you clean them carefully so that they do not break. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to show you the special techniques to use depending on the appliance you are wearing.
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Avoid ‘snacking' on foods or drinks containing sugars, and on fizzy drinks. Also, sticky and hard foods may damage the delicate orthodontic appliances.
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and, if necessary, use a mouthwash. Your dentist or hygienist may recommend a fluoride toothpaste or application for you to use.