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How Can an Overbite or Underbite Affect Your Teeth?

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Braces and Invisalign treatment may seem like a luxury. After all, if you like your teeth, do you really have to fix them with orthodontics? For some, the answer is yes. Malocclusions (or misaligned bites) can affect your long-term dental and oral health.

How is it that otherwise healthy teeth are at higher risk of long-term problems in people with bite issues? The answer to that is multi-layered, but here are a few connections to consider.

Overbites and Underbites Increase Your Risk for Tooth Decay

The way your teeth are aligned and positioned in your mouth affects how bacteria accumulate on your teeth and how well you’re able to maintain them. For example, if your top teeth extend too far forward over your bottom teeth (overbite), then you may miss a centimeter of your bottom teeth when you brush every day.

Bite Issues Increase Wear and Tear on Enamel and Gums

Ideally, your teeth should not be able to grind the surfaces of other teeth. If your bite is aligned so that the enamel is getting more wear than it otherwise would, then you may be at a higher risk of tooth decay. As the enamel erodes, bacteria have easier access to the dentin where cavities form.

In some people, extreme over or underbites even affect the gums, resulting in injuries, gum recession, and infection. Repeated wear, trauma, and eating difficulties can contribute to gum conditions.

Bite Issues Can Cause Temporomandibular Disorders

When your teeth aren’t properly aligned, it can put greater pressure and strain on the jaw. This strain can injure the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) on either side of your jaw. These joints are the well-oiled hinges that keep everything working smoothly. If they are strained or injured, you may suffer the symptoms of a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD often causes clicking, grinding, pain, and limited jaw mobility.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding), TMD, and Malocclusions

It’s fairly well established that bruxism causes TMD, but did you know that grinding your teeth can cause permanent changes to your teeth and jaw? And that overbites and underbites can cause you to grind your teeth, resulting in TMD? Seems like a tangled web of cause and effect relationships, right? It is.

Many studies have attempted to uncover the causal relationship between an overbite or underbite and teeth grinding. Some suggest that bruxism leads to bite issues (National Institute of Health), while others believe that people grind their teeth because of discomfort caused by a bite issue (NIH). In either case, evidence shows that they are related.

Bruxism can cause more than just tooth movement and TMD. If you grind your teeth as a result of discomfort from an overbite or underbite, your teeth are at a higher risk of injury and decay.

We Can Treat Your Overbite or Underbite at Clover Hills Dentistry

For whatever reason, you may be hesitant to start treatment for your misaligned bite. We hope to put your mind at ease as we walk you through the best treatment plan for your life-long dental health. Our dentist in Mission, TX can collaborate with you to treat any symptoms you may be experiencing while setting the foundation for a life of healthy teeth and gums. To schedule your appointment, call 956-253-1842 or fill out our contact form today.

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2605 N. Shary Rd. Mission, TX 78574