Bad Bites
Causes And Cures

When your teeth are crooked or misaligned, you have a bad bite. Technically speaking, a bad bite is called a malocclusion. There are three main types of malocclusions. A Class I malocclusion is when the teeth are lined up correctly top to bottom but there are gaps in them or they are turned, crowded or crooked. A Class II malocclusion is called an overbite and occurs when the upper teeth protrude and the lower teeth are too far back. A Class III malocclusion is called an underbite and happens when the lower teeth are too far in front and the upper teeth are too far back. This is a difficult problem to correct, sometimes requiring surgery.

Open Bites And Closed Bites

Other problems of the teeth include an open bite, which happens when the front teeth stay open even when biting down, making chewing food difficult or impossible. A closed bite or “deep bite” is when the upper teeth cover the lower teeth completely when biting down. When some upper teeth close inside or outside the lower teeth when biting down, it is called a cross bite.

Prevention Of Bite Problems

Some bite problems, like those caused by a crooked jaw, are inherited, but bad habits such as tongue thrusting or the sucking of fingers or the lower lip cause other bite problems. Children who break the habit of sucking on a pacifier or their thumb early, usually won’t have a problem with a bad bite in their permanent teeth. However, if a baby tooth falls out too early or too late, bite problems may appear. In the case of the early loss of a baby tooth, other teeth may shift to fill in the space and prevent permanent teeth from coming in.  If a baby tooth hasn’t fallen out by the time the permanent tooth comes in, the bigger tooth may come in crooked.

If an adult tooth is lost due to decay or an accident and a retainer does not hold the space open, the other teeth will move to fill in the gap and become out of alignment. The size of the mouth can cause teeth to shift or become crowded, as well. Teeth will drift if they are too small and be crowded if they are too big for the mouth.

Your orthodontist or pediatric dentist will know best how to treat and cure bad bite problems.


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© 2006 Dr. Marvin Lagstein, DMD, PA
Locations in New York and New Jersey

Smile Specialists

236 E. 36th Street,
New York, NY 10016
(877) 337-6135
Long Hill Medical Dental Center
9 Post Road
Oakland, NJ 07436
(201) 337-6135