A misaligned bite, also called a malocclusion, happens when your teeth don’t fit together correctly. You’ve likely heard of different types of misaligned bites, such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.
While misaligned bites can cause aesthetic issues, they can also cause discomfort with eating or speaking. Some people with misaligned bites may even experience discomfort when their jaw isn’t moving.
The good news is that there are treatment options for people whose upper and lower rows of teeth don’t quite fit together the way they should. So how do you correct a misaligned bite?
Orthodontic treatment is the most popular, and often the most effective, option for correcting misaligned bites. Ideally, orthodontic treatment would be done to correct a problematic bite during the teenage years, but adults can receive treatment for a malocclusion too .
Conventional orthodontic treatment includes metal braces and Invisalign, but depending on your unique case, you may have other treatment options available to you, including ceramic braces—which use tooth-colored brackets for a more discreet braces option—or lingual braces, which are placed on the inner side of your teeth so they aren’t visible when you smile.
If you have a mild bite misalignment, you may be able to correct the problem with dental veneers, which are a form of cosmetic dentistry. Dental veneers are typically made of porcelain ceramic and placed over your teeth. The application of dental veneers may be able to help modify your teeth so that they better fit together to reduce both the appearance and discomfort of your malocclusion.
While dental veneers won’t actually fix your jaw misalignment, they may be able to help minimize the appearance of the misalignment and make jaw movement more comfortable for some people .
For people who have severe misaligned bites, surgery may be necessary to correct the issue. These procedures are called orthognathic surgery, and can include moving the upper or lower jaw forward, backward, or widening the jaws to better accommodate the bite . Orthognathic surgery is generally done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment to fully correct the bite.
Fortunately, cases where surgery is needed to correct a malocclusion are rare. Your dentist or orthodontist can let you know whether you would potentially need surgery to correct your bite during your consultation.
Do You Have a Misaligned Bite?
If you have a misaligned bite, you don’t have to live with the discomfort or embarrassment of your teeth not fitting together correctly. Your experienced dentist or orthodontist can tell if you have a misaligned bite and recommend treatment as necessary during your consultation!